SHEAR GENIUS! Brig Van Osten Takes Allby Leah Furman
Although she called her Simi Valley hair salon P!ay — “I called it ‘Play’ because I couldn’t call it ‘work,’” she explains — Van Osten is no stranger to working towards her goals. Having decided that she wanted to be a hair dresser right out of high school, she worked for two and a half years at a termite and pest control company just to save up money for cosmetology school. “My very first day at Simi Valley School of Cosmetology, I knew I was meant to be there,” Van Osten recalls.
Hair’s How got a chance to chat with the Shear Genius champ and got the skinny on her yellow ‘do, her favorite styling products and what it was really like to compete on TV.
Hair’s How: How did you decide to become a hair stylist?
Brig Van Osten: I’ve always been really creative as a child and my parents were very supportive. When it came time to take SATs, I didn’t want to. My parents are from Germany, so I snowed them a bit and told them I didn’t need to take it. When I saidI don’t really know what I want to do for a living, my mom suggested hair styling because she knew how cre-ative I was.
HH: You have a very distinct look, how did you develop your personal style?
BVO: It just kind of evolved from childhood. I never know what I’m going to have on tomorrow. I wear whateverI feel like wearing. I dress for myself. I love color and I’m fearless when it comes to fashion. But with my hair, I’ve always been very specific.I don’t change my color every two months. I love the yellow because it’s unique. I was at a concert with 20,000 people the other night, and I didn’t see anyone else with yellow hair.
HH: What was the Shear Genius audition process like?
BVO: There were open calls all around the country where you show up and wait in a long line. I had to cuta graduated bob on a doll head in 30 minutes. And then there are the call backs. Ultimately, you hope you get that final call that you made it on the show.
HH: So what was it like when you heard you made it on?
BVO: I pretty much had to hold the phone five feet away because I was screaming so loud.
HH: What was the hardest part of being on the show?
BVO: I had never been in a situation where I didn’t know anyone before and I hadn’t really thought about what it would be like to live around 11 other people. All of a sud-den, there was a bunch of new people. I tried to adjust as quickly as I could.
HH: There was quite a bit of tension between you and a few of the other contes-tants. How did you deal with that?
BVO: A lot of people have asked me if that was made up, but what you saw was real. Having a strong personality,I made it clear that I was there to win. And some people don’t like that sort of thing. Having people question my ability and talent helped motivate me and fueled that fire. Not everyone is always going to like you in the world, I’m glad I leaed that at an early age. At least I was clear on whereI stood with people. When I left and stayed in touch with people, I knew where our relationship stood.
HH: Did you expect to win?
BVO: I just wanted to put it out there, but I didn’t expect to win. I just wanted to do what I could to remain there. And it was really shocking at the end when I did win. I was just happy to be there.
HH: What were some of the things that caught you off guard when you finally got to watch the show?
BVO: I was surprised how intrigued I was by some peo-ple on the show. Seeing it on TV is a lot different than when you’re stuck with someone 24 hours a day. I was definitely rooting for some of the other people when I was watching.Since I don’t have cable or a TV, I had to couch surf, soI was watching with friends who had no idea that I won!
HH: What’s your strength as a stylist? What do you think put you over the top in the competition?
BVO: I’ve always loved the ability to change someone’s look dramatically. My strong point is Witness Protection Program Style Makeovers, where someone walks out not looking anything like they did when they walked in.
HH: What’s your favorite look right now?
BVO: I just watched Sex and the City 2 last night and I love the waved, smooth, polished hair that Sarah Jessica Parker had towards the last quarter of the movie. Those old deep waves are very Veronica Lake – strong around the face and softer through the rest.
HH: Any favorite styling tools you want to share?
BVO: I can’t live without the TGR 4000i by Velecta. On my website, Brigknowsbest.com,I have an entire blog about this blow dryer called “Blow dryer My Hero.” I’ve had it for two years and it’s still going strong. Also, the Enzo Milano Clipless Curling Iron. You just wrap hair around the barrel and you can get those Sarah Jessica Parker Sex and the City 2 waves. There’s a heat-safe glove that you need to use with it because there’s no safety tip on the end of it. When you see me with my hair set in old fashioned waves, that’s what I used to get it.
HH: Favorite product lines and products?
BVO: I’m partial to Bumble and bumble. I made the choice to open an exclusive Bumble and bumble salon not only because I love the products, but their entire culture and the education. I love Spray de Mode. It’s great for flexible hold and protects hair from heat styling. I see a lot of peo-ple come in with singed ends, bued by curling irons, this spray alleviates that. Also, Surf Spray is great. You spray it on damp hair and it really accentuates the hair and texture. It separates the waves, and if your hair is fine, it gives you that day old feeling, that thickness. It’s great for all hair types.
HH: How has being on Shear Genius changed your life?
BVO: Obviously, I won some really amazing priz-es, but also, when I run out to Target now, people recognize me and it’s real-ly really cool, because people get excited about it. People are excited to see me in the laundry room of my apartment complex. They’re like “you, look like this girl on TV!”But I’m 34 and I’m really set in who I am, so it hasn’t changed my life that much.I still drive the same Mustang that I did on the show. Of course, doors have opened and that’s wonderful.