Wow! It seems like forever and today since my last blog. Initially it was intentional because what I had to say I wasn’t ready for my kids to hear/know the fact that my genetic testing revealed that I have 2 cancer genes lurking in my body😱. The statistics is that 1 out of 3 people will develop cancer….now add that these genes add another 33% likelihood to myself. Holy Shit! That kinda made me nervous and I did not want to have my kids living daily wondering if/when it could happen. Hopefully never….hopefully I am buying so good juju with the amount of work I am doing to help fight and fund cancer research. But enough talk of what could happen….just going to keep my fingers crossed and live life😉.
So, do I backdate and put up blogs that I had written in the past months or do I start today???? I say start today😉
I just spent the most amazing weekend in Vegas at NAHA ( North America Hairstylist Awards ) and Beacon. Beacon is an event where future professionals or newer professionals in our industry compete for a chance to come to Las Vegas to attend the awards show as well as a three-day amazing bash consisting of the industry’s finest and most successful leaders including my personal favorite Geno Stampora😉. This was not my first Beacon with Geno but I have to say defined my favorite. Not only was I asked to sit on a “all star”😁 panel of our industries finest, I was also able to connect with so many of the winner/attendees. During the kick off on Saturday Geno introduced me and gave a brief history of my accomplishments in the industry as well as the battle I had just overcome. The students were so amazing with the reception that they gave me. My eyes welled up with tears as they stood and clapped for me. Some people may not view my struggle as a major one…some may say that I didn’t have cancer very long or go through chemo long enough to hurt. These people, my industry people got it on several levels. I knew immediately that they understood what not only the cancer could have done to me…what losing my hair as a stylist did to me, but also what having 3 major surgeries and undergoing chemo in one swoop could have done to my career. Had I of not fought back and said #fckcancer I probably would have lost everything! I was able to connect with many of these students over the next few days. I heard story after story of why they wanted to be stylist and the struggles they had overcame. I realized then how fucking (sorry mom) strong both emotionally and physically we as industry pros are. This was a group of new professionals that have struggled to get where they are today despite death, anorexia, prison, abuse, cancer, social disorders, depression, insecurities….the list and stories were endless. (We are a colorful interesting group 😉). Choking back the tears while listening to many of them was hard, but the amount of love and respect I had for them grew person to person. I seriously think there should be a “people or Beacon” E True Hollywood story made! What is so awesome is that these are the struggles that wether they know it or not that is going to propel them to success. Success does not come without its struggles!
Fast forward to Monday….I had the the honor or sitting on this panel of industry icons. I had chatted with Phillip Wilson l the evening before, ( #twinning ) I shared with him a bit more of my story including the over $100k that I had just raised in my “Woman Of The Year” campaign with the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. He asked if people/panel knew about this and I said no. He said that we would sit together and that we would make sure that everyone knew. As I sat on stage and it came closer to my turn I was full of emotions. I wanted to seriously get up and do back flips across the stage at the fact that I was sitting with Phillip Wilson and Nicholas French as my bookends and Christopher Dove just a few people down. If your not in my industry then you won’t get that this is pretty exciting shit! Anyways… Larry Curtis (thank you for this honor) got to me and asked me a question. Honestly, I don’t remember the exact question but it had to do with dealing with struggles and staying motivated I think. I honestly couldn’t tell you what the first part of what I said was…my voice was cracking like Peter Brady from the Brady Bunch when he was singing about change’n and rearrange’n. Lol I tried to put lip gloss on right before he got to me but had to abort that mission cuz my hand was shaking so bad I feared I would paint my face. Talking I front of a 300+ person room is hard enough but add my other panel peeps…Lordy! So…I’m getting out my thoughts and Phillip says “Tell Them” I say, “I’m going to cry” he says again “Tell them”…..he put his hand on mine and I felt this immediate strength💙. I told my story and the entire room erupted with cheers and a standing ovation. The entire panel on there feet clapping for me. I could see Geno in the back of the room clapping for me, Mary Wilson had the most caring look in her eyes as I looked at her, Christopher Dove with the biggest smile ever and Todd Kane with “Love Out Lavender” looking at me as proud as ever. Looking into the audience I see tears in the eyes of so many students. Were they happy, sad, empowered, inspired??? I think is was so different for everyone of them. Maybe they needed to feed off of my strength…maybe they realized that they had the strength within them and had not put it to use, maybe…..the possibilities are endless!
Honestly I was left somewhat speechless after it all. ( I know…me speechless 😱). The overwhelming response I received was beyond my expectation. I shared smiles, tears, laughter, stories with so many of these students. They all thanked me for my story and told me what it had done for them. Steve Gomez said to me at the beginning of Beacon that the students get so much out of it, but that it is such an amazing experience and how much the speakers and panel members love and appreciate what they get out of being there with these 300+ amazing people. He was SO right!!!! You see….as much as everyone felt that I did and what I gave to them with my story, they have no idea what they did for me. 7/26/2016 will FOREVER be a day that I will remember! The day that I got the most amazing gift ever!!! The next time Larry Curtis ask me what keeps me motivated on bad days I will be able to tell him “the gift/feeling that you and 300+ other people gave me at Beacon 2016”! I have worked my ass off to over the past 2.5 yrs to pursue a passion of motivating and inspiring stylist….I was knocked down and came back swinging harder then ever! I blogged before that to hear the words “because of you, I didn’t quit” would be my greatest reward for fighting so hard. Monday I heard many times over how my story gave them strength, how they knew that they would remember me and not quit ❤️. So, Thank You Beacon 2016 attendees, Larry for including me, Geno for everything you do (and not giving up on me) Phillip for your strength on stage and the panel for such love and support! You will all forever be considered a major key in my strength and motivation.
I LOVE MY INDUSTRY!!!