Scholarship Winner Spotlight: Lissette Reyes

Lissette Reyes

Q&A with Fall 2022 scholarship winner, Lissette Reyes

Our Fall 2022 scholarship winner, Lissette Reyes, talked with us about her cosmetology program – from choosing her program to finding financial aid and her career goals.

Our $2,500 Beauty and Wellness Professionals Scholarship is awarded twice each year.

1. What inspired you to pursue beauty as a career?

My mom had studied cosmetology and everything beauty when she was in her teens living in Mexico. She can’t practice in the states so she would always teach me how to do my hair. I was curling my own hair at a young age and getting small highlights since the 3rd grade. My mom would sit down and try different hairstyles on me and cut my own hair and I was always excited. One thing that will always stick with me is one day I was curling her hair and she told me I had the hands of a hairstylist because of how I naturally held my hand tools. I grew up in a household that admired beauty and self expression through hair and makeup. I have now found the courage to learn and grown my skills in order to help others be able to express themselves.

2. Tell us more about how you chose your school. Why did you pick the cosmetology program? What were some of the most important factors your considered?

I chose the cosmetology program because I am able to learn a various amount of different services other than just nails which is my current interest. I feel like this gives me more options and opens the door for more opportunities in different realms of beauty. I came across Empire Beauty School on Google and saw the work customers had gotten and some reviews from former students who are now licensed cosmetologists. All in all I loved the work I saw and booked a tour. When considering a school I wanted to go somewhere I felt welcomed with positive energy and Empire was just that. I loved how you can see everyone including the educators had their own style and were able to express themselves which I admire.

3. How do you like your program? What are you learning in cosmetology school? What are your classes like? Your instructors?

So far I love my school and they have exceeded my expectations. For example, when starting I thought I already knew everything about nails since I've been doing my own for a few years now but there are so many new techniques that I've learned and am excited to master. My educator has been in the industry for 30+ years and is able to share her experiences and expertise with us. It is barely my second month and she is already teaching us how to think like a business woman/man, and is preparing us for real life scenarios through her experiences.

Throughout our module we are able to work and practice on our classmates and at the end we can bring models. I believe this is a key factor that is helping myself and other students to be more social and learn how to communicate with clients. I’m excited to go out onto the salon floor and work on our guests at the end of our modules. I truly feel like my class and I are going to be prepared to take on the salon floor as a true cosmetologist.

4. How long is your cosmetology program? What is your plan after you complete your program?

My cosmetology program here in Arizona is 1,600 hours, equivalent to 11 months, as a full time student. My plan for success is to start putting my name out there while I am still in school and start to build a clientele early on. I want to be licensed as soon as I hit my full hours to then get a suite for myself and further build my career. My end goal is to not only build my dream career but also help people feel beautiful within themselves and help them be able to showcase their personal style with the help of my skills and services.

5. What are your future career goals after getting licensed? Where do you hope to be in 10 years?

My goal is to be my own boss and have a team of my own. I want to be able to have a work place where everyone is appreciated and acknowledged. In my 22 years of work experience I learned what to do and not to do to your employees. Therefore, I want a shop where it doesn’t feel like work, where we all come together and share our own creativeness and art. I also want to develop others to grow and find their true purpose. I imagine a shop where it’s not limited to just one thing, I want everything from hair to skin, nails, natural to glam. To top it off I want it to be inclusive to everyone regardless of how they identify, I want it to be a safe space of self-expression

6. What does winning this scholarship mean for you and your cosmetology career?

I recently left my job of 3 years due to the lack of work life balance. I feel like I didn't have the relationship with my family that I wanted because of it. My parents listened and understood that for my mental health I wanted to take a break from work and pursue my cosmetology career. They believe in me and my future career and have helped me financially by taking out a loan to pay for school. They came here with nothing from Mexico, and yet have always provided for my siblings and I no matter what it meant for them financially. This scholarship really is a huge blessing because it is helping reduce that financial burden. My goal is to finish paying off my loan and the loan my parents took out for me and this scholarship is putting me one step closer. I want to be successful in my career where I can retire my parents in a way to thank them for everything they’ve done for me.

7. How did you hear about the Beauty Schools Directory scholarship? Did you apply to more scholarships? What tips do you have for future students seeking financial aid support for their education?

I saw the Beauty School Directory scholarship when I was researching cosmetology scholarships. I am currently applying to more scholarships that my fellow classmates and my school's financial advisor have informed me about. I believe building connections with others in the same career path as you also helps since you can share different resources with each other. Beauty Schools Directory also has a financial aid tab with beauty students scholarships which makes them easy to find. My advice to future students is to not be afraid of the outcome of the scholarships, just be yourself, share your story because you lose every shot you don't take. I wish the best of luck and success to future students in the beauty industry and thank you to Beauty School Directory for this opportunity.

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