Wowed by a super personality

Castlegar News bi-weekly columnist Gord Turner marvels at a local success story

Last week I was onstage with the incredible Anthony Crosfield. I really didn’t know who he was as I don’t follow hairdressing competitions and nobody ever mentioned his name to me. But at this year’s Selkirk College graduation, he appeared—larger than life.

And he is a big man, standing six foot five and remarkably fit. He was at Selkirk’s graduation because he was being honoured as an alumnus who has achieved much in the wide world. He received this year’s Distinguished Alumnus Award and delivered a major speech to the graduates.

Strange that I wouldn’t know about him as I’ve known his Dad, Ted Crosfield, and his wife Linda for many years. They live in Ootischenia, and I’ve been at their house for gatherings of writers. I was also on the Kootenay Gallery board with Ted and have read my poetry and stories beside Linda at various venues.

I also know Anthony’s mother, Judy Gray, and her husband Dan as they delivered mail to my house for many years. In all the time I talked to Judy on my doorstep about the weather and other items, I never knew she had a son who was an important person in the larger world.

In his presentation to the Selkirk College graduates, Anthony told the students what happened when he graduated in 1985 from Selkirk’s hairdressing program.  He was being interviewed at the Fireside for a hairdressing job in Trail. He had really wanted to move to Vancouver and apparently had indicated that to the interviewer, but he thought he needed to make some money first.

The interviewer had asked him if he really wanted to be a small fish in a big pond, suggesting it would be easier for him to work in Trail. At that moment, he made the decision that would direct the rest of his life: “No,” he said, “I want to be a big fish in a big pond.”  He went on to tell the students that he was present as their guest speaker because he took a chance and reached for the top.

And what a career he has had. Co-owner and creative director of the renowned Union Salon in Vancouver, Anthony has established a world-recognized artistic and business career. His personality and hairdressing skills have led to international success and exposure in film and television. In 2008, he was the winner of Slice Network’s Superstar Hair Challenge.

Since then he has traveled the world with Wella International as a Global Visionary and dazzled editors at Cosmopolitan, Elle, and Flare in Style. Currently, he is an educator for P & G Salon Professionals, serves on the Cosmetology Association of BC, and is a member of the Global Design team for Nioxin.

Anthony returns to the West Kootenay regularly because he is a member of Selkirk’s Hairdressing Advisory Committee. He meets with students, teaches impromptu classes, and gives sound advice regarding the program’s future. His Vancouver business takes on several Selkirk practicum students each year.

It was a treat to meet this assured, easily-approachable former Stanley Humphries High student, this former Selkirk College grad, this once-upon a time resident of Castlegar. He wowed everyone he spoke with, and his humorous and well-thought-out presentation at Selkirk’s graduation was appreciated by the grads and the community audience.

In closing his talk, Anthony stated his mantra has been a few lines from the great British dramatist, George Bernard Shaw. Shaw wrote, “Life is no brief candle to me. It is a magnificent torch that I have hold of for a while. It is my obligation to make sure it is burning brighter before I pass it off to the next generation.”

Anthony Crosfield’s life and his achievements are testaments to this philosophy.