<p>Carlos Valenzuela, educator, salon artist, mentor, spirit guide:</p>

<p><em>&ldquo;Through my long beauty career as a platform for expression, I eventually belonged, not just fit in. Today I belong everywhere, and I get&nbsp; to love and be my true self &mdash;and that is bliss.&rdquo;&nbsp;</em></p>

Carlos Valenzuela, educator, salon artist, mentor, spirit guide:

“Through my long beauty career as a platform for expression, I eventually belonged, not just fit in. Today I belong everywhere, and I get  to love and be my true self —and that is bliss.” 

<p>Carlos perfecting that perm wrap.</p>

Carlos perfecting that perm wrap.

<p>In China, a groundbreaking beauty trip.</p>

In China, a groundbreaking beauty trip.

<p>Carlos in China.</p>

Carlos in China.

<p>With his favorite people.</p>

With his favorite people.

<p>Carlos in the salon, perfecting an updo.</p>

Carlos in the salon, perfecting an updo.

<p>One of the first headshots Carlos used when he began blogging for modernsalon.com</p>

One of the first headshots Carlos used when he began blogging for modernsalon.com

<p>Carlos with stylist Leonardo Rocco</p>

Carlos with stylist Leonardo Rocco

<p>Getting his hair cut in Mexico</p>

Getting his hair cut in Mexico

<p>&nbsp;<em>&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t say I would do anything differently&hellip;unless I could do everything differently. We create a path, a road, with choices we make daily, that eventually becomes our life&rsquo;s work.&rdquo;</em></p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>

 “I can’t say I would do anything differently…unless I could do everything differently. We create a path, a road, with choices we make daily, that eventually becomes our life’s work.”

 

1/11
 
View all
<p>Carlos Valenzuela, educator, salon artist, mentor, spirit guide:</p>

<p><em>&ldquo;Through my long beauty career as a platform for expression, I eventually belonged, not just fit in. Today I belong everywhere, and I get&nbsp; to love and be my true self &mdash;and that is bliss.&rdquo;&nbsp;</em></p>
1/11
 
Slider

Carlos Valenzuela, educator, salon artist, mentor, spirit guide:

“Through my long beauty career as a platform for expression, I eventually belonged, not just fit in. Today I belong everywhere, and I get  to love and be my true self —and that is bliss.” 

<p>Carlos perfecting that perm wrap.</p>
2/11
 
Slider

Carlos perfecting that perm wrap.

<p>In China, a groundbreaking beauty trip.</p>
3/11
 
Slider

In China, a groundbreaking beauty trip.

<p>Carlos in China.</p>
4/11
 
Slider

Carlos in China.

<p>With his favorite people.</p>
5/11
 
Slider

With his favorite people.

6/11
 
Slider
<p>Carlos in the salon, perfecting an updo.</p>
7/11
 
Slider

Carlos in the salon, perfecting an updo.

<p>One of the first headshots Carlos used when he began blogging for modernsalon.com</p>
8/11
 
Slider

One of the first headshots Carlos used when he began blogging for modernsalon.com

<p>Carlos with stylist Leonardo Rocco</p>
9/11
 
Slider

Carlos with stylist Leonardo Rocco

<p>Getting his hair cut in Mexico</p>
10/11
 
Slider

Getting his hair cut in Mexico

<p>&nbsp;<em>&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t say I would do anything differently&hellip;unless I could do everything differently. We create a path, a road, with choices we make daily, that eventually becomes our life&rsquo;s work.&rdquo;</em></p>

<p>&nbsp;</p>
11/11
 
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 “I can’t say I would do anything differently…unless I could do everything differently. We create a path, a road, with choices we make daily, that eventually becomes our life’s work.”

 

BEAUTY BIO:

Hometown: Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico

Industry Icon: Leo Passage

Career Other than Hairdressing: If I hadn’t been a cosmetologist, I would have been in performing arts— acting, directing, or if I had a voice, in a rock band.

Your Favorite Day: Christmas Eve

Hidden talent: Cooking

Now reading: Becoming Superman by J Michael Straczynski

Title of your autobiography: I’m Not Done

Carlos Valenzuela comes from a small ranching town in northern Mexico. One of his formative memories comes from the example of his father. “Regardless of whatever cool things happen to me, I try to remember to stay as humble as my Papa, a cattle rancher whose success was dependent on the probability of timely rainfalls,” Carlos told us. “He never boasted about his cattle, because this time, the rains might fail him. Life can turn around without notice, so if life rewards me in any way, I can either bag it or share it to inspire others, and for me, the choice will always be to pass it on.”

  “Creativity take courage, and the day I embraced abundance and lost the fear of scarcity my creativity seemed to soar.”

An educator, mentor, platform artist (the list goes on), this kind-of commonsense approach to life and career has endeared Carlos to millions. He has taught his brand of heart-centered beauty training around the world, he is a much-loved blog contributor for MODERN SALON, and he brings a whole-person approach to everything he does.

His ability to empathize with other’s struggles may have been developed as a child, when he was dropped in the middle of a school where no one spoke a word of Spanish to him (he spoke no English) and then, again, as an adult, when his Masters in International Relations failed to open doors due to unfair bias he encountered. “I felt no matter my effort, I seemed always on the outside looking in.”

In 1974, he did some soul searching to discover his next step forward and decided to explore hairdressing--but wasn’t sure if he had the talent. Carlos enrolled in the Vidal Sassoon Academy and spent a London winter, in a one room flat, with a shared bathroom down the hall and a hotplate that doubled as a stove and heater.

“Even though I had few comforts and often felt alone, I don’t think I have ever been happier,” Carlos says of this time. “This decision made me a firm believer that we need to take care of our needs first, love and accept ourselves, to be of better service to others. It starts by balancing our own energy first. My first day at the Sassoon Academy was mind-blowing for me; a woman with hair down to her waist walked out with a very short wedge—and she loved it. I knew I’d found my tribe.”

From this moment on, Carlos says, opportunities seemed to come due to being at right place at the right time. “I work hard for everything I’ve accomplished, but luck played a big role in my life, like meeting Dwight Miller, who ‘discovered’ me as a student in a beauty school in Tucson and unbeknownst to me, recommended me to Leo Passage, president of Pivot Point International. Leo called the school to offer me a position with the international artistic team. I moved to Chicago to work with Leo and instantly knew I had found my calling in beauty education.”

Carlos would travel worldwide teaching hairdressers technical and personal development skills. “Sharing what I have became the true purpose of my life, there is no other, no matter how I have tried  to spin it. I am not done, either. At 74, I am pieces of all the people I have met, taught and loved. Looking back, there have been no accidents in my life, just opportunities. Even my setbacks were realities I needed to face in order to become.”

 “I can’t say I would do anything differently…unless I could do everything differently. We create a path, a road, with choices we make daily, that eventually becomes our life’s work.”

A BEAUTY TIMELINE: Important Stops Along the Way

  • No doubt, having the courage to move to London from my small town in Mexico in 1974 was a turning point in my life. This decision made me a firm believer that we need to take of our needs first, love and accept ourselves, to be of better service to others. It starts by balancing our own energy first. 
  • A phone call from Leo Passage to my beauty school offering me a job. It was so unexpected that I thought it was a joke by another student calling from a pay phone. I told Leo to go take a hike—he laughed, and then I realized it was the real Leo!
  • Doing my first trade show with Pivot Point International, the Midwest Beauty Trade Show in 1975, only six months after graduating from beauty school. I was so nervous I actually had diarrhea the day of the show—but, I went onstage
  • The first time an audience got so excited about my work that they surrounded me asking questions, wanting to pose with me for photos and treating me like a celebrity. I had only graduated from beauty school a few months before and was like deer looking at headlights. Leo took me aside and said, “You must learn to share yourself with others, don’t be shy.”
  • A memorable standing ovation after a presentation in Paris in 1979  that was picked up by Paris newspapers. This, at a time when the French did not really have a high regard for American hairdressing.
  • Being the first hairdresser to visit China in 1979, soon after Richard Nixon had been to Beijing. Also front-page news worldwide.
  • Founding the Carlos Valenzuela Academy, a basic and advanced cosmetology academy in Scottsdale, AZ in 1983, with the best of everything I could find. The school always enjoyed a waiting list for registration,
  • Founding Cosmetologos Latinos/Americas Latino Beauty Show in 2004. A division of Cosmetologists Chicago and the experience of reaching out to Chicago Latino hairdressers to include them in mainstream hairdressing.
  • Founding the Latino Fashion Group, a fashion photo session group sponsored by Wella to promote Latino images in beauty and dispel stereotypical concepts of Latinos.
  • Founding Tesoro Beauty Boutique, a tiny salon on the border with Mexico offering high quality services, products and fashions to an underserved community.
  • Authoring, “Thrive Salon Professional Life Skills” a program focusing on the need for salon pros to prioritize personal self-care and wellness first to better serve others. #mefirst
  • Blogging for Modern Salon Online; the opportunity to learn how to observe, research, and write about topics from a hairdresser’s perspective is an ongoing pleasure that continues to give my career a whole new spin.
  • The moment when I felt secure enough to accept my life was about never holding onto anything, because whatever you give away, is always replaced by something better. Creativity take courage, and the day I embraced abundance and lost the fear of scarcity my creativity seemed to soar.     

Read Carlos’ blogs on modernsalon.com