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.

It’s Important to Have Dreams

Dreams

NYC-ArchitectureWhile I was growing up, I didn’t have the world, but with enough hard work, I think I will one day make my dreams a reality. I’ve spoken to you guys abut the drawings in my room, but what I haven’t shared is that I used to dream of being an architect. I’m not sure why or what happened in my life to shake me from this path, but I always enjoyed sketching buildings, bridges, and landscapes. Something about it was extremely calming. For instance, my first time visiting New York City, I felt as though the buildings were telling me a story. A story of a time when life was simpler and easier. And that’s something that I’ve always striven for in my life – peace.

Another vacation that impacted me at a young age was my trip to Miami, most importantly, Sunny Isles Beach. Now the architecture is much different than that of New York, but it was still beyond beautiful. It’s like one perpetual Spring Break. Beautiful people, beautiful scenery, and beautiful buildings. Out of all the buildings that I was able to visit, there was a few that stood out more than the rest. I’m not usually fond of posting my feelings about a particular subject, as I don’t like people to disagree with me, but I feel my feelings on inanimate objects like buildings can’t be misconstrued.

Mansions at Acqualina

Mansions at AcqualinaI’m starting with the Mansions because I feel that they are some of the world’s most luxurious residences. They started with a team of world-class architects, accomplished interior designers, and hand-chosen craftsmen from around the world to surpass the world’s expectations of extravagant living. The mesmerizing ocean views are indescribable. I would love to live in a place where I could watch the sun rise over the Atlantic every morning. That’s always seemed so peaceful to me, watching a new day begin as if yesterday never happened. From the moment you step into the Acqualina Resort & Spa, you’re treated like royalty. The caring and trained staff is always at your beck and call. The lobby is by far one of the most impressive architectural feats I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s completely marble and has a 26-foot arched and coffered ceiling.

Regarding amenities, the Mansions has it all – two beautiful pools, cascading waterfalls, exuberant landscapes, oceanfront dining, poolside lounges, and cabanas. In addition to these glorious amenities, the Mansions at Acqualina also maintains a private cinema, children’s center, the Hammam Spa, and a state-of-the-art fitness center.

Trump Palace

Trump PalaceThe most iconic aspect of the Trump Palace building in Sunny Isles Beach are the rooftop pillars which jut into the air like sails. It’s quite breathtaking regarding architecture. It makes all the difference considering that the Palace is a luxury waterfront condo which appeals to avid boaters or affluent owners who enjoy waterfront views from spacious balconies. The building is surrounded by lush landscapes and courtyards creating the perfect balance for its residences. Each unit is beautiful in its own right considering they all have ten-foot ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, terraces, panoramic ocean views, and Italian kitchen cabinets.

The amenities are extremely similar to those of the Mansions of Acqualina. (I bet most luxury condo buildings in Sunny Isles Beach have similar amenities to compete with each other.) A two-story lobby with 1000-feet of beachfront access for its residences, with a tropically landscaped entrance, art galleries, a top-of-the-line spa & sauna, and a full-service valet. There are hundreds of waterfront cities in Florida, but I don’t think any of that match up to the glorious Sunny Isles Beach. The privacy and tranquility you can feel while staying in the Trump Palace are indefinable.

Chateau Beach

Chateau BeachLast but certainly not least. If you’re looking for unparalleled luxury and beautiful architecture, a residence in Chateau Beach is definitely what you want. What stood out the most for me in the design of this building (if you could even call it a building) would have to be its curvature. Apparently the curves were modeled after the adjacent beach dunes, while the shimmering walls of glass in the numerous windows would evoke the glow of the ocean waves it overlooks. The design is one-of-a-kind, but it also allows for maximum views of the ocean from each unit.

Another aspect of this project that struck my interest was that its location is adjacent to protected parkland, which means that these incomparable sea views will remain obstructed forever. As I mentioned before, my dream of becoming an architect was highly influenced by my love for landscaping. A beautifully crafted landscape allows us to transcend our mundane lives and step into a form of life that we rarely see anymore. The tropical landscape creates a seamless connection to mother nature with garden walls covered in ivy. Additionally, the property contains numerous oak, cypress, and green buttonwood trees, as well as the iconic Royal Palms & Coconut Trees that make Florida famous.

Making My Dreams a Reality

One day, I wish to live in one of these properties, as there’s nothing I would enjoy more than watching the sun rise with a paint brush in one hand and a mimosa in the other. I know that if I work hard and put my mind to it, I can easily obtain a goal like this.