By Lana Guineay
No matter where you are in the world, you’ll find fellow South Australians – from entrepreneurial expats, to locals returning home to enjoy the state’s laid-back lifestyle. As part of the SA Made series, we’re meeting South Aussies living, working, and learning around the world. They span a range of industries and outlooks, but share one thing in common – they’re all made in SA.
For the latest instalment, we took a trip to New York (via the Internet) to talk to Cassie Harwood-Jacquet.
Learning her trade in SA, the hairstylist now splits her time between her own Manhattan salon Maison Jacquet and the fashion world. A staple of the New York Fashion Week runway, Cassie also teaches South Aussie students and spreads the word for SA-based haircare company evo, as the international educational ambassador.
ADL – NYC
What do you do and where are you based?
I am a hairstylist and salon owner in New York City.
What have been your most memorable moments living overseas so far?
I have had a lot but for my career a huge highlight was directing my first New York Fashion week show. It was a top career goal and to have achieved that a couple years into my New York journey was amazing. I also opened my own business with my husband which happened much sooner than we expected but it has been such a big learning curve and something we are very proud of.
On a personal level, sharing my first white Christmas with my family in 2013 was magical and something I will cherish forever, but the greatest highlight would be welcoming our daughter into this world. She is our little American but the best accomplishment yet!
You’re part of the evo hair education program in NYC – can you tell us about that?
Yes I am one of evo’s international educators and have been working with them since they first launched in the US around five years ago. I have been fortunate to travel a lot of the country launching, promoting and spreading the evo love. Education has always been an important part of my career so it has been extra special partnering with a fellow South Australian company while abroad.
Where are you from in SA?
We have always lived in the western suburbs, so West Beach is home for me.
Tell us about your background in SA, did you study and work here?
I started my hairdressing apprenticeship when I was 15, so I left high school at the end of year 10 to follow my passion. I was fortunate to get my first and only job at Hair Machine Norwood (now known as Boris Cuttery) and I studied at TAFE SA one day a week for the first two as part of my apprenticeship. I enjoyed 10 amazing years with Damien, Anne Marie and the Hair Machine family before moving to New York.
Where has your life and career taken you since then?
I feel very fortunate that my career has allowed me to spread my wings overseas. I had never lived out of home let alone out of country, so moving away was a big change but by far the best choice for me. Living in New York for the past six years I have learnt so much about my industry, the value of high end customer service, and the ability to create your own niche business. I met my husband while he was living in Paris so we did long distance and then he moved over a year later. We now have a daughter, Fenella Rose. Life and work has changed and blossomed a lot but I wouldn’t change a thing! New York has us for now but Adelaide will always be home.
What do you miss the most?
I miss being in close proximity to my family. FaceTime and social media keep us close day to day but the distance is hard.
Describe Adelaide in three words…
Easy-going, progressive and lush.
Your favourite local lingo?
I miss using certain lingo that doesn’t make any sense to Americans like “she’s such a dag” or “should I stop at the bottle-o”. Some words just don’t translate.
How did growing up in Adelaide help you in your endeavours?
I think growing up in Adelaide helped me understand the value of hard work and that anything is possible. It also has made me realise living away from it that I can come back and have the life I’ve always wanted in Adelaide.
Best thing about coming back home?
Besides the obvious things like family, friends and a good sausage roll, I absolutely love coming back and seeing how much Adelaide has grown. It continues to impress me how urban and progressive it is. The food and social scene is so on point and excites both my husband and I to visit.
See more of Cassie’s work here. Top photo: John Castillo