Bridget Clancy never thought she would be a hairstylist. Born and raised in Portland, her life and style were influenced by the punk scene in the 90s, and that’s when she started doing hair (completely self-taught), but that wasn’t her career path. She studied art history and had plans to become a writer. Academia eventually lost its luster and she decided to turn her hobby of cutting and coloring hair into her profession, so she enrolled in beauty school. In the fall of 2016 she was awarded the Vidal Sassoon Advanced Scholarship and we were curious to see what she’s up to now, and how winning the scholarship made an impact on her work.

BCL: You started your career in your teens working in the Portland punk scene as an unlicensed stylist. What made you decide to attend cosmetology school?

BC: Looking back, I think that my biggest career goal has always been to impact people in a positive way. Initially I thought I would write about political movements and art. I got a bachelor’s degree in art history and was planning on getting a PhD, but eventually I realized that I could impact people in a radically positive way as a hairstylist too, and I love the flexibility of hairstyling and the satisfaction that comes with helping people feel beautiful. Plus, I can still write about art and culture – I launched a blog this year just to get back into writing!

BCL: How did winning the Vidal Sassoon Advanced Scholarship change your life and your career?

BC: Winning the Vidal Sassoon Advanced Scholarship was just an amazing boost of confidence and confirmed that I was headed in the right direction. At first the thought of making the application video seemed daunting, but then I talked to some friends, put an ad on craigslist for a videographer and before I knew it I had this amazing video shot and edited by up and coming filmmaker Megan Hattie Stahl, with a soundtrack featuring my friends’ band the Stops!

BCL: What was it like attending the Sassoon Academy? Which course did you take?

BC: Previous to winning the BCL scholarship, I had already been lucky enough to take the intro class to the Vidal Sassoon ABC Cut series, so when I was choosing a course to take with the award, I decided to take the intro class for the ABC Color series. I have specialized in creative color since before beauty school, but being primarily self-taught (hey, that’s what the instructions on the side of the bleach tub are for, right?) had definitely left some gaps in my basic coloring technique repertoire – namely I was super slow at foiling! I loved the Sassoon method of foiling that I learned, and it has helped me speed up my services quite a bit!

BCL: What are the hair trends in Portland right now?

BC: Right now, the hair trends in Portland are very much centered around vivid creative color – especially silvers/greys and vivid balayage. Currently, I am working on having the perfect blorange/rose gold that I can keep up without bleach. I’ve got a secret high lift formula that I use for my roots, and then I every few months I can do foils to get extra light – a classic coloring technique inspired by my experience in ABC Color 1!

BCL: What are you up to right now?

BC: These days I am working behind the chair a lot, managing the salon where I work – Strut Salon – and I just got finished working on a NAHA submission as a part of a team of stylists from Strut! I try to keep a good work/life balance, which is not easy! Being a hairstylist is hard work, and I want to be in it for the long haul, so I really try to treat my body right and take time for myself when I need to so that I don’t burn out. I am super grateful for everything that I have right now!

Check out Bridget’s blog and follow her on Instagram @theroguehairstylist.