You can achieve ANY goal if you are willing to work for it. Jasmine Gibbs is the perfect example. Jasmine won the 2012 NAHA Award for Texture only two short years after graduating beauty school. Here her inspiring story, how she ALMOST one NAHA in 2011 and what kept her working towards her dreams. Below is Jasmine’s story in her own words.
“My first experience with doing hair was at a very young age—around 7 or 8. I learned how to braid and I would braid other people’s hair. I became so good at it that by the time I was 9, my mother started booking me ‘appointments’ to braid hair for her friends and mine. I could do corn rows, extensions, all different types of cultural styles. I was making money doing hair and I liked the feeling.
Even at that young age the thought of continuing to do hair for money seemed like what I wanted to do when I grew up.
GROWING UP I FELT VERY TORN
My mom was very free spirited. She encouraged my dreams of continuing to do hair. She wanted me to do whatever made me happy and always reminded me to be the BEST at whatever I chose to do. My dad—on the other hand—wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer and make lots of money. Growing up, I felt very torn trying to make them both happy.
Entering high school, I wanted to go to a school in Brooklyn that had a cosmetology program where I could earn my license by the time I was 16. My dad wouldn’t let me go. He made me go to a school more geared towards science. Needless to say, I was heart broken. I knew I wanted to be a hairdresser but he did not fully support that.
In college I went through several different majors trying to find out what I wanted to be. I ended up picking nursing. I remember sitting in class and thinking, ‘I really want to be a hairdresser.’ So I decided to write myself a 5 year plan. I would finish nursing school in 2007, go to cosmetology school in 2008…etc. That helped make me happy and kept me on track with my dreams and it also gave me hope.
In college I made money doing hair again. I set up a little ‘salon’ in my dorm room and I would invite people to come for fashion shows. If there was a big party on campus, girls and guys would want to come and have their hair done by me.
When I got to nursing school I continued to do hair for friends. Someone even approached me to do their hair for their wedding. I was doing hair, nails, anything I could to keep myself busy doing what I loved. I succeeded because I was able to mirror looks. If I saw a certain style of hair or makeup, I could copy it.
ONE DAY, I SAT DOWN AND I CRIED
A year after nursing school I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. My life changed drastically. At that time, figuring out what to do with my career was very hard. Being a mother was a great responsibility. One day, I was listening to a radio show, the topic for the day was “Living Your Dream” the announcer said “if you have a dream on the shelf you need to pick it up, dust it off, and go after what you want”. It felt like he was talking directly to me I just sat down and I cried. I wanted to go to beauty school but how could I find the time and balance motherhood, financial obligations, and being a nurse?
One day I was in the mall and I saw a sign that said, ‘Paul Mitchell school coming soon’. This was no coincidence. I was meant to see that sign! It opened in 2009 and I started school that same year.
During beauty school I pushed myself to excel and explore beyond what I was learning in the classroom. I read about people like Kris and Trevor Sorbie and I knew if I wanted to achieve similar success I HAD to use every opportunity.
I signed up for Vivienne Mackinder’s photo shoot workshop after just 3 weeks into beauty school. It really opened my eyes. She taught me how to do many different styles that I never knew existed. It was overwhelming but I learned a lot. After the course ended I started assisting her for at the InterCoiffure Fashion Show and did my first photo shoot in December of that year. I learned a lot about fashion and hair, and how the two are intertwined.
I believe that there is a reason or bigger plan behind everyone you meet. After learning so much from Vivienne, she then told me about Mary Brunetti and her DVDs about how to do a photo shoot and win NAHA. I was only 26 years old and still in beauty school but I felt very driven to win NAHA after watching her DVD.
I did enter NAHA during beauty school, in the student category, but I didn’t’ place. But I learned from it and I had a lot of great photos from it so it wasn’t an opportunity missed. I did a few more local contests that I did not win, but I placed in some of them. Each was an experience that helped me grow. I never got dismayed, not even after losing.
REACH OUT TO SOMEONE YOU WOULD WANT TO MENTOR YOU
Everyone in the industry says to reach out to the people you admire. Reach out to someone you would want to mentor you. Well, I was in luck, because Kris Sorbie, someone who I greatly admire and look up to, was coming to our beauty school. As luck would have it, my son was sick and I could not be there the day Kris came. But I took the advice of everyone else and I reached out to her anyway. She responded and offered to take me to lunch while she was in town!
Kris encouraged me to enter Redken’s Road to NAHA contest. I was hesitant, but I was so motivated by her enthusiasm and confidence that I couldn’t disagree. I won that contest and my prize was the opportunity to be mentored by Kris Sorbie and sponsorship of the photo shoot by Redken. As a result, I became a finalist in two categories of NAHA 2012. Throughout the mentorship, we brainstormed together, created storyboards of ideas, had weekly meetings and guidance sessions. I’ll never forget the moment when I heard my name announced as a winner at NAHA. I was shocked. Kris instilled confidence in me, but still, I didn’t think I would win.
Much has changed since winning NAHA. People now recognize my work and people have even told me that I inspire THEM. There are more job opportunities coming my way and I enjoyed press in industry publications. Still, I always remember what Kris told me; ‘to never stop learning and always push to be better.’
I did not let winning NAHA go to my head. Instead, my goal is to be a multi-award nominee like Kris was. And of course, I still have my 5 year plan. It has changed a little since nursing school though. In 5 years I hope to be doing hair full time. I’ll have to work up the courage to tell my dad of course .
STUDY. WHATEVER YOU DO—STUDY
If someone were to ask me my advice about entering the beauty industry, I would say, Study. Whatever you do—study. Study the people who did it before you. Contact them. They are not unapproachable. It just takes a simple leap of faith. Reach out to them and pick their brain. Mentors can help you get from point A to point B much faster. Learn from their mistakes.
I didn’t have to wait for 10 years to win an award. I won within 2 years of graduating beauty school because of people like Kris Sorbie and Vivienne Mackinder.
Learning doesn’t stop when you graduate school. You have to always recharge.”