Deloux School of Cosmetology was the name of my beauty school, with locations that spanned from Santa Barbara to San Diego, California. Unfortunately, the FBI closed Deloux back in 1992 due to ‘alleged’ federal student loan fraud. I graduated, thank God, in 1990 when everything seamed rosy. How I ended up in beauty school is a pretty funny story due to mother’s evangelical authoritarianism ( if that’s even a word).
During the summer of my junior year of high school and twilight of my seventeen birthday, my parents decided they were over each other and filed for divorce. At this point, my parent’s were less hands on with me and more ‘hand’s off my property’. Equal distribution of assets’, by the way, excludes seventeen year olds; and I was the youngest of five.
With all the shuffling around, I ended up in Detroit enrolled in a brand new high school that greeted me with metal detectors, an armed guard and picture I.D’s, I had no idea Motown. The one thing Detroit had going for it was that I stayed with my favorite aunt, auntie Jeanie, and she had no idea I was sneaking out at night to flirt with the boy across the street..fun times:) (more about him later).
After all the legal dust had settled in Virginia, I was able to return home to begin my senior year but unbeknownst to me, I didn’t start my senior year alone. What I thought was the stomach flu so horrible my mother had to take me to the emergency room, turned out to be a different kind a flu. This flu had a gestational period of nine months and required all the things that an eighteen year-old doesn’t have; money, maturity, a spouse, did I mention money?!!!
As strange as it may have seem in my little prepubescent mind, I was extremely happy, even though having a child meant the end of my dream of going to the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and becoming a fashionista. I had been to New York, I had seen my future (in my head) and it was very Sex In The City..ish before the show even existed, after all it was 1986.
Having a child focused me in a way that I didn’t expect, all I could think of was how I was going to support her, because I had no interest in being anyone’s stereotype or statistic. So, the first item on my agenda was to finish school and graduate from Mt Vernon High School in Alexandria, Virginia, even-though they handed me my hat half-way through my third trimester. I don’t blame the school, actually, I thank them, the county of Fairfax paid for home tutors for the rest of the year and I graduated on-time and at the top my class no less; so there. Guess who was there at my graduation, smacking their lips in anticipation of her next feeding, baby Christina, two months old and starving. No time for pictures with friends, I grabbed my diploma, excited the stage, threw my hat in the air and headed for the lady’s room to breastfeed my new baby the remainder of the milk that hadn’t leaked through my pretty in pink dress.
I wouldn’t necessarily say having my daughter totally ended my dream of being a fashion extraordinaire. It just looked a little different in my dream than it did in reality. After moving back to California, my childhood home, I really began to ponder my future as a mother with no forseeable means of supporting my child. I looked into Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising but it was very expensive. It didn’t help that when I tried to present the idea to my mother, she misunderstood me to mean, modeling school, which in her mind seemed sketchy and could lead to prostitution. Did I mention my mother was evangelical?. After a few conversations with my childhood hairstylist, Mrs. Pecolia Vance, I began to consider cosmetology.
Mrs. Vance, had been my personal hairstylist since I was in the 3rd grade, she gave me my first relaxer (more on relaxers after the break). She was very well know and respected in the East San Diego community; and remains to this day. Mrs. Pecolia exalted the virtues of cosmetology including; the fashion connection (hair & fashion are interrelated), financial freedom, unlimited earning potential, flexibility and artistic autonomy. Mrs. Vance knew I was more interested in going to school for fashion so she thought hair would be a great way to pay my way through college. She spot on, I enrolled in Deloux school of cosmetology within weeks and was off to the races.
Check back later for Pt.2 of my beauty industry story; I discuss the beauty industry pioneers whose salon’s I’ve had the pleasure of working in and their contributions to my success. Also, my stint as a manager of a chain salon and owner of my own salon….stay tuned:):)