Hey ‘Gasmii hair-hoppers! How are you all doing tonight? Still in shock over the Finale? Glad we never have to hear Camila Alves speak again? Curious (like WaffleBoy) what Matt and Janine spent their dollar on? Well, I know we had basically put this season of Shear Genius to bed, but there was no way we could wrap things up without one last little treat from the faraway land of Simi Valley, California…
…home of malls and horsies and cupcakes and p!ay…
We all know that this season would have been deathly dull if not for one person, and one person only. She came rollerskating into our hearts wearing a gold lamÃ© bikini, giant hair bows and Fisher-Price hair, and at first we said “You freak! Get away from me!” But with every passing episode she remained determined to stick to her wacky style and her unique and individualistic vision, no matter who she pissed off in the process, and somewhere along the way she completely won me over. How do I know this? Because no one else has ever inspired me to come up with 246 separate nicknames for them. And yes, I counted. So, without further ado (and as promised) I would like to present to you, Thirty Questions With The Winner Of Shear Genius Season 3, Brig Van Osten!!!…J-Mo: When did you first know that you wanted to be in the hairstyling biz?
BVO: My mom suggested it when I was 17 after watching my creativity since I was a child. I did not want to go to junior college just because that was what my friends were doing. I wanted to know what professional direction I wanted to head & then seek the proper education to best suit my career. I spent 2 years following high school earning money at a pest control company before I could afford cosmetology school.
J-Mo: How did you get to be a part of “Shear Genius”?
BVO: I submitted an audition tape for Season 2. I went through a couple interviews and didn’t make the cast. Then I tried out again for Season 3. In that year I dropped 40lbs to alter my appearance for the better of TV & started a blog, Brigknowsbest.com to increase my expert knowledge and resume. I went to an open call in Santa Monica where I had to cut a mannequin head into a graduated bob in a room with 11 other stylists. I killed it! I went on to a series of auditions and ultimately reached my goal to be part of it!
J-Mo: How do you feel about how you were portrayed and edited during the course of the series?
BVO: I really felt like during the first few episodes they let the viewer experience what most of the cast did at first….big, bright, crazy, weirdo me… you bought it, didn’t you J-Mo! Then the last 4 or so episodes were a bit more realistic. I am very professional & talented, just not your normal idea of a stylist. Normal is boring! I just really kept pushing far past my comfort zone and at times off the cliff with my styles.
J-Mo: Is what we saw on TV just Brig turned up to 11, or is that the real Brig?
BVO: Both! Going through the experience that I did, it definitely amplified my personality. Have you ever been surrounded by cameras and 11 other people competing for one very delicious prize?? My creativity helped give me an outlet and seriously tripled while I was away from the real world.
J-Mo: What’s your favorite kind of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese? (I like the Three-Cheese variety and the White Cheddar kinds myself)
BVO: I like spirals by Kraft but hate that the box isn’t easier to open. I am always freaked out that the raw noodles are going to fly all over my kitchen floor.
J-Mo: What’s your overall impression of how you and your persona have been received in the blogosphere?
BVO: I feel super lucky to have so many people interested and knowing who I am.
J-Mo: Who was your absolute favorite guest judge and why?
BVO: Oribe. I have admired his work for over 18 years. He has such a range about him. He can do “pretty, beautiful hair” & then also capture your attention with unique statement styles. I was shocked when he strolled out.
J-Mo: Do you have a circle of gays, and if so, can I join it (even if it makes it more oval-shaped)?
BVO: No I do not. How about we start one? Do you know any that would want to be part of my circle?
J-Mo: Who were your favorite people amongst your fellow stylestants, and are you still in touch with any of them?
BVO: April, Brian, Amy I keep in touch with them. I just saw April’s salon Suite 303 at Hotel Chelsea in NY & it is so her and so amazing. Her team was very welcoming to me. I had dinner with Brian and he is just so flippin creative (and hot). A true artist in every sense of the word. He gave me an Andy Warhol pin. He works at the beautiful Chris Chase Salon… Amy just had a baby girl and is super happy. I loved Jon for his honesty and we have chatted a couple of times.
J-Mo: Tell me about Matt and Janine and what it was like living with them.
BVO: Easy to live with them. They kept to themselves. They also made quite the cooking team. I preferred my plain mac & cheese or Hamburger Helper, but they always offered me some of the meals they cooked for everyone.
J-Mo: Say I just turned some hypothetical age, such as 40 (I’m not anywhere close to that, but it’s an even number, so let’s use it) and I have recently discovered that my hair is beginning to thin out. What would be your suggestion, Rogaine, a combover, spray-paint or shave it all off and grow out my beard so I can look butch?
BVO: I recommend shaving it off and calling it a day, unless you really don’t feel confident with the lack of locks. Start using Bumble and bumble Thickening Serum to plump up what you have, it is brilliant or if your hair loss is extreme try switching over to Nioxin products for more advanced results.
J-Mo: When my friends and I came to P!ay Hair Lounge on Oscar weekend I was half-hoping and half-dreading that you might actually be there… if you had seen me and known who I was and what I do (and the things I’ve said) would you have beaten the shit out of me?
BVO: Yup. In front of everyone, then I would have sent you running into the streets of Simi Valley naked & screaming….. NO! I commend you for doing your research. I would have laughed and made fun of myself with you. If I didn’t expect to be scrutinized by everyone and their grandma, I would have NEVER put myself in the way of a reality machine! Isn’t this your job?
J-Mo: Where did you get the Barbie Chandelier you have in your bathroom at P!ay, and how much was it? I think I need one in my foyer.
BVO: That was the first item I purchased the day I signed the papers and bought the salon. It was called Le Hair Den and looked and smelled like 1985. I bought it at a head shop, cuz apparently you need to be high to come up with that kind of genius, for $100. I love it to this day!
J-Mo: Which of the challenges (either ShortCut or Elimination) was your least favorite?
BVO: The Allure photo shoot where I picked Bo Derek for the inspiration. I honestly, as you saw, was not happy with my work.
J-Mo: Who on the regular judging panel did you find the most helpful in their critiques?
BVO: All of the critiques were helpful until I put them to use and the next judgement was contradictory. I tried to just learn from the process.
J-Mo: Have you ever worked on any celebrities?
BVO: I only have by accident. I prefer to work on clients who are not surrounded by 3 others with the opinion of how they should look.
J-Mo: Who is more demanding to work on: Simi Valleyites, celebrities or Camila Alves?
BVO: Definitely NOT Simi Valleyites (Love that!) Probably celebrities which is why I discontinued that as soon as I realized it was NOT for me.
J-Mo: On the real side: How many times did you guys have to do scene retakes because of Camila and her “accent”?
BVO: Not often. I loved that when she struggled with a word she would try and try and try until she got it right. I also loved that she would laugh at herself. I wish they would do a bloopers reel.
J-Mo: Thinking about pop culture and the media in general, whose hair styling do you most admire at the present time?
BVO: I am usually bored with hair that isn’t in the industry magazines and off the beat of normal.
J-Mo: The dreaded faux-hawk… Still in Vogue or Sign of Douchebag?
BVO: No answer. I prefer a shaved head on a man. maybe that is why I do not cut mens hair.
J-Mo: What’s your least favorite trend in hairstyling right now?
BVO: I don’t keep up with trends. They are just other peoples opinions of how we should look or what we should buy. Do whatever you want.
J-Mo: Your own hairstyling changed every ten minutes on the show. Exactly how many wigs, falls and pieces did you bring with you?
BVO: It was actually every 5 minutes. I brought 3 long pieces with me and one bow with sewn on bangs.
J-Mo: If you could change anything you said or did during this season, what would it be?
BVO: I would have brought my Nintendo DS with me so I could brush up on my Ms.Pacman skills during downtime.
J-Mo: Were you a fan of Tabatha Coffey before meeting her? Are you still?
BVO: I knew her long before her season and cheered her and Anthony on during Season 1. We both worked for hair products companies that were under one umbrella company. We did the hair show circuit near each other. I watched her first season of TSTakeover and think she is SPOT ON. Yes, I am still a fan. She is hardcore, honest and consistent!
J-Mo: What’s the worst hair-related product or accessory advertised today?
BVO: Duh….probably the BumpIt, however some brilliant inventor is making a killing, so good for them!
J-Mo: I saw an interview recently in which Brian called you a “tough bitch with a heart of gold lamÃ©” and said you could have kicked The Tiresome Twosome’s asses if you had chosen to. What do you think he meant by that?
BVO: I don’t know, call him…
J-Mo: If I were to come back to P!ay Hair Lounge, would you (or your sweet stylist Sam) be willing to give me yellow hair like yours? I am totally not even kidding.
BVO: Absolutely! We would “goldi your locks” proudly!
J-Mo: Have you suffered any ill-effects from being on TV (such as people accosting you in the street and trying to throw holy water on you, or perhaps assholes who call and set up appointments just so they can cancel them, or maybe fat bloggers who drag a bunch of gay guys up to Simi Valley on a rainy afternoon in order to take surreptitious pictures of your salon)?
BVO: I am laughing at the last part of that ?…… No, but right now there is no such thing as grabbing something quick at the grocery store: “Attention Albertson’s shoppers…we have Brig, Shear Genius winner in Isle 7 picking out cupcake mix…” Just joking. It is cool. I love when someone is honest and admits they were cheering for the others. It is funny to me.
J-Mo: There seemed to be a lot of people who accused you of disrespect towards guest judges and fellow stylestants (even Camila Alves brought this up in one of her BravoTV blogs!). What’s your response to this kind of criticism?
BVO: If I worried about what others accused me (mostly strangers who have never met me) of, I could never move forward. This was a TV show!
J-Mo: Whose recaps of “Shear Genius” did you enjoy the most and does the recapper’s name rhyme with “Gay-Ho”?
BVO: Yes, Kim Vo, Charlie Price, Projectrungay.blogspot.com & once you introduced yourself to me, I read back at TVgasm.com and laughed my very white behind off.
Brig Knows Best
P!ay Hair Lounge
And there you have it! Right from the stylist’s mouth! On behalf of the ‘Gasmii, I want to give a special shout-out and thanks to Maile Marshall at Bravo, who was instrumental in getting me access to Brig, and of course, a huge thanks and hugs to Brig Van Osten herself for taking the time during the current maelstrom of activity in her life to sit down and answer my silly questions. TVGasm loves you!