Today we’d like to introduce you to Josie Napenas.
Josie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I have dreamt of becoming a hairstylist since the inception of my first Cabbage Patch Kid – I was 8 or 9 and “Alyssa” had long synthetic red hair. I was obsessed with creating new looks on her, though the styles were mostly variations of a braid. I suppose I envied my doll because she could wear her hair in ways I could not – I had the infamous 80’s bowl cut, and the most I could do with my hair was pin a barrette in it.
Along with my fascination with hair was my penchant for makeup! I remember growing up, secretly going into my mom’s makeup bag and painting my face with the wide array of colors I had at my fingertips. Of course, I was not allowed to wear makeup, so I batted my eyelashes and cherished the few minutes I had with it on before washing it all off.
Perhaps not being able to do anything with my locks or wear the color wheel on my face deterred me from pursuing my childhood dream – that and my parents telling me that I’d make more money working in Corporate America. I spent over 10 years working for Uncle Sam, and I decided to take a leap of faith and follow my true passions. So here I am, doing what I absolutely love and having a blast!
Has it been a smooth road?
I feel that not all chosen paths are smooth in the beginning. It takes time to get into a rhythm, and through trial & error, we learn what works and what doesn’t, what we like and don’t like. Challenges are what make us grow and become better at our craft, so I welcome them!
Have you ever wanted to stop doing what you do and just start over?
There have definitely been trying times in my newfound career where I questioned whether or not it was the right decision to change career paths. Having a bachelor’s degree in Business and working in an office environment for over 10 years where there was financial stability is a huge difference from not knowing how much I will make in a given week. The first 2 years of my hair/makeup career were the most difficult. I had to work doubly hard to prove that I was competent at my craft before I was moved onto the salon floor. However, I advanced quickly not only because of my extreme desire to succeed, but mainly because I love what I do! I believe that when you are passionate about something and you go after it with your whole heart, everything has a way of falling into place.
Let’s change gears – is there any advice you’d like to give?
The beauty industry is extremely competitive, but don’t let that discourage you from doing what you love! Be humble and open to critique — no one likes a know-it-all — there is always room to learn new techniques & trends. Practice, practice, practice! Whether it is on your friends, family or a doll-head…practice makes perfect or at least comes close to it! And don’t lose your passion…remember why you chose this profession, believe in yourself, and work hard!
Is there something you are particularly excited about or working towards?
Professionally, I am most excited to see where this road takes me. I would like to eventually rent my own salon suite, continue working as a freelance hair/makeup artist for weddings and photoshoots, and perhaps maybe get an ongoing gig doing hair/makeup for a fashion line or TV/film. I’ll go wherever the wind takes me! The world is my playground!
- Website: www.hairandmakeupbyjosie.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/hairandmakeupbyjosie
- Other: www.instagram.com/brides_and_maids_by_josie