Ashley Gardea hadn’t really considered a career in the beauty industry until her mother encouraged her to join the ROP program during her senior year of high school. After beginning basic cosmetology classes, Ashley realized that this was the career for her, and she enrolled in Salon Success Academies, where she more than how to cut hair – she learned about herself and what she is capable of.
Ashley discovered that the beauty industry is a fun, creative field to work in and has fond memories of the styling competitions that were held at Salon Success Academies, especially the music video competition that involved hair, makeup, and costumes. It wasn’t only her own creativity that she enjoyed – she loved seeing what her classmates came up with for ideas!
During her time as a Salon Success Academies student, Ashley participating in the Student Ambassador program, working on school and community outreach projects with students from all five campuses.
“I learned a lot about myself,” Ashley said, talking about her time as an ambassador. “It taught me to take charge and gave a higher level of responsibility. I loved being a part of the community, which is something I never thought I’d be able to do at a beauty school.”
As a Student Ambassador, Ashley helped with the monthly orientations, introducing new students to the school. The orientations are one of her favorite memories of Salon Success Academies.
“Ms. Christina was always so inspiring at the orientations,” Ashley explained. “She taught us all that we can help people. Once we earn our licenses, we can listen to our clients and offer them advice. Cosmetology isn’t just about glamour – it’s about helping people.”
The staff at Salon Success Academies couldn’t agree more, and are always happy to help aspiring cosmetologists, like Ashley, succeed.
“Our Student Ambassadors are the heart of our school’s family and we are so grateful for the work and dedication that students like Ashley put into the program,” said Susan Turner, Vice President of Salon Success Academies.
One of the ways that Ashley and the other Student Ambassadors were able to help people was through the “All About Family” event that they put together in December. The event brought families from local shelters to the school for a day of beauty, food, and fun!
“Seeing everyone work together to put the event together, and then seeing the faces of the people that day was really special,” Ashley said. She spent the day with a family made up of a mother and two daughters, and really enjoyed helping them.
Ashley graduated from Salon Success Academies in March and took her state board exam in April. She’s now getting ready to begin an internship at Le Unique Cuts salon in Huntington Park, California and is already planning to go back to school. She starts classes this summer at Chaffey College, where she’ll earn her degree in business management — the next step toward her long term goal.
“My mom and I want to open a salon together someday. She’s the one who inspired me to get into cosmetology in the first place and was always there to motivate and support me through school,” said Ashley.
For those who are interested in beginning a career in cosmetology, Ashley offers this advice: “Anyone can do it as long as you are dedicated. You can’t lose focus. If you get discouraged or problems come up, just focus on the big picture, not the small issues.”
About Salon Success Academies
Salon Success Academy offers five locations in California's Inland Empire, in Redlands, Fontana, Upland, San Bernardino, and Corona. Our mission at SSA involves caring for every student as a member of our family, furnishing the chance to finish their educational objectives as affordably as possible. SSA incorporates first-hand, real-world practice of the principles of cosmetology, skin care, and nail artistry. The campus teams with members of the beauty industry to educate our graduates on the technical and customer service skills they need to succeed in their careers.
For more information go to www.gotobeautyschool.com or call 1-877-987-HAIR (4247).