Student Spotlight: Isabella Yunen
Isabella Yunen graduated from our Santa Monica TONI&GUY Hairdressing Academy earlier this month. Although she is graduating with the same degree as the rest of her classmates, Isabella’s story is unique.
Unlike most of Isabella’s classmates, she didn’t simply find the cosmetology school closest to her home or move to a new state to attend the school of her choice. She traveled halfway across the world, thousands of miles from her home to attend the TONI&GUY Hairdressing Academy.
Isabella, 22, came to the United States from the Dominican Republic after graduating from college in May 2015. After graduation, her father had given her the option to travel to anywhere in the world. She comes from a family of doctors who believe in doing what you love, but they also believe you have to study whatever passion you choose to pursue. With that, Isabella instantly knew where she wanted to go.
She had researched various hairdressing companies years before at the direction of her boss at the salon she works at in the Dominican Republic and had found that she identified most with TONI&GUY. When it was time to make a decision on where to continue her career path, she did more research and was once again drawn to the culture and cutting edge style of TONI&GUY.
Isabella explained that what she liked most about the brand is the ever-changing and ever-evolving styles and constant growth in fashion and education.
“I feel like TONI&GUY is always up to date with what’s going on outside,” she said. “Their collections are always up to date. They have a lot of personality. You can always identify with one of the girls in every collection.
She had traveled to the east coast a number of times and she wanted to try something new and see an unfamiliar place, so she chose the TONI&GUY academy in Santa Monica.
As an already established self-taught makeup artist at a salon in the Dominican Republic, Isabella decided that she wanted to pursue hairdressing school to learn the tricks of the trade of hairdressing.
Isabella has been doing makeup professionally since she was 16 years old. She chose not to go to a makeup school since she felt that there weren’t many new skills she could gain that she couldn’t find on Youtube or Instagram. However, she didn’t have any formal training in haircutting, colour or styling.
She comes from a region where hair is viewed as the most important part of a woman’s appearance, so she understands the importance of good hair for both the client and the stylist.
“I’ve traveled to a lot of places, I’ve seen different cultures and I still stick to what I’m saying that Latin America is the biggest hair industry,” she noted. “It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity to have your hair done.”
Initially, she wanted to train in hairdressing so that she could educate the hairdressers working at the salon she hopes to own one day. But she changed her tune once she started the hairdressing program at TONI&GUY.
“I thought I didn’t want to do hair I just wanted to know it,” she explained. “But now I actually want to be hands on everyday.”
Isabella’s reason for attending cosmetology school is also unique. Her end goal was not to get a license like most students, but to learn as much as she possibly could to take back home with her. Since the Dominican Republic does not require a cosmetology license to do hair or makeup, it wasn’t Isabella’s main objective when choosing to attend beauty school.
“I don’t even need a license, I just want to have the TONI&GUY education,” she noted. “I’m very grateful and I want to take everything that TONI&GUY has given to me and take it back home.”
Now that Isabella has graduated, she has high hopes for the future. Her appreciation and admiration for the TONI&GUY brand has grown even stronger since starting at the academy and she plans to continue her relationship with the company.
“Hopefully in a few years I’ll even try to make something work with the company because I really like how they manage their industry and how they manage their work.”
She explained that she would love to open a TONI&GUY salon in the Dominican Republic, but that might be a little ways down the road since she is only 22 and doesn’t feel she has the ability to take on that large of a challenge just yet.
To her knowledge, she is the first Dominican to receive a cosmetology degree from TONI&GUY, but she hopes that she won’t be the last.