As a second generation in the beauty trade, recent cosmetology grad Jennifer Santiago was inspired to follow in her mother-in-law’s footsteps. Perfecting her craft in hair styling, Jennifer has been forging a path as a freelancer, and continues to dream big. We chatted with Jennifer to hear about what it takes to get your foot in the beauty door, what it really feels like to cut someone’s hair for the first time, and more. An aspiring Superr Pro, we’re sure we’ll hear plenty more about Jennifer in the years to come!
What sparked your interest in doing hair?
Before I started cosmetology school I was more into makeup, but when I decided to go to school I found out that curriculum was mostly hair. However, after my first month of attending cosmetology school I realized that I was actually great at doing hair and now it’s something I love to do!
Why did you choose to pursue becoming a hair stylist professionally?
My mother-in-law, Vincenza, was a big part of why I chose to go to beauty school. I saw how much she loved her job and how she makes her clients feel. She saw creativity and potential in me and helped me figure out what it was that I wanted to do with my life.
What school do you attend and when will you be graduating?
I attended Empire Beauty School and I graduated on May 17, 2017
Post-graduation, what’s the next step for you?
Now that I am a graduate, I need to take my state board exam, which I’ve been preparing for, so that I get my permanent cosmetology license. I’ve also been freelancing and taking clients in order to build my portfolio and clientele, and to get my foot in the door.
At what point in your curriculum did you start cutting people’s hair? What was it like cutting someone’s hair for the first time?
I did not start cutting hair until I reached “salon level”, which was about 4 months after I started school.
Cutting someone’s hair for the first time was nerve-racking! I was nervous, but after the haircut was finished I realized that the haircut actually came out great! My client was happy and so was I.
Who are your professional role models and why?
One of my professional role models would of course be Vincenza Carovillano. She is such an amazing person inside and out. Her work is absolutely flawless, and all of her clients adore her.
If you met one of your role models, what’s one question you’d ask them?
Well lucky for me, I see my role model every day and I am always asking her for advice.
What’s your ultimate career dream?
My ultimate career dream would be to open up my very own salon.
What’s your biggest fear, career-wise? What are you doing in order to overcome that fear?
I don’t really have any fears, I am just very excited to see what the universe has in store for me and to do what I do, at the best of my abilities and be the best that I can be.
If you didn’t choose this career path, what do you think you would be doing?
Honestly, I couldn’t say. I’ve always loved animals and had thought about becoming a veterinarian before, so maybe I’d be pursuing that.
What’s one tip you’d give someone who’s decided to attend cosmetology school?
My advice to anyone wanting to attend cosmetology school is to never turn down any opportunities. If you are offered to go to a class for a demo or a seminar, or to assist someone, do it. Everything is a learning experience and it will help you grow as an individual and as a professional.
Follow Jennifer on Instagram