To Top

Conversations with the Inspiring Susie Lauri

Today we’d like to introduce you to Susie Lauri.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I really got started as a child. I was cutting my dolls hair, styling my barbies and liked being surrounded by books, even though I didn’t know how to read them. As a teenager, while in high school, I took cosmetology classes at Cerritos Junior College because I needed more credits and it made it faster for me to get my cosmetology license.

I’ve been a hairstylist for over twenty-five years — and in the last few years, doing makeup as well. This has been a fantastic career for me to spread my wings and explore.

My husband, Steve, who I’ve been married to for 28 years, supports me one hundred percent. When not in the salon, I’m busy attending hair and makeup classes or out on location for photo shoots.

For personal development, I enjoy the PSI Advanced courses held at a ranch near Clear Lake, California and often volunteer as a group leader for PSI Basic seminars in Irvine.

Has it been a smooth road?
My journey has not been smooth, but that is what makes me strong!

In my past, I have experienced being bullied at work by other women. It was shocking to me to be threatened and be called profane names by other coworkers while attending to clients or when no one else was around. And at another salon, an owner was overly critical and degrading of my work when I started becoming more successful.

I used to pride myself on standing alone, but I realized it’s not effective in the big picture. I’ve come to realize that I have to let my guard down, to let the right people in.

During the 2017 OC Fashion Week – Moulin Rouge Master Stylist Competition, I had a different challenge. A large entrance fee was supposed to include a booth and station to work out of, for myself and my team: Tamara O’shell, Sarah McAdoo, Jean Chin, model — Julia Offenberger, however, that was not the case. The contest turned out to be a hair and makeup obstacle course (figuratively speaking)! Yet, we were the Glam Navy Seals, overcoming every challenge. I’m so proud of my team!

The Master Stylist Competition is part of OC Fashion Week’s opening day aboard the glamorous, Eternity Yacht in Newport Beach, California.

Here’s how it all went…

Sarah and I prepped Julia’s hair before the contest. It was a good thing too because we didn’t have access to electricity, as we were assigned to the bow of a moving yacht — no booth, no station, no mirror. I felt betrayed, but I refused to focus on that. After all, we had a contest to win!

Also, without electricity for a makeup light, which is vital for makeup artists, we had to count on the fleeting sunset — and soon, we would have no light at all.

When the sun went down, I asked Jean to turn on her iPhone flashlight. We were resilient. I felt like we were in The Hunger Games movie, lol! We’d get through one obstacle and then another one would appear.
We also had environmental factors working against us. It was windy, sun in our eyes (when we began), hot and humid — sticky. Plus, the deadline we were given to have our model ready for the competition kept changing, giving us less and less time.

At one point, we had all 8 hands prepping our model, Julia, who was wearing a corset costume underneath a robe. All at one time, we were pinning and holding her hair — that kept blowing on her face — with Tamara, applying eyelashes in the wind, which needed another pair of hands to hold them still.

Frank Chen (photographer) stated, “Tonight, I saw an amazing Fashion show aboard a yacht. What’s more amazing was Susie Lauri, Julia Offenberger and their team prepping in the dark for a competition, at the bow of a moving yacht, with lights from two iPhones.”

I must say, it was so exhilarating and exciting, the sound of cameras clicking and lights flashing all over the place. The five of us were magically synchronized and worked in unison. Words can not depict the high and the laser focus I felt during the chaos.

Finally, the competition began with clicking cameras and flashing lights surrounding Julia as she walked the Runway for all eyes to see. I was so proud of her. And despite all the craziness, we won!

My most challenging obstacle and heart-wrenching experiences of my life, however, was overcoming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which came out full throttle in my thirty’s, from experiencing violent traumas as a child.

Even though I had been diagnosed with PTSD later in life, I realized I was blessed by it because it made me push myself harder than I ever dreamed I could. I became resilient — and my faith in God strengthened. I felt His presence to help me through it. I knew I wasn’t alone.

Also, I know how to relate to and help people who are suffering.

My husband never left my side. Our lives were shaken upside down, but it also bonded us. My life felt like a freak show but I was still able to function and work part-time in the salon. And when I could, I took one or two classes a semester at Saddleback Community College.

I was embarrassed to go out in public because I never knew if I was going to get triggered and have a horrifying flashback from my childhood. Since I had PTSD and was easily distracted and had difficulty concentrating, Saddleback College allowed me to take my tests in private and gave me more time to take them. I recorded my classes which helped me to understand better the second time around. Going to college was a great outlet which helped me to concentrate better and I feel good about my education.

Most of the time, I felt like I was on a battlefield of a terrorizing war, exhausted and emotionally bleeding in a suffocating ditch, trying to climb out. I often thought the best relief from my suffering would be dead, but never acted on it. Even though, I still got dressed up for work and did my best. I was living two lives. At times, I had to reschedule my clients for another day. And, I still had clients making appointments with me.

I share this part of my life with you because we don’t have to give up on our dreams when a season (or seasons) in our life is rudely interrupted.

In fact, as the time went on, it got to the point where I’d wake up in the middle of the night, terrorized, screaming and crying because of a flashback nightmare and my husband would assure me I was safe, and then I would get myself grounded and realize I was at home. We would both say, “It’s another night at the Lauri’s”, and clap our hands at the same time (like Richard Dreyfus in the movie, What About Bob) and then go back to bed, sometimes laughing — and then wake up to a new day. We don’t have to be perfect to live our dreams. Keep going!

The best advice I want to give women is to invest in yourself! No one can take away what you learn. Next, pay attention to what gives you energy and what depletes your energy, and make adjustments. Your thoughts are powerful because you will attract what you believe. I highly recommend attending PSI Women’s Leadership Seminar (WLS) words can not adequately describe my phenomenal 9-day experience. WLS is a catalyst to move women to the next level in leadership, relationships, and career.

I also experienced the value of trusting women and how much more successful we are together than alone because everyone brings their own talents to the table which could not be have been possibly done single-handedly. Also, I was able to see my blind spots that I didn’t know I had which was very humbling. However, I feel more free and powerful than I ever have in my life!

I encourage all women to embrace change and to challenge yourself — moving, connecting, creating and to live the life you want and the world will adjust.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Susie Lauri Hair & Makeup Artist story. Tell us more about the business.
I’ve been in the beauty industry for over 25 years. I am a hair and makeup artist. I specialize in beauty makeovers, glamour makeup, balayage, hair color, cutting, and styling. I work in Corona Del Mar at Christopher & Company Salon II. I rent a beautiful station there, feel at home and I love it! It’s important to me to work in an environment that I am respected and feel creative in.

Twice a month, the salon receives DVD’s from New York Fashion Week that runs all day. It’s very clean, has specialized dryers for balayage (doesn’t blow heat, so it doesn’t dry out lightener) and is the most efficiently-run salon I’ve worked in. It’s a full-service salon, so my clients get the pampered vibe; no children are allowed in the salon.

Christopher and Sheila Doostmard have been the salon owners for 29 years — with 60 renters. On Fridays, Christopher cuts up a block of cheese with a side of fresh fruit, and Saturday mornings, he has muffins for all the renters (entrepreneurs).

You can call me old-fashioned, but I love working in an atmosphere where profanity is not tolerated from those who work there “because there are ladies present.”

Recently, I was so excited to be selected as the Spotlight Artist for hair and makeup in New Face Model Magazine, 2018 April issue; editor-in-chief, Chele Sellman.

What sets me apart from others…

I am an avid learner. I ask Jesus to partner with me in everything I do. Being able to do both hair and makeup, is an asset to photographers and designers. I also have experience leading and putting hair and makeup teams together for fashion shows, photographers and recently weddings. And lastly, I’m certified in balayage (hair painting), which is a very unique skill. It requires patients to master because there is a learning curve and many give up before it’s beautifully learned.

NFMM Artist Spotlight April 2018, Cover (MuaH) New Face Model Magazine Dec. 2017, Avant Garde Magazine, Pump Magazine, Inspire Hair Fashion For Salon Clients (2 Books), Beau Nu Magazine, Gilded Magazine, Portrait Photo Awards 6th Collection of Photographers Around the World, Estela Magazine, Elegant Magazine, People’s Choice Photo Awards, Clarks Magazine, and SDVoyager, Runwayz, and En Vie Magazine.

Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist for a diverse clientele as well as for commercial and print production, Photo Shoot Coordinator and Producer; LA Fashion Week, Fashion Shows; Beauty Blogger; OC Fashion Week Master Stylist Competition winner 2017.

– Academy of Makeup Artistry CAMMUA
– Vidal Sassoon Hair Academies in both London and Santa Monica
– Toni & Guy Advanced Academy
– SOHO Academy for Balayage Certification
– Fullerton State University Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, Magna Cum Laude
– PSI Graduate (PSI Basic, PSI 7 and Women’s Leadership Seminar)
– CTM Toastmaster

What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
In general, and in the beauty industry I work in, I would say trust is an issue. I have seen a lot of backstabbing.

However, the “Me Too” movement has empowered women to stand together and we are being heard. As women, we have more in common than we don’t have in common. We all want to be loved, successful, healthy, happy and feel important. And at some point, most of us have experienced the deepest pains we could have ever imagined possible. No one gets out of life unscathed; either experiencing it personally or someone you love experiencing it, it effects you — addiction, severe hardship, divorce, terminal illness, abusive childhood, harassment, suicide, death of a loved one, rejection, betrayal, etc.

Offering a supportive hand to another woman, while she is down causing a renewing and cascading effect on her and others around her. The seedbed in the community begins to change. And when women are rising to the top of success they need to be celebrated, not excluded and penalized. That same woman advancing can pass the baton along to others and rise with her.

I was really surprised when I told some women that I was going on a Women’s Leadership Seminar, many of them said they wouldn’t want to be around that many women, and could not handle being on a bus with them.

At one point, I stopped wanting to share my excitement with so many people because of the negative energy. I was being criticized for wanting more for my life. One lady, asked, “Are you sure it’s going to take?” I replied, yes, “I know it’s going to take because I give it all I got.”

My husband and other people supported me and were excited to hear about my trip. I love positive energy and being around people who “get it.”

A few years ago, I went to an Eden Sassoon (Vidal Sassoon’s daughter) charity event Beauty Gives Back — to raise money for The Thirst Project. Eden said, “notice there is only 1 female leader Sonya Dove on stage with all the other men; we need more female leaders! I thought she is right.

Favorite books, apps or podcasts:
– PSI Events App
– PSI Podcast
– Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality by Henry Cloud
– Path to Liberty by Thomas D. Willhite
– The Message by Eugene H. Peterson
– Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
– The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
– How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
– Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
– T.D. Jakes Podcast

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Tawny Horton, Jose Landeros, Larry White, Ellen Luong, Frank Chen, Rick Rowel

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in