I found out about you from my friends who are big fans of your videos. And that was a good day! Can you share with our CAP family what it is that you do.
Sure! I am a dog grooming artist in Los Angeles (as well as a comedian and director). I am known for these videos I make of freshly groomed dogs blowing in the wind to music in slo-mo.
How did you get into the wild world of dog grooming? I started off as a dog bather when I was 19. It was the least “9 to 5” looking job I could find. I didn’t know anything about grooming, or dogs. Over the years I got lucky enough to find mentors that were willing to teach me.
While I groomed dogs, I also waited tables at night. I took a break from grooming for a while when I moved to New York to pursue comedy and acting. After 6 years of waiting tables, I decided to dive back into grooming hardcore. I studied like crazy, competed in grooming competitions, took classes and immersed myself in the world of dog grooming as much as I could.
You’ve modernized it and made it feel super modern and accessible, was that your intention when you started on this journey? Thank you! My intention is always to do the best job I can. I’m kind of a perfectionist and I don’t want any dog who leaves my studio to look less than perfect. When Instagram first came out, I would study the groomers in Japan, China and Korea. I got so inspired by the whimsical looking grooms they would do, so I would try to emulate it. I then put my own spin on their grooming styles and my style was born.
I consider animals to be the ultimate teachers and I’m assuming you share a similar view. What have you learned from working so closely with these magical beasts? Ooh! Can Magical Beasts be the name of our band? I’ve learned so much. I learned that dogs are energy readers. Dogs are natural followers. They want to please us. If we have a calm, confident energy, dogs feel secure. They don’t need volume or words, it’s pure energy. I also learned that I’m human and don’t know everything which is why my poodle Meemu still barks out the window of my house. One day I will train that out of him, ONE DAY!
Your videos are beyond. What inspired you to create these and how did they come about? It all happened organically. I was blow drying a Pekingese named Noodle, and her ears flew up in the air so I grabbed my phone and filmed it. It was so funny to me. I think this video is still somewhere on my personal Instagram. About a month later the iPhone6 came out and it had a slow-mo option, so I played with it and made videos. A friend of mine told me about an app that puts music to videos and that’s when it all began. I remember one of the first videos I made was to the song 10,000 Emerald Pools by Borns, and I sent the video to the owner of the dog and he flipped out and posted it on his Facebook and that’s kinda where it all began.
I know you’ve had a lot of success with them and your fans are far and wide. How have these videos impacted your career outside of the grooming world? This whole thing has completely changed my life. I’m so grateful. I used to have to prove myself much more. Now I feel that people trust me so much more and let me do whatever I want with their pups. I feel like now they see that grooming can be more of an art form than a simple haircut. I want to change the way the world looks at grooming. Also my two worlds of comedy and grooming have collided. I got to direct a music video for Tegan and Sara, a commercial for Liquid Plumr, and a commercial for the Standard Hotel, I was in the DVD extras of The Secret Life of Pets teaching Eric Stonestreet how to groom a dog, I have a book coming out, the LA Times and countless magazines have done write-ups on me, it’s nuts. I’m pinching myself every day (I don’t recommend that).
What’s on the horizon for you? You’re an actor and a director, can you share what you’re up to? My current side hustle is writing a pilot with my creative partner about a dog groomer. My book should be out in April, I just guest starred in an episode of Hollywood Darlings (on Pop TV), I got to act in a video for GQ Magazine w Gal Gadot and I’ll be in Austin next month working with Casper for a charity pup run.
What does a day in the life of Jess Rona look like? Every day is so unique. If I’m grooming dogs, I get up, make a matcha, meditate, walk my dogs, groom dogs all day, take a bath and go to bed. Very exciting.
Today I’m off, so I’m at a coffee shop working on my pilot. I was just asked to help with a film that needs a dog groomer on set, so I’m coordinating that, and I’m planning a trip to NYC to scout locations for me to groom my east coast clients.
What are your 5 favorite products from CAP? (I haven’t actually tried these but I’m obsessed with you and have every intention of trying them):