With two months remaining in my cosmetology program at Marinello Schools of Beauty’s Reno campus, my senior instructor Shanelle Dolan read us an e-mail explaining a Beauty Changes Lives’ (BCL) contest. The lucky winner would be given the chance of a lifetime to hang out with Jan Arnold, co-founder of CND, and her team, while being part of a backstage crew at the Beauty Buzz 2012 fashion show in Detroit. In addition, the winner would help prepare and participate in a workshop for more than 200 people, hosted by Jan herself. I said to myself: “What an amazing opportunity to end the school year with, but yeah right, I couldn’t get myself to do that. Little ol’ Cheyanne from Sparks, Nev., wouldn’t have what it takes to win!”
Later that day, Shanelle reminded me that sometimes stepping out of your box can be uncomfortable and scary, but it can also be rewarding and life changing. I took that piece of advice with a deep breath and a hope of faith and decided to submit my video application. A few months later, I received a call from a strange number and just knew it was the message I had been waiting for. BCL’s Bonnie Bonadeo was my lady with the good news. It’s hard to recall the details of the phone conversation because I couldn’t stop thinking of all the possibilities this could open up for my future career, all because I took a chance on the contest.
The plans and itinerary started getting arranged and before I knew it, I was off to Detroit! I got there late Saturday night and met with a few of the girls from the CND team: Michelle Huynh, Kristina Estabrooks, Roxanne Valinoti, Sarah Okins, Kristina Saindon, and Shelena Robinson. These six powerful women got me comfortable right away with goodies, smiles, and warm hugs. Soon we headed off to bed, because the next day was game time!
Waking up with big smiles, excited for what was to come, we headed backstage to get ready for the Beauty Buzz extravaganza. So much was going on and it was only 9 a.m.! More than 200 goodie bags were being made for the next day’s workshop and models’ nails were getting prepped for later application. There was hair, makeup, loud music, and The Blonds immaculate corset designs were being polished and toned for the runway. I wanted to be a part of it all, so I started helping with everything I could. As the groove started going with music in the background, the models were practicing their walk as I finally got a glance at Jan, the inspiring woman I’d been waiting to meet. Funny enough, she was looking for me as well! The first impression of Jan couldn’t have been any more perfect. She was beautiful, down to earth, and a genuine hug giver. It was a great feeling to know that she was as excited for me to be there as I was to have this opportunity. Showing me off left and right to more people, Jan made my greeting more than amazing.
From then on, everything was bliss. Surrounded by hard-working, talented, and inspiring people, I got to sit back and witness the awe-inspiring fashion show. The CND Shellac Couture segment blew me out of my seat. I had never been a part of something so big. Right then and there, I knew this was my place and in the future I would be a part of something else even bigger with this wonderful company.
In my submission video, I explained that I wanted to know what it takes to make it to the top in the beauty business, and now I do. We ended the night with hugs, laughs, and a toast from Jan to everyone who helped make the show possible. I’ll never forget the tone of her voice when she thanked me for being a part of this memory. In just one day, I felt as if I was already a part of the family! Then, Jan offered me the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to try out to be a CND education ambassador. Tears filled my eyes. I couldn’t believe all of this was happening. I told her I would love to be a part of the family. I walked back up to my room with butterflies in my stomach. At the end of the day, I tried to gather everything that I had just been a part of. Luckily for me, I still had one more day!
Monday morning was filled with more fun while the team was getting ready for the workshop. After set-up, nail tech after nail tech started swarming in for the Shellac Couture experience. The workshop began and Jan introduced me to all the attendees and explained the BCL contest. She then asked me to talk in front of all these people and explain the unforgettable fun we had the day before with the fashion show. Then we got our hands busy working with Shellac. I learned new tips and techniques for easy, funky, and chic designs to enhance my nail art. The workshop was the quickest three hours of my life! Unfortunately right after the workshop I had to head back to the airport for home.
Now back home and preparing for graduation, my motivation and determination are higher than ever. Being able to say that I was a part of this amazing experience was a cherry on top of my beauty school year. With everything I experienced under my belt, I now feel that I am ready for anything! This trip was something I knew would change my life forever. I now know that anything is possible if you just go for it and have a little faith.
Planning for my future, I see myself both thriving with a happy and steady clientele, while having the title as an education ambassador for CND. I plan on doing the CND training right after I get my license. I want to thank everyone who made it possible for me to do this. BeautyChangesLives.org, CND, Marinello Schools of Beauty, and my family and friends, who have all given me the chance to show my passion and love for the beauty industry and to let me give my hard work to clients, other nail techs, and anyone else who’s ready for more creative nail designs!
I strongly believe in looking to the future and identifying emerging talent who will take our industry to the next level. New talent represents new perspective, fresh ideas, and amazing energy to help fuel future growth of the industry and elevate the status of nails. I believe it is my responsibility to support these future stars and help give them every opportunity to find their greatness. Through the mentoring process, I felt rewarded and blessed, as I learned from Cheyanne as well! I applaud the efforts and vision of Beauty Changes Lives (BCL) in attracting talent and interest in beauty and wellness as a rewarding career.
I wanted Cheyanne to experience the magic of what other nail professionals live. We invited her to experience an inspirational runway presentation that demonstrated the highest and most artistic level for nails, “CND Shellac Couture” in Detroit. This main-stage program, attended by more than 1,100 people, was followed by a hands-on workshop the next day with 250 nail professionals learning new techniques using CND Shellac. CND Shellac has catapulted the entire industry to a new level of client reach and new heights of success for the nail professional. Cheyanne was experiencing the thrill of this message first-hand in Michigan.
When you are in school and you have your eyes set on a big dream, having a piece of that dream fulfilled early in your new career, even before graduating from school, is a confidence booster and validation of your choices. When people believe in you, you believe in yourself and begin to take your dreams seriously. Winning a scholarship for real-world experience is an amazing gift for anyone in school.
I was thrilled to meet a young lady who had clear ideas about her future ambitions. Cheyanne is polished…and very fashionable! She is professional and hard-working. She is personable, sweet, confident and bold. She arrived in Detroit and jumped right into action, helping to create gift bags for the event, running backstage to help steam clothing, prepping nails, and fully participated in the hands-on workshop doing killer fabulous nails. She even agreed to take the microphone during the class and explained to 250 nail professionals how “beauty has changed her life”! I am in awe of Cheyanne Birchall. She is truly talented and a treasure of a human being.
I would like to acknowledge my team, education ambassadors, and sales and education executives alike (in particular: Michele Soloman, Melanie Faatupu, Barbara Fogleman, and Shelena Robinson) who all took Cheyanne under their wings all weekend to help make her experience great! They demonstrate the pride and excellence we have at CND.
The other winners of the Beauty Changes Lives competition were Natalie DiBenedetto, a student at Brown Aveda Institute in Rocky River, Ohio, who won a hair mentoring experience with Ted Gibson; Leonor Del Castillo, a student at New York City’s Arrojo Cosmetology School, who won a hair mentoring experience with Diana Schmidtke; and Judith Torres, an esthetics student enrolled at Capri Cosmetology Learning Centers in Newburgh, N.Y., who won a mentorship with Dr. Howard Murad. Details for the next Beauty Changes Lives Celebrity Mentorship Competition will be posted on www.beautychangeslives.org. Student scholarships are also available at www.beautychangeslives.org/scholarships.
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