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What year did you graduate and from what campus?

I graduated from the North campus in 2007

Why did you choose a career in cosmetology and why GJA?

I believe it is a recession proof career.  Even when times get rough, people want to look and feel confident and beautiful!

Why GJA?  I studied cosmetology at a local community college and saw a BT on my books as I was approaching graduation.  I began to panic thinking I was not confident enough in my work to do this. I decided that I needed the best training possible.  So I contacted Gene Juarez Academy and decided not to transfer my hours because I wanted to get the full education and experience.  I saw the talent that they were producing and wanted to be a part of that!

What are you currently doing and what other industry related experience do you have other than your current position?

I am currently the owner of Jenna Marie Salon in Mukilteo.  I work full time behind the chair plus run the business side of the salon.  I worked for L’Oreal Professional for over 5 years as an educator specializing in color and cutting techniques.  I also worked in another salon for 4 years before opening my salon.  I’ve worked in hair shows with LP and received training all over the country.  Education is one of my passions so my goal is to keep learning and growing in this industry and as a person.

How did your training with GJA prepare you for the industry and the work you are currently doing?

GJA gave me a strong foundation to begin working in the hair industry.  I was confident and professional form the moment I began in the salon.  I still use many of the same foundation techniques I learned at GJA and have added some of my own personal touches.  I believe the long hours and intense training provided at GJA prepares you well for the real salon environment.

What do you enjoy the most about your current position? What is your typical day like?

I love the freedom and creativity of doing hair while having fun and talking with my guests.  Your guests become some of your closest friends over the years.  I live for the indescribable feeling I get when I see the light in someone’s eyes when I have made them feel beautiful.  My typical day is 8-10 hours of styling, coloring, highlighting, cutting and creating beautiful styles for wonderful people.  My kids come in and say hello throughout the day and love to give my guests roses.

What is your fondest memory of GJA?

My fondest memory is of the career fairs.  I met the salon owner of the salon I worked for in the past at this event.  Also, being on the Academy Artistic Team taught me so much about color plus it was fun, challenging, exciting and rewarding.

What advice do you have for current students starting out in the program, and those getting ready to graduate?

My best advice for students in the program would be that this is an intense process but just keep pushing your way through and the education you receive is all worth it in the end!  When it gets challenging or trying, just remember it’s only a short amount of time and soon you will have one of the most exciting careers.

To those students about to graduate, my best advice is to remember you’re almost there!  This is where it gets very tough because you just want to be done but remember to participate in all the activities and really take in all the education and tips you can because you will be out in the salon world soon and everyone will be asking what you learned and what is new!  Always stay current in the trends and techniques.

What advice do you have for people that are interested in going to cosmetology school?

My advice for interested students would be to really decide what you’re looking for in a cosmetology program because salon owners do look at your credentials (the school you attend).  GJA produces the highest quality stylists with amazing work ethics which every salon owner wants to see.  I would also say to prepare yourself for intense training, but also, one of the most rewarding, fun and ever-evolving careers that allows you to be who you are and to be creative while making people feel beautiful!