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Life & Work with Heleena Stamaris

Today we’d like to introduce you to Heleena Stamaris.  

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
Growing up, my hair was a huge part of my identity. I had long natural platinum hair that everyone always told me they would die to have. My immediate family also loved hair! My aunt was a hairstylist, and my mom really enjoyed trying out a bunch of different styles on me. I didn’t get my first big haircut until the middle of elementary school, and before it was chopped off, it had grown down to my butt! I remember feeling a new sense of identity when I got it cut, and I was always obsessed with making sure my hair was looking as nice as possible. In middle school, I went from about mid back to a pixie cut, which really didn’t look great on me looking back at it, but when I was that young, I gained an unbelievable amount of confidence from that cut. I really felt like I was representing who I was at the time. High school came around, and I had grown my hair out! I joined the performing arts where we had to do a variety of hairstyles for different performances. I had a couple of friends ask me to do their hair, and I really fell in love with styling then. I was always pressured by peers and family to get a “real” job, so I went to UCF for a year and majored in Psychology and Elementary Education. As much as I loved learning about the mind and learning to teach, something just did not feel right. I became super burnt out and was unsure of what my future was going to look like. I started working full-time at a resort over this past Summer and once again started getting burnt out by doing things I didn’t love doing. I started looking for another job and realized that the hair salon I had been going to since middle school was hiring people to work the front desk. I realized that my passion had been in front of my face this whole time and that cosmetology was what I wanted to do! I ended up getting hired and am still working there. I have loved gaining experience on salon management and seeing how everything works! I think that environment may scare potential cosmetologists away, especially depending on the salon, but working in a salon has helped me fall in love with hair more! I have toured a couple of cosmetology schools and recently got accepted into Paul Mitchell the School which is where I really want to go! Despite how pricey it can be, I have been doing my best to save up money to be able to go through picking up shifts at work, selling and parting ways with some belongings, and babysitting kids into the late hours of the night (only to wake up early to open the salon the next day). It is definitely a lot of hard work trying to achieve my goal of going to cosmetology school, and I may have to wait a bit longer than I’d like to attend, but I am willing to do whatever it takes to do what I think will make me happy. 

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has definitely been a struggle to get where I am now. I didn’t know what I wanted to do for the longest time. In high school, I wanted to be a journalist, then a music educator, then in marketing. Once I got to college, I wanted to do psychology, then elementary education. The issue was that even though I wanted to do these things, they weren’t things I were too passionate about, and that really hurt me because I felt like a failure for not knowing what I wanted to do. I stopped taking classes at college because of this, and it made me sad knowing everyone else had an idea in mind of what they wanted to do and are going to pursue it. Up until I figured out, I was really passionate about cosmetology, motivation and passion was my biggest struggle. Now, I am struggling with trying to get to cosmetology school as soon as I can. I did get accepted to my desired school, but it is going to take a while to get money to be able to actually go! That’s where I’m at right now! 

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Right now, as I wait to go to school, I have been spending tons of time in the salon I work at and practicing on my boyfriend’s hair at home (he has super long hair, so it’s great for practice). While I do spend most time at work answering calls, I am blessed to have stylists at the salon who enjoy teaching me. Any questions I have, they answer! I have so much fun watching them do services and explain to me all the different formulas, tricks, and procedures. I think what sets me apart in my workplace is mainly that I want to attend cosmetology school. I love my coworkers and am so proud of them for pursuing degrees at their colleges! However, I am the only one planning on studying cosmetology. I am in no way any better than the girls I work with, but I think our perspectives on the job are different. They are there to work, get paid, meet people, and gain experience in different aspects of work. I am there to do the same things but am also there to learn behind-the-scenes work and use the job to my advantage as a stepping stone into cosmetology! I am most proud of my development in confidence since I started working at the salon, and I think I have my other front desk associates to thank since they did so well training me and cheering me on through everything. I have definitely overcome some social anxiety, and I am very proud of myself for that! 

What are your plans for the future?
I am planning on going to Paul Mitchell the School for cosmetology, part-time while I continue to work at the salon! I am looking forward to getting licensed and starting to make a name for myself while learning more about and practicing what I enjoy. In the far future after all that, I definitely would like to be dual licensed in esthetics or nails! 

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