We love good people who love the industry, value education and aren’t afraid to put in the hard work.  We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Cynthia Valdez is kinda a badass kids! We wanted to know how exciting it felt to be on the panel at Beacon only a short while after she was a student in that same room. Here’s her story…

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It all all started 3 years ago when I was a regular cosmetology student with hopes, dreams and determination. As a student back then of Paul Mitchell the School Austin I wanted to make the most out of my cosmo school experience, always asking “ how can I do more?” I was lucky to have great mentors but above all people that believed in me, which I call my cosmo tribe. They always said GO FOR IT! and well you know, I didn’t hesitate.

My first opportunity that I saw as a golden ticket to the stars was Beacon. I poured my heart into the marketing piece I went for it, next thing you know I was on a plane, terrified of heights but excited for the future.

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Beacon that year showed me what the beauty industry is and what we stand for. It opened my eyes to every possibility and doors in my career. It was an incredible experience that allowed me to map out a career path, gave me resources to keep expanding my mind and be open to an endless world of opportunity.

I LOVED being part of that experience and I knew my only ticket back into that incredible room full of dreamers and doers was NAHA. 3 years after, this past July I had the honor to be part of the most amazing event in the beauty industry, the North American Hairstyling Awards. I was nominated as a “ new comer stylist of the year” I had the opportunity to meet incredibly talented people and have the opportunity to be inspired.

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On the last day of my Vegas beauty adventure I was invited to be part of the Beacon panel. From what I remembered seeing as a student, I thought it would be a quick stop to talk about now and then with other previous students. To my surprise as I’m waiting for direction where to go all this beauty personalities start walking in, like sherri jesse, phillip Wilson, Nina Kovner, Nicholas French to name a few. I figured I was going to be after their presentation, actually I was excited to hear them speak.

Shortly after, Larry Curtis gives me a quick pow wow and tells me in” 5 minutes we are all going up there” in my mind I was like “ WHAT? OMG I’m on a panel with NINA KOVNER?!” ( FUNFACT: Passion squared is my daily dose of get up and kick butt) I took a moment to gather my excitement and waved at my mom sitting in the audience. I could tell she was as stoked which was worth all the million tears and hard work from the past 3 years.

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As the panel began every single one of this amazing people started sharing their stories, experiences and inspiration. It was a DREAM. I looked at every single student taking notes and taking it all in. When my turn to speak came I got asked the same question over and over “how did you start?” “how did you get to be sitting there so early in your career?”  well, my answer is simple, not giving up and giving my all. I started at Beacon 3 years ago but before and after beacon there has been many hours of unpaid work, making projects, advancing my skills, trying to find my place.

Like everyone else out of cosmo school I had to find where I fit in by being In all the wrong salons, crying my heart out because I didn’t fit in and losing sleep over finding the right mentors. In the first 2 years I have seen a lot of cosmo grads give up or settle. To which I say DON’T.  I have given my heart from day 1 and I have also let my ego take long vacations. I started my path with a mind set on helping people feel good, do the best that I can and be my honest self. I won’t ever sell myself short and im not scared to work hard. I am connected and aware, I pick my tribe that inspires me. It is very small tribe but it includes some of the best people in the universe. Beacon inspired me to the next level, I love Geno Stampora and everything they do at PBA for dreamers like us.

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For every student out there, make room for yourself. I am still on the road, Be the person that is there for the clients and the people you see every day and success will follow. In my short path this has NOT failed me. From all the people that you meet take the good and let the bad inspire you to never replicate it. Believe in yourself, your worth and your talents. DON’T give up. We need more good hairdressers, more good hearts that love this industry, detach yourself from the competition, do YOU. Go with all your heart, the universe will surprise you. #sparkle.