by Maria Koropecky
*** SCHOOL PROJECT ***
One week down, 28 to go and if this first week was any indication of the pace, my esthetics training is going to fly by.
I’m so excited to be at the Aveda Institute. I feel like this school is a great fit for my values and my personality because it goes far beyond superficial beauty and promotes green living and wellness.
This whole experience is reminding me of the time in my life when I was 10 years old when my family was living in Hawaii. Looking back on my life, I think this is where my interest in esthetics started, but it took me 30 years to connect the dots and notice the influence.
One of my classmates, Cari, started modeling with an agency called Barbazon and she invited three 20-something models to come to our school to talk about modeling as a career choice. I remember they used the word “blemish” a lot and someone finally raised their hand and asked, “What’s a blemish?” “A pimple,” they replied. “A pimple.” Oh.
From that talk, I really wanted to get into modeling too but that was a bit of a long-shot because there was nothing about me that said, “modelesque.” To put it mildly, I was quite a heavy, plain and shy girl.
But in my mother’s wisdom, she encouraged me anyway and found a class and signed me up. Every Saturday morning, I went to the Ala Moana Shopping Centre and learned how to walk runway style, how to stand with a smile as if in a beauty pageant, how to do my nails, style my hair and apply makeup etc, etc. My teacher’s name was Sonia C. Lugmao and I can still picture her sunny smile in my mind to this day. Our class also went to lunch to fancy restaurants in Honolulu and that’s where I was introduced to a classic French Onion Soup and yummy chocolate moose. It was a lovely class.
It also occurred to me this week that there are a couple of other similarities between my life as a 10 year old and my life as a 40 year old. I lived on an island in the Pacific then and I live on an island in the Pacific now. Also, after I graduated from my beauty class, I got into the habit of curling my hair every morning before school like Farah Fawcett. I coated the curls with a thick layer of hairspray on purpose so I could grab some hair at random and break the crispy glue over the course of the day. These days, I’m using a flat iron in the mornings to achieve a trendy look but I haven’t used hairspray in years. Also, in Hawaii, I went to a private Catholic school and we had to wear a uniform of a white shirt with the school’s crest and green striped skirt. At Aveda, we also have to wear only solid black and/or white clothes and eventually, once we get on the clinic floor, we’ll be getting an Aveda t-shirt and lab coat. Another uniform.
Everyone knows Hawaii is lush and beautiful beyond measure. We were blessed to have all kinds of plants growing near our house, like a generous lime tree (I didn’t appreciate my mother’s freshly-squeezed, no sugar added lime juice then but I sure would now), a leafy banana plant, and an orange Bougainvillea hedge near the pool. And juicy mangoes fell into our yard from the neighbour’s side. Everything was free for the plucking. Also in those days, taking care of the environment was not a concern for most of us but signs of pollution and a changing climate were starting to show up and be noticed. My first clue that something was out of whack was from the Plumeria tree. We had one on our property and the Hawaiians use the fragrant flower with loopy white petals for leis. Unfortunately, our tree was infested with tiny, gnat-like white flies that made the leaves and flowers sticky. Now, environmental stewardship and appreciation are part of my lifestyle.
It’s funny how our life paths unfold. As much as I’d like to write some more on this post, I have to get back to my studying — we have a quiz tomorrow.