Student Stories: Serene R.
Douglas J Aveda Institute students are great! We can’t help but think they are some of the most talented students out there. We believe that great students go on to become great professionals. In fact, our featured student this month went on to become a professional at our Okemos Douglas J salon! This month’s student story is of our alumni, Serene! Check out her award-winning story! ⬇️
Serene graduated from our cosmetology program in 2013, but before she was an aspiring beauty pro, she took a more traditional route. Serene was in college to be a veterinarian. She enjoyed college, but during her third year she realized she didn’t have passion for what she was doing.
“My roommate asked me, ‘If you could work doing something every day and not worry about money, what would it be?’ I said hair. I decided then that I was going to pursue that.”
Like many other beauty school students, Serene didn’t make her transition from a traditional education to beauty without some pushback from family and friends.
“I experienced a lot of pushback. My family was not thrilled about it at first because they were both young parents and regretted not going to college until later on. Once I talked to them about my passion and told them I wanted to work with Douglas J, it changed. My mom had been getting her hair cut there and she knew them. I had a very clear path where I didn’t before. They knew I was being real about this.”
We know that changing your career trajectory can be scary, and sometimes your support system may not come around to the idea right away. All the staff here at Douglas J Aveda Institute want to assure you that we will be your support system. We love helping people learn and pursue what they love! Having someone by your side makes all the difference, and we can be there.
Why Serene Chose Beauty
We know that Serene was originally inspired by her roommate, but we asked what drew her to the beauty industry as a whole.
“Being creative and working with my hands. I am never bored. I am always socializing and meeting new people and learning new things. I love that it is always changing.”
One of our favorite things about the beauty industry is that it offers the opportunity to innovate and create new processes and trends to anyone working within it. There are no limits to what you can create!
Why Douglas J Aveda Institute?
“I was living up north where there isn’t a Douglas J.  She talked about how beautiful the salons were and how well they treated their guests and how amazing Aveda was. When I went and toured the school, I hadn’t moved to Lansing yet, but as soon as I walked in, it was instant. I didn’t tour anywhere else. They were so kind and everything was clean and organized. They were very professional.”
Even at our schools we maintain a standard of professionalism that we would want in our salons. Really, what we want all of our students to demonstrate in any salon! We are thrilled that Serene found us and that we found her. There couldn’t have been a better match!
Serene in School
Serene has an award-winning beauty school story. As a student here, we admired her drive and love for what she does. That’s what made her so successful and what continues to help her thrive.
Serene was a hard-working student who found success at NAHA in 2016. NAHA is a competition where beauty pros conceptualize and create hairstyles, makeup looks and even fashion statements to have photographed and submitted. This is an exciting opportunity for anyone in the industry, especially a student! We asked Serene to share the details of her journey.
“Douglas J posted a contest that anyone could enter, they were going to bring three people and help them go through NAHA. At first I wasn’t going to enter because I didn’t know what it was. TJ Weaver came up and asked me if I was going to do it and I said no, but he explained it and he said if I didn’t he’d be disappointed.”
We can’t help but laugh knowing that TJ helped push Serene to pursue something that scared her. It’s not unheard of to learn that one of our staff members encouraged students to take a risk and put themselves out there. We asked Serene to go on and tell us what inspired her to create her NAHA styles and images.
“I found out my heritage; I am norwegian. I was always into vikings, and braids, an updos, and that’s where my inspiration was from. I have amazing sisters and they offered to be my models. I just started thinking up ideas and drawing things out and how I wanted it to be. I did mock trials and a photoshoot. Then I entered!”
The Douglas J Aveda Institute team loved Serene’s work and were excited to help her and two other students get prepared for the competition!
“They really liked my collection, and then we started joining heads together with a few people and the photographer. It took about a month to get it all done, hair pieces and wardrobe. When we got to the shoot and put things together, it went pretty quick. It was three days long. Two models one day and another the next. Then there was a turning point in the clothing because the photographer said if you have crazy big hair, they can’t be in normal clothing, I had them in all black. I had a box of fur, and once we did that, the whole look came together.”
“We submitted the pictures in February and then in May they announced the winners and I remember I had terrible cell service, and I was getting ready for work and my mom was there. I huddled up in the corner waiting for the website to load, and my name was there. That was a cool moment. That was it. It was really exciting. I went to NAHA and everything and everyone there was so amazing. It was a good experience, and I got to meet my hair inspirations.”
Advice For Dreamers
Are you dreaming of the day you can pursue your passion in editorial hairstyling? Serene has some advice for you.
“I would say you just have to do what makes you happy. It’s cheesy but life is short, if you don’t love what you’re doing, your days will drag on. Go for it. You’ll make money at it. If you’re good and you’re passionate you’ll make a living doing it.”
Thanks for the words of wisdom, Serene! We will be sure to pass them on to students who want to become successful like you!
Your Future Starts at Douglas J Aveda Institute
There’s no reason to wait! If attending beauty school, competing with other stylists and doing big, creative things sounds like a future you want, contact us! We can’t wait to help you pursue your future in cosmetology!
More Stories to Inspire You
Read: “Student Stories: Sherita M.”
Read: “Student Stories: Tommy Buckett”
Read: “Student Stories: SharaLee Attema”
Read: “Student Stories: Blake Webster”
Read: “Student Stories: James Black”
Read: “Student Stories: Timothy Walkinhood”
Read: “Student Stories: Madison Marra”
Read: “Student Stories: Tullio Dimichele”