Stylist Spotlight

Beauty Changes Lives Announces 2017 Leo Passage Scholarship Winners

March 29, 2018 | 9:34 AM
Megan Vargas, Root Salons, Greater Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minn.
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Elizabeth (Liz) Barajas, Quattra Via Aveda Salon and Spa, Oceanside, Calif.
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Fallyn Mireaut, Salon Raleigh, Chapel Hill, N.C.
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Dareece Darden, The Cottage Salon, Durham, N.C.
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Adrian de la Parra, Bellus Academy, San Diego, Calif.
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Five of the nation’s most talented young barbers and hairstylists will take center stage during the sixth annual Beauty Changes Lives Experience at America’s Beauty Show, on April 29, 2018, in Chicago. The Leo Passage Scholarship is a national competition providing promising barbers and hairstylists with one to five years’ experience, with an immersive professional development experience during the nation’s most celebrated professional beauty gathering.

Barbers and hairstylists selected as 2017 Leo Passage Winners are as follows:

Elizabeth (Liz) Barajas, Quattra Via Aveda Salon and Spa, Oceanside, Calif.
Liz served as a U.S. Marine before transitioning to civilian life and following her life-long dream of becoming a hairstylist. While her experience in the military helped develop skills of fortitude, Liz says the beauty industry truly freed her from fear. A wife, mother and licensed hairstylist, Liz says, “Beauty opened my heart and my mind, while giving me a sense of confidence I didn’t have before.” Remarking on how beauty has changed her life, Liz says, “I’m no longer scared of failure – I view it as a learning experience.”

Dareece Darden, The Cottage Salon, Durham, N.C.
Dareece views her career behind the chair as a platform to help women feel brave, bold and beautiful. Working backstage at runway shows and editorial shoots provides Dareece with a sense of energy and satisfaction that comes from helping a creative team achieve an end goal. “The beauty industry has changed my life and encouraged me to help clients find their own personal beauty,” says Dareece. The industry has also had an impact on her family life. “This amazing career is living proof for my kids to see that you really can make your dreams come true.”

Adrian de la Parra, Bellus Academy, San Diego, Calif.
As a barber, hairstylist and educator, Adrian enjoys the creative possibilities that exist in the beauty industry. “The beautiful thing about this business is that you can always change and grow,” he says. “You are not defined by your job.” Adrian is passionate about lifelong learning. In 2016, he was honored with the Beauty Changes Lives Vidal Sassoon Advanced Professional Beauty Education Scholarship. “Beauty allows you to imagine a career less ordinary,” says Adrian.

Fallyn Mireaut, Salon Raleigh, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Fallyn says she couldn’t agree more with Leo Passage’s statement, “Education is always in my blood. She notes that the more she learns, the more she wants to learn even more about her craft. “The education and tools PivotPoint provides have changed my life and helped mold me into the artist I’ve become,” she notes in her application video. Beauty continues to change Fallyn’s life as she improves her craft through education. “Beauty continues to keep me motivated and wanting to make the world a better place,” she says.

Megan Vargas, Haus Salon, Greater Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minn.

Megan credits the beauty industry with giving her the freedom to leave the corporate world at age 30 and redefine success on her own terms. “Beauty has changed my life and given me the freedom to step out of my comfort zone, channel my strength and be creative,” says Megan. She adds that she is not the only person to benefit from her career in beauty. “Beauty has given me a sense of confidence that I get to pass along to my daughter,” Megan says.

Each of the 2017 Leo Passage Scholarship winners will receive an all-expense paid trip to Chicago to display their creative talent on stage at the 2018 Beauty Changes Lives Experience at the Art Institute of Chicago. Working with mentors from Pivot Point International’s Creative Education team, winners will create cohesive image portfolios and glean insights from some of the industry’s most accomplished leaders. Winners will work as a team to create a provocative runway presentation that interprets the theme “Exposed”.

Applicants were selected by a judging panel comprised of nationally recognized industry professionals who evaluated three examples of each applicant’s work as well as a three-minute video addressing the question, “How does beauty change lives.”

Remarking on the winners, Robert Passage, CEO of Pivot Point International, stated, “The individuals selected to receive this honor represent the spirit of the beauty industry and Pivot Point. Their applications reflect a keen passion for education, creative curiosity and pride in our amazing industry.”

Beauty Changes Lives Foundation President Lynelle Lynch said the scholarship provides an opportunity for young barbers and hairstylists to network with industry leaders and influencers. “This scholarship provides winners with an extraordinary opportunity to cultivate professional contacts and garner industry exposure early in their careers,” Lynch said. “The Beauty Changes Lives Foundation is humbled by the generous investment the Passage family has made to support the next generation of barbering and beauty professionals.”

BCL/Leo Passage Scholarship winners’ application videos may be viewed at The Beauty Changes Lives Experience on April 29, 2018 will be held at the Art Institute of Chicago. Tickets are available at

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