By Diana Cavagnaro
“Pooch Perfect” is an ABC TV show that just aired on HULU. Ten professional dog stylists were picked to compete each week for a $100,000 grand prize. The show was hosted by Rebel Wilson and the judges were former “Real Housewives” cast member Lisa Vanderpump, celebrity dog groomer Jorge Bendersky, and veterinarian Dr. Callie Harris. I had the opportunity to interview hometown contestants Gabriel Feitosa and his assistant Monse Barbosa. The team made it to the top three with their artistry. The process took one year of casting before they actually filmed this show in January and February of this year.
Feitosa began grooming dogs when he was only 12 years old in Brazil and went on to work for three years with the prestigious Hampton Court Kennels. He then went to work with the international awarded animal photographer Johnny Duarte preparing dogs for over 35 campaigns. As time went on, he was offered a groomer and handling job by Paul Flores, one of the top Bichon-Frisé Breeders in the world and this is what brought him to the US. He met his husband Jeremy at this time and they moved to San Diego. In January of 2018, he opened GFG Grooming in University Heights which was a little hole-in-the-wall store. It has since grown into a Beauty Shoppe, a signature grooming shop, pet boutique and dog bakery.
Feitosa’s assistant Barbosa started out as a pet parent with a Shit-Tzu at the age of six. Eventually, she got a job as a Pooper Scooper Technician for Rough Doodie. Wanting to expand her knowledge and gain hands on grooming training, she approached Feitosa for a job. She said that she would do anything to have the opportunity to learn from him.
Some of Feitosa’s favorite challenges on the show were the holiday challenge with Santa’s helper, the elf. Next was the decade themed styling challenge with the timeless aesthetics of the 1780s. This dynamic team created beautiful pink bows with the dog hair along with a corset on the back of the dog. The grand fur-nale was out of this world with creativity. Feitosa and Barbosa decided to incorporate both of their personal stories. A hummingbird was skillfully fashioned out of the fur on the right side of the dog. This represented Barbosa’s heritage and how fearless she is flying now. On the left side of the dog a Koi fish was meticulously sculpted. Legends say that if the koi fish could swim against the tide to the tallest waterfall the gods would grant it a wish and transform the Koi into a dragon. Feitosa said that he felt like that dragon.
I asked Feitosa what was next for him and he said that in the future he would like to develop two grooming courses for young kids in under-developed countries. There aren’t enough education programs to learn grooming. One of the great outcomes of this show is that it demonstrated to the world what a craft dog grooming is. All of the contestants were amazing artists. He also plans to expanded online stores and has possible upcoming commercials. Barbosa plans to attend Rangel Kennels in Rialto to learn hand stripping and creative grooming. Stop by to see this adorable pet boutique and grooming salon at 4219 Park Blvd.
Tea with Zandra & Friends
June 9, 2021 at 12 noon Pacific Time.
This virtual event will come live from Zandra’s London Penthouse. Event will benefit Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute. For tickets visit www.events.usc.edu/esvp/ and use code ZandraATRI to register.
Ugochi Iwuaba x Aston Martin fashion show
June 26, 2021 from 4-6 p.m.
Located at Aston Martin San Diego at 7820 Balboa Avenue. For tickets visit www.bit.ly/2RIUJ4T.
— Diana Cavagnaro is an internationally renowned Couture Milliner based in the San Diego. Learn more about our Hat Designer, Teacher & Blogger at www.DianaCavagnaro.com.