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How a Dog Groomer Ended up Directing a Tegan and Sara Video

Dog groomer Jess Rona tells us how she came to direct the Canadian indie-rock band's "100x" video, which turned out beautifully thanks to its canine stars.

Michael Leaverton  |  May 20th 2016


Earlier this month, Canadian sister-duo Tegan and Sara released a music video for “100x,” a track from their upcoming album, Love You to Death. Like many in the entertainment business, the singers used dogs to give their project that extra oomph. But they didn’t spotlight them in the typical way. The dogs do not romp around, acting playful and goofy. Instead, they stand very still, quiet, while a light breeze flutters their bangs and plays upon their coats, creating an air of serene and beautiful melancholia.

The dogs are also impeccably groomed, which is important to note — and frankly just good manners.

How did such magic come about? Thank groomer Jess Rona and her blow dryer. She not only prepared the dogs for their indie-rock video debut, she also directed the video, which takes place in her house and features her clients — and her skill with a blow dryer. If it’s not the first time a dog groomer directed a music video, it’s got to be the first time a groomer directed such a good one.

But it’s not that surprising. Rona has been posting videos of her clients matched to songs on her Instagram for a while now, and has been gaining loads of fans — including Tegan and Sara — in the process. We chatted with her about the shoot and about her wildly popular Instagram page, and also included some of her recent videos.

Dogster: How did the Tegan and Sara video come about? Did they contact you out of the blue or did they know about you?

Jess Rona: I met Sara at a party in L.A., and we hit it off. I showed her my Instagram, and it just happened organically from there.

Who are all the dogs? Your clients?

Yes! They’re all regular clients I picked who I knew would be comfortable with filming.

How did the shoot go? Any crazy things happen?

I wish! The shoot was amazing. We planned the day so the pups would come in the morning and get bathed and prepped, and Tegan and Sara came later in the day and just hung out with dogs. It was pretty much a dream.

Jess Rona's grooming salon. (Photo courtesy JessRonaGrooming Instagram.

Jess Rona’s grooming salon. (Photo courtesy JessRonaGrooming Instagram)

As to your Instagram account, it’s amazing how well the songs match the dogs. What’s the process you go through matching a song to a dog?

It varies. A few times I’ve been in a grocery store and heard an old familiar song that inspires me, or I’ll hear a song randomly on Spotify or through my husband. It’s all different. I keep a list of songs I want to use. Once I get footage from a pup, I’ll remember what songs are on my list and think of which ones go with the vibe/emotion of the dog. Sometimes I know instantly what song would be perfect, and sometimes it’s taken me months to match the right song.

Did the success of the Instagram account surprise you?

Very much so. The grooming business was always supposed to be something I did to support myself while I pursued comedy and acting. I just started making these videos because it was a fun creative outlet. I had no idea I loved making little music videos so much. Now all I want to do is direct music videos!

It seems like the dogs like the blow dryer. Do the dogs really like the blow dryer?

Ha! Not really! What you see on my Instagram is after the actual blow dry. It’s after the dog has been groomed and finished. I blow off each pup after they’re done so little hairs don’t get everywhere when [their owner] comes, so the wind is very gentle at that stage. And the pups have been sitting for me for about an hour getting worked on, so they’re pretty calm.

Check out Rona’s Instagram videos below and see more on her Instagram page.

#lemonade

A video posted by JessRonaGrooming (@jessronagrooming) on

  @abelxo   A video posted by JessRonaGrooming (@jessronagrooming) on

@lordemusic A video posted by JessRonaGrooming (@jessronagrooming) on

  @nickiminaj   A video posted by JessRonaGrooming (@jessronagrooming) on

Amazing album by @jjjennyo A video posted by JessRonaGrooming (@jessronagrooming) on