I started trying to cut my own hair and would make my friend cut the parts I couldn’t reach. I remember shocking my mom a few times. I would go upstairs with long hair and come back down with a chin-length bob. By the time I was in junior high, my aunt was a cosmetologist. I started coloring it and always changing it up. I also had a grandmother, that was like another mother to me, that used to sit in her dining room every night to do her skincare and hair routine. She’s always been such a beautiful woman. She told me that I must start a routine by the time I turn 20 so that I would age gracefully. She’d teach me her tricks and at the time I didn’t really think much of it, just took it all in and learned from her.
By 9th grade, I knew I wanted to do hair and makeup for the STARS! My best friend, Lindsay, and I used to dream about it. So much so that we both went off together to Toni & Guy in Dallas, TX to study cosmetology. I was adamant about going to one of the best schools in the world. If little ol’ me from a small town in Arkansas had a chance to work with movie stars, I’d have to learn from the best! I searched and searched throughout my senior year to try and figure out where I could go and what I could afford. When I found it, I set up a tour and told my parents we were going. Of course, they weren’t super thrilled. But I talked them into traveling down a 4-hour drive away to go see it. The moment I walked in I knew it was right and the more the tour went on I was sold. I thought about it deeply the whole way home trying to strategize how I would make it work. A couple of days after being back I told my parents I was going to go and that I was going ASAP. They thought I was crazy but I found an apartment, signed up to start, and started packing.
The day we were leaving to move, we were about to head out and I told my parents I was going to check on my dog one more time before we left. Thank God I did! I walked into the backyard and there was blood everywhere! All over the side of the house, the ground, the furniture, I mean everywhere! A little bitty chihuahua had bit half of his ear off! So of course, this delayed my trip. I tell you this because in my blog, The Start of My Career, I share with you another story where the opposition always tries to hold you back when you are trying to do great things. I am a true believer that they are testing to see if you will power through them and not allow them to deter you from your path. We quickly rushed him to the vet, doctored him up, took him to family members, and then we continued on our journey. A week later I was sitting in class learning how to cut hair. Thank God I did because 2 months after I joined, the tuition almost doubled!
Toni & Guy’s training was very advanced and had so much to offer me. They started every month with only 10 students max and each month you would move to the next theory. By the fourth month, you were working on people. I loved it. They would let you consult with your client, map out the game plan, and then they would check to see if you were on the right track before you got started. I remember the very first day I was so nervous. My first client wanted an all-over color touchup. She was a level 3 and I forgot to put gloves on. My teacher watched and let me start. About halfway through she walked by and whispered in my ear “I bet you won’t do that again” I laughed so hard, at that point I still hadn’t realized what I had done. My hands were black for days. It reminded me to slow down and stay calm.
I really loved how they ran things and allowed us to grow. They also had a challenge that if you showed them you were advanced and independent enough, they would put you in their glass room where you no longer needed an instructor. I was determined to get in there. They had an art group that would come in and out periodically to teach advanced classes and put on different shows. I always volunteered to help to sponge up their knowledge. I remember a colorist once told me,
I was so nervous!! Chocolate for blond highlights??!! But it looked amazing. I learned so many little tricks from them. They traveled the world putting these shows and classes on. By the seventh month mark, I finally achieved my goal. I had free range to practice my confidence in being on my own and it really set me up to succeed in the “outside” world.
Towards the end of my journey, I got called into the administrative office and was asked what my goals were. I told the administrator about my dreams of working in Hollywood. I was then given a pamphlet about Makeup Designory and told it was the best makeup school in Los Angeles. I checked it out and devised a plan to get myself out there. I moved back home to Arkansas, worked in a salon for experience to hone my skills, saved up money for three years, and then took the leap.
The makeup courses took me four months of hard work. I remember my beauty makeup teacher, Cyndi, told me the first day,
So I made sure to do just that! Sure enough, it paid off. She immediately referred me to another teacher that was designing a thirty-day movie. At this point, I had already moved back home because we were told it was a possibility to only make $50/day if we were lucky. And neither my parents nor I could afford it. I was so bummed that I was going to miss out on the opportunity. I told the woman the truth of my circumstances and she actually said I could stay with her at no charge while I worked the job. So of course I took her up on the offer and the rest is history!