How I Became a Professional Stylist

Professional Stylist

Atlanta GeorgiaI started playing with hair at a young age. My mother had a collection of wigs that she used for when she went out on her Aveda selling spree in our hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. My mother didn’t bother doing up her hair because she said it took too much time. And she used to work in a salon, so she would style her wigs. She had four wigs. There was a black one, a blonde one, a brunette and a red one. And they each had names. She felt that giving them names let her embody the character of the wig. The black one was called Amy; the blonde one was Lindsay; the brunette was Jessica, and the red one was Sophia. It was fun to watch because she did really change when she wore the different wigs. It might have been the fact that she enjoyed acting when she was younger. She starred in several school plays, and she wanted to be an actress. But, she had me instead. I sometimes felt bad because I felt like I was the reason she had to stop pursuing her dreams. I told her this once and she told me to never think that way. She gets to live her dream through the characters she embodies on a daily basis, but one thing that doesn’t change is how much I mean to her. I really have the best Mom.

Best-hair-dryer-with-comb-attachmentShe started teaching me tricks on teasing hair, blow-drying hair and how to use a comb properly. So, she bought me a wig of my own to practice on because she didn’t want me ruining hers. But, what she didn’t know when she left the house was that I would put the wigs on and try to embody the characters she had created. I would put on her pearls and dance around the house to music from Hairspray (our favorite musical). Amy was my favorite wig because it was the big, beehive hair you saw in the 1960s. One day when she went out, I put on a dress of hers, a pair of red high-heels, the hair, the pearl necklace and earrings, and I tried my hand at makeup. I put the blonde wig on this time because I wanted to look like Marilyn Monroe. I even drew the little freckle above my lip to look more like her. I danced around to “I Wanna Be Loved By You.” My mom walked right back into the house about 20 minutes after she had left to find me dressed as Marilyn. And to my surprise she didn’t mind that I was dressed as a girl. She didn’t slap me, hit me or anything. She smiled and told me that I have never looked prettier. She dropped her purse, started the record over and started dancing and lipsyncing with me. That is my fondest memory of my mother. She never once made me feel like an outsider and always accepted me for whatever foolish act I was endeavoring in at the time. She was my rock.

StylistMy mother was my inspiration to get a job as a professional stylist. I moved away when I was 18 years old and moved in with my Aunt in Hollywood, Florida. And that’s where she helped me get a job at Allure Hair Salon. She knew the owner and that was my first step to becoming a stylist. I learned everything I know at Allure, and I moved on to starting my own hair salon back in Atlanta after four years with Allure. I moved back in with my Mom because I wanted to help her the way she helped me. About three years later, my mother would pass from breast cancer. And I decided to sell the salon and move. I didn’t want to be in Atlanta anymore. I didn’t want to be on the East Coast anymore. So, I packed up and moved to California. I worked in a high end salon in Beverly Hills, and I met my life and business partner there. We started our own hair salon on Rodeo Drive. It has been 15 years since we opened the salon and I couldn’t be happier. I only wish my mother could be here to see how happy and successful I am. I like to think she knows. But, I miss her wise words. And most of all, I miss dancing with her.

Passion for Drawing & Construction

Construction

My mother is an English teacher at Bishop Kenny High School in Jacksonville. And my sisters and I were sent there because my parents both graduated from that school. So, it had become a family tradition that we study in the same schools as they did, but college was our choice. Not that we got a choice in whether or not we wanted to attend, but we got to pick the college we wanted to attend. I was the youngest of four children. And the last one still in high school. My eldest sister, Johanna, moved to Australia after graduating with her Bachelor’s in Marine Biology; my second eldest sister, Elsa, became a painter and is now traveling through Europe; my older sister, Vanessa, is in New York studying at Parson’s; and I’m the undecided one still in high school. I had no idea what I wanted to study. I had never been able to answer the “Where do you see yourself in five years?” question. And honestly, I just feel like I might need a break from school.

I have always been Daddy’s little girl. I heard my Mom telling my grandmother that my Dad is the reason I’m undecided about my future. See, all my sisters followed in my mother’s footsteps. They were all organized, had clear motivations and drives, meanwhile, I was watching Ed, Edd & Eddy on Cartoon Network. The only thing I really liked to do was draw. I drew landscapes, buildings, Anime, and eyes. I have a fondness for drawing eyes. Why? I’m not entirely sure. I think it has to do with my desire to capture the depth in eyes. I like to be able to capture a moment of sadness, joy, anger or angst that shows up in a person’s eyes. I get my drawing talents from my father. He showed me how to draw at a young age and I’ve taken to it. My father is in the construction business and he works for Albertelli Construction as an architect. I’m not entirely sure that being an architect is for me, but I do like drawing. Although, I’m not sure I want to pursue a career with something that I enjoy doing as a hobby. I’m afraid the passion will deteriorate, and then I won’t even have my artistry.

I’ve spoken to my sister Elsa, but she is hardly available. Plus, our talents are different. She started drawing murals and I only draw sporadically. Elsa is a painter and an accomplished artist. And I’m like the ugly duckling, except I’m not sure that I’m going to grow into a more accomplished person. My Mom is pushing me to pursue a career in art because she thinks that’s where I’ll strive. But, I think graphics would be a better way to channel my passion into something that won’t tarnish my passion for drawing. Thinking about it, it makes total sense to pursue a career in graphics because I have the eye for detail. I am a capable artist. I’m quite savvy with a computer.

After speaking to my Mom and Dad about graphic designing, and they think I should take some online courses and see how I like them. I start my first set of classes on Saturday because they don’t want me to let my high school studies falter in the wake of my new burning desire. I hope it sticks because I’m not sure what else I could do. I could become an interior designer, but unless people want walls covered with One Direction posters I’m not sure I’d be very good at it. So, keep your fingers crossed for me! I would hate to be a disappoint in a family that has found success in everything they have pursued. Maybe I’m meant to stumble, but I refuse to be the black sheep who just does not fit in.