A cut above

Jaret Mayer returned from a recent Las Vegas trip with all ten fingers intact. By itself, it might not sound newsworthy, but there was a brief moment during his visit when he thought that might not happen.

Jaret and his wife, Meghan, were in the Nevada city to attend the International Beauty Show. As a journeyman hairstylist and alumni of Sask Polytech's hairstylist certificate program, Jaret has attended the event for the past several years. He and Meghan, a nail technician, combine their talents as co-owners of Salon Six in Prince Albert.

The annual event gives the couple the opportunity to expand their knowledge base and stay up to date on the newest styles and trends. "When I go, I usually watch Michael O'Rourke and his team because he's usually on the main stage as soon as you get in and he has the biggest crowds. He's the most entertaining and you usually learn the most from him," says Jaret.

O'Rourke is a renowned Los Angeles based celebrity hairstylist. During his shows, he often pulls people out of the crowd to demonstrate various haircutting and styling techniques. On the second day of the show, Meghan was selected to come onstage for a haircut. O'Rourke started examining Meghan's hair and asked her who cut it. "She just said, ‘my husband,'" recalls Jaret. "And then he asked, ‘Is that the big guy out in the crowd?' because I'm the only guy and I'm pretty tall." Meghan confirmed it was him, and O'Rourke asked Jaret to join them onstage.

O'Rourke explained to the crowd that Meghan's haircut was perfect and he wouldn't want to change anything about it. He added that the colour placement was ideal and the cut was exactly what he would have done himself.

With a large audience looking on, it was a surreal moment for Jaret. "He gave me his scissors and told me to show him what I usually do. So I did, and then he showed me a technique he does to get the same version that I do, but quicker."

Jaret remembers feeling nervous, but excited.

"There are 200-300 people watching and I have the scissors in my hand and they don't fit. I'm trying not to cut my fingers because he's showing me a different technique and I'm not used to it and all I'm thinking is, 'Don't cut your fingers because there's a lot of people watching,'" he says with a laugh.

Finishing the demonstration unscathed, with the approval of a hairstylist believed to be the best in the business, Jaret felt a strong sense of accomplishment. "It makes me know that I'm doing something right," he says.

"Jaret was very creative, talented and hard working. He was the ideal student," says Bonita Harris, who was Jaret's instructor at Sask Polytech. "We equip our students with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed in their profession. This provides them with a solid foundation, but they still need to keep learning and adapting as the hairstyling trade is constantly evolving. Jaret's success is well deserved. It's indicative of his curiosity and drive to keep advancing his knowledge long after graduation."