What year did you graduate and from what campus?
I graduated from the GJA North Campus in 2006.
Why did you choose a career in cosmetology and why GJA?
My choice to become a member of the cosmetology field was based on my life growing up. I have always loved doing hair and making people feel great! The long term relationships that I built because of this industry are undeniable! I chose GJA because I grew up in the northwest and the legacy of this company and the name alone provided a foundation for success! I still feel that Gene Juarez gave me all the tools to live my dreams.
What are you currently doing now and what other industry related experience do you have other than your current position?
I have been very fortunate in my career. After six years at Gene Juarez Bellevue as a designer and member of the Artistic team creating all of the advertising for our great company, I took a leap of faith and let it all go to move across the country to Miami. This led to living my wildest dream! I am now represented by the Wilhelmina Creative division nation wide. Meaning that I work as a freelance hair and make up artist doing photo shoots around the country for companies like Maggie Sottero Bridal, Johnson & Murphy Shoes, Sears, Kohl’s, JcPenny’s and so on. As a matter of fact I am always traveling and sitting in an airport now with all of my tools getting ready to go to another shoot. It is a lot of hard work but worth all of the sacrifice and time!
How did your training with GJA prepare you for the industry and the work you are currently doing?
Most of all, my training with GJA provided me with a doorway to greatness. I once was told by an instructor that if I took a leap of faith and just listen and did what I was told I would create success for myself. Although it was hard work and sometimes hard to be humble it was true.
What do you enjoy the most about your current position? What is your typical day like?
I love meeting new people and models all over the United States! I will say that my day today specifically was a total of twenty five wedding dresses and six different hair changes over a twelve hour work day to create videos for a bridal company. I am now flying red eye to my next job this weekend. Every job is different and from day to day I do not know what I am doing next until my agent books me. So I guess my life is a compete adventure!
What is your fondest memory of GJA?
My fondest memory of GJA is by no doubt my first beauty school teacher, Jennifer Still! This woman has not only been through a lot in her life but she taught me with love and dedication! I am still close to her today and I will always be grateful for what I learned and where I came from!
What advice do you have for current students starting out in the program, and those getting ready to graduate?
If you are just starting, be creative! Listen carefully, create fully, bend but don’t break the rules, and most of all be consistent! Attend classes always; never ever say no. Believe in yourself if you are about to enter the real world! Go get more education; always learn. Choose Gene Juarez to work for and stay there until you have a client base that makes you feel like you’ve succeeded. Then, my friend, blow up and become even bigger than you once thought you could. This career and process will no doubt change your life!
What advice do you have for people that are interested in going to cosmetology school?
If you are interested in going to Cosmetology school, do it now! If you think it is an easy way out, you are wrong. Get ready to work hard, be challenged, and question yourself a lot! This is no joke, hairdressers are smart, driven people who take it seriously. If you believe in your goals, then work hard to make them real.
Anything else that you’d like to add to your story as a Featured Graduate?
If any of you would like to follow me on Instagram, my name is @jonathonlevipowell or Facebook it is Jonathon Levi Powell. I love to support other artists and watch them grow.