Meet Joanna Grant, a hairstylist and the personification of how Beauty Changes Lives. During the Beauty Changes Lives Experience on March 31, Grant shared how winning the Vidal Sassoon Professional Beauty Education Scholarship in 2017 helped her take steps towards her dreams and inspire others to do the same. Winning the scholarship set her transformation in motion. Below, Joanna shares her story.
What were you doing before you chose a career in beauty?
JG: I was educated as an accountant in the Middle Eastern country of Kuwait, but my heart was always set on doing hair.
What kept you from pursuing a career as a hairstylist?
JG: I grew up in a culture where the only “appreciated” career options were physician, attorney or engineer. Initially, my family didn’t understand just how committed and serious I was about becoming a hairdresser. Upon arriving in America, I started thinking about pursuing what I really wanted to do and my husband encouraged me to make my dream a reality.
How did you learn about Beauty Changes Lives?
JG: My husband and I Googled “beauty school scholarships”! At first, I was hesitant about making a video to apply, but my husband challenged me to take a leap of faith. Creating the video was an opportunity to tell my story and reminded me why I want to work in this industry. Two days before the application window closed, we decided to give it our best shot and create a video!
What surprised you about beauty school and the industry?
JG: There is so much to learn and the business is always evolving. Every day is a new opportunity to grow as a person and an artist.
What are you doing today?
JG: I am a stylist specializing in haircut at Van Michael Salon in Atlanta.
How do you want to make a difference in the beauty industry?
JG: I don’t want to leave a memory – I want to leave a legacy. A memory eventually fades with time, but a legacy is carried forward by people with strong motivations to create and empower others in their journeys. Legacy is fuel for dreamers and visionaries.
How does your work allow you to change lives?
JG: The reason I’ve chosen hairdressing as a career is because it allows me to impact the lives of people by loving them and allowing them to be themselves. Choosing to get to know them, hearing them speak of their dreams and encouraging them to reach those dreams is my joy.
Who has inspired you in your career?
JG: Well, my scholarship was made possible due to the legacy of Vidal Sassoon, a true legend. His approach to cutting hair sparked the fire in many others who are presently living their own creative dreams and I want to keep inspiring the next generation of hairstylists.
What advice do you share with new hairstylists?
JG: I have three pieces of advice. Look the part. Be the part. Do the part. Take time every day to discover what excites your heart, learn ways to hone your skills; and finally, use your skills to reach your dreams, your goals and your people.
How does your family view your career choice now?
JG: They are so proud of what I’ve achieved and are grateful for the people and an organization like Beauty Changes Lives that have helped bring me this far. As I was traveling to Chicago to speak at the Beauty Changes Lives Experience, my parents called from Kuwait to bless me on my endeavors.
For more information on Beauty Changes Lives and to see available scholarships, visit beautychangeslives.org/scholarships/