Name: Chanel Croker
Job title: Freelance hairstylist and colourist
Currently lives in: Los Angeles
Education: Hairstyling at the now defunct Marvel Beauty School in Toronto
First job out of school: Salon assistant
As a hairstylist, having a client like Grimes book you on the regular can be a dream come true. The Canadian musician is known for her experimental approach to music and fashion, and her ever-changing hair ’dos (recently, she’s been favouring a pastel rainbow) are courtesy of Chanel Croker.
While there’s no denying that the styles Croker puts together are cutting edge, they always remain true to her clients’ personalities, no matter their star power. “I think the common thread in all the work that I do, whether it’s in the salon or my independent career, is that I am very interested in realness,” she says. For Croker, authenticity means a style that’s creative and interesting without compromising on the health of your hair or impinging on your lifestyle. “I want there to be a really cool, amazing first impression, but I don’t ever want to compromise someone’s hair for that moment,” she says.
Though she’s now based in Los Angeles, Croker’s origins trace back to a local salon in rural Ontario where she would sweep hair after school. As a young actor, she was working towards the big screen and used hair styling as a way to supplement her income. “My parents are artists, and I grew up always thinking that you have to have a skill to supplement your lifestyle as an artist, actor or dancer,” she explains. It wasn’t until she was 25 or so that she realized her side gig could be a fulfilling career.
She admits that she never had plans to become a business owner, but opening her Toronto salon Day and Night in 2012 helped her push herself and her aesthetic to the next level. “As daunting as it can seem to think about it from afar, I almost felt like I didn’t have a choice,” she says. And for those considering a career in hair cutting, Croker cautions that, given the amount of time you spend chatting with clients, you’d better make sure you’re a people person. “I would never tell someone who doesn’t love people to get into hair dressing.”