Welland hairstyling students clean up contestants backstage at ‘Canada’s Got Talent’


Published March 22, 2023 at 11:39 am

Niagara College Hairstyling instructors Courtney Booth, Joe Abbruscato, Renee Bernard and students Chelle Cameron and Myonghee Kim on the set of "Canada's Got Talent."

So what goes on behind the scenes at a show like Canada’s Got Talent before the contestants walk out hoping to wow the celebrity judges?

Quite a bit, it would seem. Before they even hit the stage, there’s a team of Niagara College Hairstyling students backstage getting them ready to look their best for the camera at the OLG stage at Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls..

The students from the Welland campus have been on hand behind the scenes from the auditions through to semi-finals as competitors vie for the winning title and the nation’s hearts – looking their best, of course.

Hairstyling students from all levels of the program worked side stage and in the waiting areas to prepare contestants for their performances with hair, make-up, and touch-ups.

They’re not the only Niagara College students there, either, as the Broadcasting program students are also getting real-life experience. Second-and-third-year Television Production students helped with everything from checking contestants in, to assisting filming crews, shooting performers, to stagehands and audience logistics.

“It was fun to watch all these performers going through their prep before walking out onto the stage. This show can be life changing for a few and to be a part of that is special,” said hairstyling professor Joe Abbruscato, who was eager to give his students a chance to work with Canada’s Got Talent thanks to a connection with broadcasting program coordinator Dutch Vandenberg.

“It was a great experience because we had a chance to work with amazing people – crew, stars and contestants,” said Grimsby resident Alicja Bednarek, a year one Hairstyling-Barbering student.

“The whole experience showed me that, as a hairstylist, I’m not limited to working only behind a chair. There are a lot of different ways to have a great career.”

Not only do the students from both programs get real-life experience in their chosen fields, they also earn community service hours, a unique experience to build their resumes, and a valuable chance to network.

“It is these types of real-world experiences that allow our students to apply what they learn in the classroom and labs in a professional setting,” explained Vandenberg.

“These experiences also offer a lot of great networking opportunities and many of our students have received other production work from this. This is very rewarding for all of our students that participate and I’m proud that we extended this to Joe and his (hairstyling) group.”

The Niagara College students will continue to work behind-the-scenes at the finale of the show in May. Canada’s Got Talent airs weekly on Tuesday’s at 8 p.m. on CityTV.

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