So the common question I get asked frequently is how did I get into hairdressing. You might want to get comfortable, it's a long story...
I have been in the beauty industry since I was in diapers. My parents use to own and operate a few hair salons in the San Fernando Valley. My father was the brains behind the business and my mother was the artistic soul of her foundation. Together, they owned a total of 5 hair salons, all within a 5 mile radius and had a payroll for around 33 employees. Crazy right?! But they were very successful at what they did and focused mainly on special occasion events (brides, quinceneras, Beauty pageants ect.). My sister, Star and I would constantly get our hair done by someone in the salon. I like to say that I was the first out of the few that started the Ombre trend when the tips of my hair stayed blonde because the blue color wouldn't grab. The stylist at the salon were my family. I loved to sit there at watch them at work. Since I was there constantly, I made my first business deal with my mom. I negotiated 50 cents for every station I swept hair from... and guess what? I got the Job!! I was hired at the age of 10 years old. Now, before you think this is child labor... I didn't really sweep much hair and I would constantly get bonuses buy giving hugs and kisses to my parents. Unfortunately the saying goes, " Don't mix business with pleasure" has its truth. Things with my parents didn't work out and they ended up separating. They sold all of the salons except for one.
My passion started out with Make-up. Star and I would sneak into my parents room when we were little and play dress up. Star, being the older sister would play my mom and I got stuck dressing as my dad. We would get lost in her makeup box. I remember using my mother's eyeliner to draw thick, muscular eyebrows and a mustache (sometimes with curls). Creativity at its best! I developed quite the makeup collection growing up and I would constantly practice my applications on myself or on friends. At the age of 17, I started doing makeup at my mother's salon on the weekends. I was sooo nervous when I first started off, constantly getting questioned about my age... but I eventually owned it! (woot woot!)
My first year of collage eventually rolled around and I was stumped at what I wanted to pursue my career in. I had no motivation and ended up working as a reception at the JC Penney salon. (Yes, they have a salon!!) I was there for about two years still trying to figure it out. At the time, I wanted to enroll in a makeup school where I would receive the proper training for special FX in hope of working for TV and movie productions. Although it felt like a risk with my single mother struggling to cover the cost of tuition ( I love you mom!). I just couldn't do that to her... Luckily, Alicia, a stylist at the JCP salon, informed me of a cosmetology program at West Valley Occupational Center. The program is run through LAUSD and cost a fraction 1/4 less than most cosmetology schools. Amazing! I was put on the waiting list for about 6 months and started no later. It was a struggle with LAUSD constant budget cuts but it still didn't take away from the amazing education and experience. Mrs. Nazeli, Mrs. Laham and Mrs. Summera have been there for quite some time and their passion for teaching shows. They would arrange demos from celebrity stylist and large companies in the beauty industry to come and educate us. Along with great education, great relationships were formed with me and my Cosmo sisters who still keep in touch. Best decision of my life!
So here is were life got crazy! I was going to school during the day in Woodland Hills and had work 15 min. after school was over at the JCP salon in Northridge. Oh and did I mention that I was driving a Ford Expedition aka The Gas Guzzler and I live in Sylmar!!! I was just barley making it paycheck to paycheck and a majority went straight to gas :( I loved working at the JCP salon until we got new management. I will say that being told how to drink your water (sip don't gulp) and getting accused of looking so tired and non professional because "I was young and apparently I partied too hard" ( You just cant have enough fun waking up at 6 am for school and work daily AND I did packed on the foundation and mascara!) was the straw that broke the camels back! I quit the salon and literately left if tears and upset from how I was treated. (HAVE PRIDE!!!!) Of course, mom came to the rescue and offered me my old job back.
So like I have mentioned before, Don't mix business with pleasure. I LOVEEEEEE my mom to death but I knew I had to find a salon to call my own. In-between my search, I stumbled upon this website www.modelmayhem.com where professionals such as photographers, models, makeup artist, hairstylist, and wardrobe artist all exchange their trade if different forms of compensation. Think of it as Facebook for the industry. My hunger to follow my dreams led me into doing trade work with these professionals. My first photo shoot came arose from when I sent out an email to USC and UCLA professors offering my services to students who are majoring in film. I was hired to do makeup in the Santa Monica Mountains, 10 min away from Malibu for a sculpture company. This company wanted to promote their works of art on their website and wanted to look gorgeous. Mission Accomplished! That photo shoot led me to connect with other photographers and models to build up my portfolio and display my work to the world. I felt so accomplished when one of the photo shoots I worked on was published in a lifestyle magazine in Switzerland. (Thanks Patrick and Deborah) Once my portfolio was built and my business cards were made, I began to pass out my resume to every salon on Ventura blvd. I got a few salons that were interested in hiring but one of them was fate. I got a call from the owner of Studio 818 Beauty Lounge in Studio City who wanted me to come in for an interview. So this is where my world begins to get small. The owner of the salon retired from the same JCP salon where I use to reception a year before I started working there. How bizarre is that!! She knew all of the same stylist and people who are so close to me.
I began to work for Studio 818 Beauty lounge and enjoyed the time I spent there. I learned so much and grew as a stylist thanks to Matti, Kiko and the other stylist at the salon. I also formed great and special relationships with clients that visited the salon who I continue to see now. Unfortunately, It wasn't working for me at the salon and I decided to go independent. I was introduced to Koby B Salon in Sherman Oaks by a close friend and I fell in love with the salon where I currently work now. I can't tell you how amazing it feels to be your own boss and set your own rules. I now use the best of the best products on my clients and take amazing pride in my work.
So ladies and gentlemen, this is where we stop in the chapter of "Started from the bottom now I'm here". But not to worry... The story is no where near over :) Stay tuned to see read happens when you strive in the world of hair art.