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Conversations with the Inspiring Olivia O’Hara

Today we’d like to introduce you to Olivia O’Hara.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Olivia. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
From a very young age, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to be involved with the beauty industry. I started by watching YouTube videos on how to do “the perfect smokey eye” and then went on to doing tutorials at a cheerleading gym, teaching parents and children how to do their hair and makeup. Once I got to high school, I enrolled in the cosmetology program that they offered. Everyone around me knew that was my calling. I was the girl who “wore too much makeup” or “changed her hair color every week.” I was dedicated to cosmetology. I had amazing teachers who taught me almost everything I know now about hair and makeup. At the end of my junior year, I got my cosmetology license and in my senior year of high school, I opened up my own full-service salon right inside my house. From there, I took about two clients every night after school and built up my clientele. I started my own social media platform and grew bigger and bigger for just a seventeen-year-old. Towards the end of my senior year, I was awarded the Gina Marie LaRocco Memorial scholarship. This was truly one of my biggest accomplishments. I worked so hard during my four years of high school, and to be rewarded with that was truly a blessing. A couple months later, I had an interview with Olivia DiBona, owner of Olivia’s Hair Boutique, and from there I became a part of her freelance bridal team and got a job inside of her salon. I now work part-time there, and part-time at my at home salon. I consider myself extremely lucky for being only eighteen and coming this far in my career.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome? Any advice for young women just starting out?
It has been a smooth road for me, although there have been some bumps in the road. I’ve been pretty lucky so far. I’ve had times where I felt like maybe this isn’t for me or maybe I should find something else to do. But what truly got me through it was the support of my family and friends. I grew up in a generation where social media can really have a negative effect on a child. My generation has had some of the hardest times dealing with self-esteem issues, and I have dealt with it first hand. I was judged and to a point bullied for the way I presented myself. I focused on the positive.

 

Believing in myself and staying true to who I am. We all just want to be that “pretty girl” on Instagram with the beautiful hair, perfect features, and thousands of followers. We are pushed to think that if we are not perfect like the pictures we see on Instagram, then we are nothing but just another typical girl. We alter ourselves all the time just so we can feel like we are accepted in this society. I feel like this set me up for success because with hair and makeup, I am able to show my clients just how naturally beautiful each one of them is without changing something about themselves. We shouldn’t feel pressured to alter our bodies just so we can look like something we’re not. Being able to make someone feel beautiful is one of my favorite things I do. I just want to spread more smiles, and make people feel better about themselves, by using their own features.

My advice to other young women just starting out would be to never look down on yourself. You are so much better than what you think, and you are capable of doing amazing things. Whatever your dream is, do not let anything get in the way of stopping you from getting there. There will be times when people will want to knock you down but you must be stronger. If this journey has taught me anything, it’s that life doesn’t pause for anyone, and even on your worst days, you have to keep pushing. Surround yourself with only people who bring you up. Those are the people who will help you along your journey. Just be yourself and do what you think is best. Life will surprise you sometimes. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I do both hair and makeup. For hair, I do all things from A to Z. I can cut, color, style, etc. For makeup, I do anything from daytime looks, weddings, proms, or even a fancy night out. I wouldn’t say I specialize in just one thing, I’m pretty universal on the services I provide. I’ve been known to do lots of different makeup looks on clients, but recently I’m mostly known for the types of blondes I do. I absolutely love a good blonde, and I love to transform clients into blonde. Because I’m so young and learning new things every day I think that plays a big role in what sets me apart from others. Most people would think because of my age that I would still be in school for cosmetology, so actually being able to work with my clients and the public at this age is something I’m very proud of, I feel like I’ve come a long way in such a short amount of time.

Who do you look up to? How have they inspired you?
I’ve had tons of inspiration from another woman. I’ve learned lots of life lessons from my mother. She has taught me how to never let anything get in the way of what you want. You have to be a go-getter and you have to give it your all. Other women who have inspired me would be both of my cosmetology teachers, Christina Borkowski, and Jennifer McNeil. They’re both amazing women who have a heart of steel. They have taught me almost everything I know about cosmetology. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I also look up to my boss Olivia Dibona, she is so successful at such a young age. She is definitely someone I strive to be like.

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Image Credit:
Ryan Oniell Photography, Thompson Photography Group, Violet Light Photography

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