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Young hairdresser buys into salon

Christine Grimard
Northern News Services
Published Friday, August 10, 2007

YELLOWKNIFE - With barely a year of hairdressing under her belt, Gillian Rivers is quickly cutting her way to the top.

At just 20 years-old, Rivers became part-owner of Essentials 98 Ltd. hair salon as of July 1, and can boast of being a two-time NWT hairdressing champion.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Gillian Rivers gives Evangeline Kapotaon a shampoo at Essentials 98 Ltd. hair studio. At just 20 years old, Rivers is now part-owner of the salon and can boast of being a two-time NWT hairdressing champion. - Christine Grimard/NNSL photo

"I really love what I do, I love where I work and I wouldn't want to work anywhere else in town," said Rivers.

She credits the Skills Canada program for giving her the hairstyling bug.

She took evening courses from grades 10 to 12, and won the NWT hairdressing competition twice before even going to hairdressing school.

After high school, Rivers worked at Essentials 98 Ltd. for a year to make sure it was what she really wanted to do.

Loving the atmosphere, she enrolled in hairdressing at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, Ont. Rivers said anyone who thinks hairdressing school is nothing but playing around is mistaken.

Classes run eight hours a day, five days a week.

School policy dictates that if you miss more than three days of school in the year, you fail. Rivers said 15 of the 50 people who started the program with her did not finish.

Now in the work world, Rivers wouldn't trade her job for any other.

"I like the constant people interaction, I'm a people person," said the outgoing blond.

She says hairdressers get all the latest gossip. If there's something going on in town, she'll likely hear three different versions of the story in one day.

Every job has its ups and downs though. Hairdressing in the North does have its occasional tragedies.

"It sucks when the power goes out and people get half hair cuts,” said Rivers.