For many of us, the Toronto International Film Festival is a chance to enjoy a night on the town, check out some buzzy movies, and hopefully have a meet-cute with Michael B. Jordan. But for the celebs, publicists, makeup artists, hair stylists, and hundreds of others hustling behind-the-scenes, the festival is a grind (albeit a fun one). We asked some of TIFF’s insiders to spill on how they spent their busiest hours.
Today: Fresh off styling Kristen Stewart’s hair at the Venice Film Festival, celebrity hairstylist Matthew Collins is back in his home city of Toronto to spend the day with one of his recurring clients, actress Chloe Bennet (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), as she visits portrait studios, heads to parties and attends the premiere of her animated film, Abominable.
Saturday, Sept. 7
5:15 a.m. — I wake up and do my regular morning routine: I do some stretches, take a shower and recheck my kit. Even though I packed it the night before, I always recheck it to make sure it’s stocked with all of my supplies. Every artist I know does this and thinks our kits are missing something. Sometimes I’ll be halfway to a job and think, “Did I even put my kit in the trunk?”
6:30 a.m. — I arrive at the Omni King Edward Hotel in downtown Toronto. Every time I show up at a hotel, I check my call sheet like 45 times. I have massive anxiety that when I’m going up to the room it’s going to be the wrong room number or wrong hotel because I did that once at the Oscars. I went to the W Hollywood and not the W Beverly Hills and that was the scariest moment of my life.
7 a.m. — Chloe’s publicist comes in the room to steam some outfits because the clothing stylist isn’t there. I have my blow dryer plugged in and, as soon as the publicist plugs in the steamer, that blows the circuit and the power goes out. We all just laugh. The hotel has the problem fixed in 15 minutes. I’m usually not stressed when something like that happens because I work really, really quickly.
8:15 a.m. — The Airbnb I’m staying at has no food, so Chloe is so sweet and orders us breakfast. During TIFF, room service takes forever so you have to plan to order it early. There was a fruit bowl, granola, yogurt, orange juice, pastries, coffee, and lots of stuff for us to pick from. Chloe and I are friends at this point because we’ve worked together so much. So, as I’m doing her hair, we’re catching up on love lives and she asks me who am I dating. I tell her that all I do is spinning because I am obsessed with Ride Cycle Club.
11 a.m. — We’ve wrapped up press and portrait studios with Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly (where we get to play with puppies), People, and Twitter. We head to our next press stop and, on the way, I’m acting like a legit tour guide as we drive. I feel like the guy on the top of the bus with a mic giving a tour. You know, “On your left, we have Queen Street West. It’s an amazing walking strip of the city to explore!” While Chloe is doing interviews, I hang out with the publicist and makeup artist and steal snacks.
11:25 a.m. — I have to act as Chloe’s security guard to guide her back to her car as she’s being bombarded by photographers. When we get back to the hotel, she’s picking between two amazing outfits for the premiere so we discuss and debate which one would be best. We’re also taking videos of how they walk and look like in every angle and scenario that she will be in so we know that the dress and hair will look perfect at all times. One dress is the colour of the branding of the movie, so it seems like it’s the best fit. I finish off her hair in my signature silky waves that will look incredible with this dress.
4 p.m. — My friend Liz Trinnear does Chloe’s red-carpet interview for eTalk so that’s super cool. I tell Chloe about George Pimentel, the official photographer who is always at Toronto events. I tell her to make sure to give him a good shot because I know his photos will be everywhere. That’s always an advantage for me when I’m working with talent in Canada because I know the ropes. The movie publicist is super impressed I know everyone.
4:50 p.m. — We do a quick hair flip and change for Chloe. I grab my kit and run to the Fairmont Royal York to do another client during my break with Chloe. That client is heading to the Chanel & Variety Female Filmmaker Dinner. I’ll head back to Chloe after to touch her up before her next event.
6 p.m. — I’m with my next client, an actress who lives in Berlin. Our conversation always goes back to how much everyone loves Toronto. She was saying that her friend calls her apartment “Toronto” because she feels the safest there and Toronto is synonymous with that feeling. It’s so cool to hear these stories about how respected the city is no matter where I go and who I’m talking to.
8:20 p.m. — After an hour break to eat some dinner, I’m back at Chloe’s hotel and am waiting in her room for her to get back from a party so I can get her ready for another party. This time it’s Dior. I’m so proud of her because she is the first female Asian protagonist in a DreamWorks animated film and the character means so much to her. She’s been talking in interviews about how proud she is of this part and how much it would have meant to her as a little girl.
10:19 p.m. — All done! I’m heading home to my Airbnb to unwind.
12:30 a.m. — After watching a bit of Sasha Baron Cohen’s new Netflix show The Spy, I’m in bed and ready to get some rest. I’ll be back at Ride Cycle Club bright and early tomorrow morning to start off my day with a good sweat before I do it all over again with my next client.
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