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Meet Natasha Aquino of Hairbytashadawn in Glendale

Today we’d like to introduce you to Natasha Aquino.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My story becoming a hair artist started during the end of my senior year in high school. Graduation was around the corner and it was a bittersweet feeling, finally ending the horrors of high school but also starting a new journey into adulthood. To be honest, school was never my strong suit so figuring out my path was really stressing me out.

I really didn’t want to go to college because it wasn’t a place I personally felt I couldn’t succeed. I never liked being told what to do or how to learn. I knew growing up with strict parents that they weren’t going to let that fly. I needed a plan. I sat myself down and asked myself “what are you good at?’, and after a long time of thinking the only thing I could really think of was cosmetics.

From that day, I had a conversation with my parents and told them my plan. I wanted to go to beauty school first then start college after I finish (that’s what they wanted to hear). I was actually trying to avoid college altogether. To my surprise, my mother told me how she and my grandma had a small salon in the Philippines, nothing fancy, but it put a roof over their heads and food on the table. Considering it was in my blood, I took it as a sign. Three days after high school graduation, I attended “Paul Mitchell School of Beauty” in Sherman Oaks.

It was all uphill from there. My passion in hair seemed to have found me. I had a great time at Paul Mitchell with amazing people. School had its ups and downs but it was like no other. It was filled with creativity, freedom, and so much opportunity all at once. Something I feel I would be lacking if I attended traditional schooling. Everything felt like it was moving so fast. A year went by and I was finally graduating on to the next step. I was 18 and fresh out of beauty school eager to pass my licensing test and find a job assisting in a salon.

If I had to be honest, “luck” seemed to be the reason I got to where I am today. Don’t get me wrong, I do have a hustle and grind like no other, but for some reason when it came to doing hair I felt like I was always in the right place at the right time. My first assisting job presented itself after taking a haircutting class with this eccentric hairdresser named Tony Altieri. He had a very unconventional yet colorful personality. He told me “as soon as you pass your state board exam call me, you have a job.” I have no idea why he chose me out of all the students but it didn’t matter, I got a job!

Working at Altieri Brothers Salon was never a dull moment. I had coworkers of all personalities and the environment was always lively and fast-paced. For an eager and energetic 18 years old, it was perfect for me. I ended up assisting for 1.5 years and moved up to renting my own chair for about 3. I had exponential growth! I learned so much, met great friends, and made amazing memories. My time there was very well spent, but of course as time changes so do we. I wanted to move on to my next journey.

I am grateful for the opportunities that Altieri Brothers gave me. Working there had a great influence on who I am today. As I continue to mature, I wanted a place to call my own. A more private place where I am my own boss, call my own shots and move at my own pace. An old coworker and I decided to make the jump and rented a private studio at Phenix Salon Suites in Glendale, CA. I finally have a place to call my own and since that day, I never looked back. Everyday I come to work, I feel so accomplished to have my own business where I can ultimately be me and have my own clients that I built. I am proud that I didn’t conform to the traditional values of going to college and broke the cliche that you “have to get degree to be successful.”

Great, 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?
If I look at my journey as a whole, I can definitely say my struggles feel more like a roller coaster than an actual road. One of my main struggles is overcoming my self-doubt. My condensed story doesn’t mention the daily mental torture of feeling so accomplished one day and feeling like I made a horrible mistake the next. On the outside, I am your confident, funny, and positive hairdresser but on the inside I let my self-esteem get me down consistently comparing myself to others. Being in the creative industry you constantly battle your insecurities. There are days business isn’t well and I feel like I should have just gone to college, got a degree, and got a secure and stable job. If I have a client who isn’t fully happy with their hair I will beat myself up about it wondering why I even became a hairdresser in the first place. The thought of failing is a constant struggle that not everyone really gets to see. It’s easy for me to get blinded and dismiss my strengths and accomplishments. This is true even today. As I get older, I try to remind myself how far I’ve come. I always tell myself to look back at my dramatic moments where I thought my world was going to end and remember each time I made it through. Even though my self-doubt is a negative habit it is ironically also what pushes me to succeed.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am a hairdresser but I mostly specialize in hair coloring and color correcting. I am known for my fashion colors as well as my ash blonde ombres. I love doing color because of the dramatic before and after transformations. Hair color really gives people a boost of self-confidence they didn’t know they needed. Seeing my client walk in looking one way and watching them leave completely different is a rewarding feeling. Majority of my clients are in my chair for at least 6+ hours. I know it sounds crazy but I feel like that is what sets me apart from others. I don’t work myself like a factory and have multiple clients at one time. To be honest, working that way really stresses me out. I prefer to take my time as well as really get to know my client. What I am most proud of is the relationships I’ve built with my clients over the years. They even lasted longer than any boyfriends I’ve had. They are more than just clients to me. I am grateful they feel close enough to open the deepest parts of their life with me. I am lucky to be able to say I never go to work and “just do hair”.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Other than amazing hair color, I feel like my ability to talk and relate to my clients has been the most important to my success. I love talking with them and getting to know them. Most salons are very fast-paced and stylists usually work on multiple people at the same time. While there is nothing wrong with that, many of my clients that come from those salons complain that they are usually sitting bored for hours. Some stylists forget their clients are even there! I like to take my time with my work to achieve the best result I can during our sessions. Having a great connection not only makes time go faster but it also builds trust resulting in great hair!

Contact Info:

  • Address: Phenix Salon Suites
    100 S Artsakh Ave #119
    Glendale, CA 91205
  • Email: hairbytashad@yahoo.com
  • Instagram: @hairbytashadawn

Image Credit:
Main photo is taken by Nick Mastriola
1. Aliza Penola
2. Patricia Ramos
3. Gail- Ann Fernando
4. MJ Cananea

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