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Conversations with Samantha Pasaye

Today we’d like to introduce you to Samantha Pasaye.

Hi Samantha, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I am first generation, my parents are from Michoacán, Mexico. I’m the youngest of two. I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. I grew up in MacArthur Park and went to school in Boyle Heights. When I was 13, my parents decided to move To San Bernardino. Growing up, I wanted to be a fashion designer, there was no Plan B for me. My senior year, my favorite teacher told me “That’s a rich kid’s dream”. I was heartbroken. I applied to Fashion School and the day of my interview the lady told me I didn’t look like a designer because my hair wasn’t funky colors or dressed outrageous, once again so disappointed. I decided to not go and was so lost. That same year the market crashed so my family and I moved back to Los Angeles. My mom suggested Beauty School since I loved make up so much. Once there, I realized I wasn’t going to learn much makeup but I was fascinated by hair chemistry. I got my license and got a retail job to start paying off my loans. My friend Genessa who was the receptionist of the beauty school I went to kept calling me about a nail salon in Beverly Hills where she just started working. I hated doing nails so I kept saying no. I eventually gave in and went to check it out. At that time, nail art was starting to take off. I didn’t know much about nails besides the basics but I was fascinated by the true art the other girls working there could do. I got hired and the first few weeks, I’d go home and do my nails 3-5 times and play around with the brushes and art to see what I could do.

A year or so later, I became the training manicurist there. One day two of my friends proposed we leave and do our own thing. I never thought of owning a business, all I knew was you go to work and go home. It was a little scary but mainly exciting. We found a space in Beverly Hills and it was just perfect. At the time, I didn’t have many clients so I took a personal assistant job with one of my clients a few days a week to make sure I could pay rent. I started posting on Instagram and making sure I was doing everything I could to fill my chair. Then one day, I got the idea to reach out to other businesswomen who inspired me and were just like me, young Latinas chasing their dreams. I just wanted to relate to someone and see that it would be okay one day. There were a lot of ups and downs but slowly but surely through word of mouth and Instagram, I was able to focus solely on doing nails. Being on my own has allowed me to do so much from set work to charity work. This year for the first time, my books are closed entirely for the year, two months in advance and it makes me so emotional. The things I’ve accomplished today I never would’ve even dreamed of and I know there’s more to come. I’m so grateful for my community, my family, my boyfriend, my friends and clients.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There was a lot of ups and downs because I didn’t know what I was doing when it came to running a business. It was all trial and error. Being in a creative field, it’s sometimes hard to explain to people that’s what you do for a living without it being minimized specially “just nails”. But I love what I do and I will continue to work hard and keep learning, the industry is constantly changing.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
My specialty is nail art. I loooooove that nail art has allowed me to bring all the things I loved about fashion and makeup into one, details and shading are everything. If someone shows me a picture and I don’t know if I can pull it off or not that’s when I know I get excited. My proudest moments have to be being included in Latino Heritage Month events to do manicure because my community is the reason why I’m here. As far as what sets me apart, I think it’s just being relatable, I’m just someone’s kid who decided to chase their dream and is taking up space in a city where we can sometimes feel intimidated or out of place.

What does success mean to you?
Success to me is when I can afford to take care of my parents and tell them they made the right choice to leave everything behind and come to a country they knew nothing about.

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