If you’ve watched the models walk the runway at Paris, New York or Toronto fashion weeks, seen the stars at Toronto International Fashion Week, then you’ve probably seen the work of Taca Ozawa. A hair and makeup stylist, hailing from Japan, but is now splitting his time, working between New York and Toronto.
We caught up with Taca while he was working with a private client at Lift hair salon on Queen St E. in Toronto to find out where he found his yes supply and his advice for aspiring makeup artists and hairstylists in the making.
Tell me about what you are doing?
I am working in between Toronto, New York and Japan doing all of the things I am passionate about; cutting hair, styling, coloring, and make-up
How did you get started?
I was going to a painting school when I was young. But later I decided I wanted to paint people. I am originally from Japan, so while I was living there I asked my hair stylist if I could work for him, learning as much as I could just from watching him at work. I wanted to learn from him as much as I could about hair colour .
After a few years of hair styling, I found that I wasn’t given the opportunities I wanted. My ego got the best of me, and I thought that I was already the best in the industry and that I deserved to work with the very best. Frustrated, I quit and moved into makeup. I asked one of my friends who was in the makeup industry for some tips to get started, and before I knew it, I was starting from the beginning all over again.
In hindsight, this could have been one of the best accidental choices that I made. Having the skills to work with both mediums gives me a great opportunity to work with some of the top brands. They really appreciate an artist that knows both makeup and hair so well.
What keeps you going?
I am always looking for what I want so that just keeps me going. Never settle and look for the next level you can achieve.
How do you stay motivated?
I like to watch Japanese sports animations. It makes me strong, mentality.
3 things that someone who wants to be a successful makeup artist should keep at top of mind:
1. Just try to do the best work in your life for every single work you do! Never settle, and never do anything less than what you are capable of.
2. Always think like you are still 15 years old, no matter what your age. You can’t let age or circumstance hinder you from chasing after what you are really dreaming of achieving. Try and keep a fresh and young mind and believe that you can achieve and you will.
3. Keep growing and trying new things. For me, every time I am at a shoot, I am always stretching to grow and try new things and expand my knowledge. If I do a smokey eye at one shoot, I am going to do a dark lip the next. The only way your style will get better is by experimenting and getting outside of your comfort zone.
what were you doing before?
I was living in New York City and I was trying to get into the industry, but it was tough. I began working for an Art gallery before I became a hair colourist.
what is one aspect of your lifestyle that makes you different from your peers?
I really love to live my life in the “Danger zone”. What does this mean? I take risks, and live my life in an area where you don’t really know what is going to happen next. This can often be scary and not really give you feelings of security, but without stretching outside of your comfort zone, you will not be able to grow and figure out what works and what doesn’t. You need to live your life with a level of experimentation.
Who told you no?
My Father said no to me. This was very hard. When I was very young, and I was discussing what my dreams in life were he would always try to bring me back down to earth. He told me, “Taca, 99% of people do not get to work in their dream job”. That convinced me to prove to him that I could be that 1%.
What was your turn-around point?
When I quit being a hair colourist about 9 years ago, I didn’t stop persuing my dreams altogether, I changed paths. I became a hair and makeup artist and having both skills made me even stronger at my skills. It definitely wasn’t easy, I had to start again from the beginning. I was working at a beauty counter, and it was tough. Being from Japan, english was my second language. In a job like that, you really need to be able to easily carry a conversation with all types of clients. I ended up getting fired! But I didn’t give up.
Did you always have a dream to become what you are now?
What inspired you to start on this journey?
It was pretty simple for me. A lot of people do a lot of debating before they go into a certain path. For me, when I know what I want, I just follow what I want to do and go after it.
To learn more about Taca or view his work, check out www.tacaozawa.com
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