Educator and Stylist, FiveToSix Salon & Spa, St. Paul, MN
Licensed: 1997, Aveda Institute in Minneapolis. Aso trained there for esthiology
First job: Spalon Montage, where the owner arranged my audition with the Graham Webb platform team.
Clients per week: 35
Price point: Cuts: $150; chemical services: $200 and up
Why did you choose beauty? I have always been drawn to art, music and people. The beauty industry chose me to be a humble servant and express its voice through my creativity. I consider myself one of many disciples of beauty. Spreading a simple message that beauty is universal.
Milestones: Going to the Aveda Institute, winning NAHA, and being on Bravo's Shear Genius 3
Big break: Came when I gave a random speech “thanking God for Johnny Depp” the night I won NAHA. NAHA gave me credibility in the industry, but my speech made me an overnight sensation.
Career advice you’ve received: "If I waited for everything to be right I would still be in my mamma's house." —Ted Gibson
Career advice you’ve given: Don't let fear paralyze you, let it propel you.
Your mentors: Mary Brunnetti is someone who has always helped support other women in the industry. She has been a great mentor and resource.
You mentor? All those around me. I love people and I am a teacher by nature. If no one is around I talk to myself (smile).
Are there benefits to being a woman in beauty? Yes, the ability to understand beauty beyond the superficial. It is my goal to make a woman feel beautiful inside out.
Are there challenges for women in beauty? My biggest challenge has been balancing a successful career and being a great mom. I don't think society puts as much pressure on
Sacrifice and lesson: My sacrifices have been financial. I have paid for all of my collections and sponsored many shows that I've been asked to do. I've learned to trust my instincts. I can't afford to fail.
Risk and reward: The biggest professional risk I have ever taken was choosing to go on a reality show. Reality shows have a tendency to make a character for you, even if it isn't the one you want. I want to be taken seriously in the industry. I learned that I'm not competitive with others. I'm compelled to do what I do because I love it and my drive has nothing to do with winning.
What does “work/life” balance mean to you? Balance is something I have always struggled with. I was styling Holly Robinson-Peete for an event and asked her how she kept it all together. She said," I do the best I can for that day. Some days I am better mom and some days I am a great celebrity. No one is perfect, you just have to do the best you can." I live by those words.
To follow in your footsteps, a woman would have to: Devote 90 percent of her time to this craft, and have a tough skin. Anyone can do it, but few want to make the sacrifice of time. This is my job, hobby and my love.
Famous woman you would like to style: Beyonce and Gwen Stefani
The next change to my personal style: I've been dreaming of couture, avant garde styling and a classic twist. Fierce shoes are always a must.
Reading: Life as a Daymaker by David Wagner is a personal favorite
Playlist: Beyonce's “Girls Run the World,” Gym Class Heroes and Adam Levine’s “Stereo Hearts.”
Important client experience: I lost my aunt to breast cancer many years ago. I understand the physical, mental and financial demands of this disease. I do not charge for wig cuts if a client has cancer or is undergoing chemo. I've seen women cry tears of joy for this simple act of kindness. I will NEVER change this policy.
Every day, just for you: Music and the treadmill keep me energized and inspired. I love a great beat!
Working on: A partnership with a new tool company called ONE. More television opportunities may be in the works.