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Rising Stars: Meet Mariana Ayamel

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mariana Ayamel. 

Hi Mariana, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
My cosmetology journey began in 2011 while attending Gaithersburg High School (Gaithersburg, MD). I was enrolled as a Cosmetology student under the guidance of the late Angela Johnson. While in school, I worked in a hair salon/barbershop as a Shampoo Assistant. 

As time passed and I was approaching the completion of my class, the stylist I was assisting explained that I could not be licensed and work as her assistant. The news was very frightened to me as I was still in high school and didn’t believe I was ready to be on my own. During my senior year, in September of 2014, I sat for my State Board Exam and passed on my first attempt. Shortly after, I was hired as a part-time stylist at JCPenny Salon. I was employed at the salon for approximately a year until I graduated high school. 

I continued my academic endeavors and went on to attend Morgan State University (MSU) (Baltimore, MD) studying Business Administration. While attending MSU, I worked at a local salon named Salon P, however, the majority of my experience took place within my dorm room. The word spread fast and soon I was known as the stylist around campus. I spent countless days and late nights servicing clients. 

Fast-forward to Spring 2018, I graduated from MSU and decided to remain within the area. I was doing hair between Salon P and my home while working my first teaching job. In 2019, I decided elevation was necessary and decided to take my Senior Cosmetology Exam which I also passed on the first attempt. After that accomplishment, I continued on and established LLC. The name Lareine means “Queen” in French. It was important for me to incorporate that into my business name as my father used to always affirm that I was a queen while growing up, so it resonated with me. In addition to furthering my entrepreneurial endeavors, I began to apply for Instructor positions with high schools who offered Cosmetology programs. I received the opportunity in District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) at Roosevelt Stay in May. Shortly after, I relocated to Prince George’s County (District Heights). Adjusting to the new position and home, I decided to take a small break and only serviced close family and friends. A few months passed by and I began to miss servicing clients, I had to create a new salon home. I transformed a room in my home to a salon suite and started welcoming both old and new clients. I manage to fulfill clients’ needs all while teaching both high school students and adults the craft I love dearly. Overall, I truly enjoy all that Cosmetology has offered me and then the opportunity for me to pour into others that enjoy it as well. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The road to success has not been easy at all. In the beginning, I recall my high school guidance counselor expressing “I wouldn’t make it anywhere in life-taking cosmetology.” As harsh as that sounds, I used those very words to propel me forward and I was determined to prove her wrong. 

Then, I went to take my State Board Exam and remember being the youngest candidate present and other candidates told me, “You’ll be back again” because they had not been successful on their first attempt. Although their words were discouraging, I did not allow it to consume me and continued to put my best foot forward. Again, I passed on my first attempt. Another time, I recall when applying for instructor positions, I was told “There not many options as many stay within their instructor positions until they retire.” Again, I was hired as a Cosmetology Instructor for a high school and the youngest person on staff. I highlight these moments because oftentimes when you have a goal(s) in mind you will encounter people along the way who will speak negativity over the things you are doing or trying to do. However, my faith reminds me that with Christ ALL things are possible. The road was not easy, but it was possible. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I currently offer an array of services but my specialties are silk press, color, and sew-in installs. 

I am very proud to be both a stylist and an instructor because I get to share with students something I am very passionate about. I also take pride in proper hair care, so I ensure that my students understand the importance of it as well as exceptional customer service. The ultimate goal is to provide a wonderful experience for their clients. 

So maybe we end on discussing what matters most to you and why?
What matters the most to me is healthy hair and maintaining the integrity of the client’s hair. 

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