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Trailblazers: MetroWest & Worcester

The editorial team has a special attachment to our new series, The Trailblazers: Rewriting the Narrative, because so many of us feel that media portrayals of women have been too one dimensional. Today, women are doing incredible things in all fields – from science and technology to finance, law, business, athletics and more.  With the Trailblazers series, we hope to highlight and celebrate female role models, encourage more equal and just representation in the media, and help foster a more tight-knit community locally helping women find mentors, business partners, friends and more.

Below, you’ll find some incredible trailblazers from in and around MetroWest & Worcester that we hope you will check out, follow and support.

Sarah Tousignant

My favorite things to do are corrective colors, balayage, Keratin treatments, men’s haircuts, and bridal updos! When I am not busy in the salon I love spending time outdoors, fishing, kayaking, and pampering my puppy Luke. Read more>>

Kate Kellman and Isabel Bonenfant

This project encouraged us to not only reach out to friends we normally kept in touch with via text message or email, but also to friends that we had lost touch with due to moving away from home or graduating from college. Read more>>

Alyson Furst

We work together to create a positive, nurturing work environment. Setting the team up for success through continuing education to better their craft, a healthy work/life balance, and personalized coaching. Read more>>

Liz Fayram

From a young age, I always knew I wanted to work with food & movement, bodies, emotions, and well-being. My journey started with an interest in becoming a Physical Therapist and then evolved into the world of dietetics & nutrition therapy. Read more>>

Jessica St. George

I like to make things. You will rarely ever see me not working on a project of some kind. I love DIY projects, cooking, woodworking, pyrography, and pretty much any kind of project I can get my hands on. While I love to work with all kinds of media, cameras are the centerpiece of my passion and my work. Read more>>

Melissa Brodeur

I have always had a passion for education and inspiring others. Before I ventured into the beauty industry, I went to college to become a teacher however life had a different plan for me and a semester and a half later I called my parents and told them that this was not my path in life. Read more>>

Tara Rice

My entire life has been a series of goals I have set for myself, and, working hard enough, I have achieved them all – graduate college, have a successful career, start a family, buy a home, etc. The one goal I never thought I would achieve is my current career – stay at home mom. Read more>>

Lydia Deyle

I started to become enthralled with the beauty world. I decided that after graduating college I would follow my passion and go to beauty school. I graduated college in May 2013 and started cosmetology school in August 2013. Read more>>

Amanda Hemm and Sarah Douglas

Our story has the same roots as so many – personal experiences and a desire to make the journey easier for others. We’re experienced postpartum doulas, and we’ve worked with many families – supporting them emotionally, mentally and physically after the births of their babies. It has been an amazing journey, and we’ve been honored to spend time with families during this delicate and intimate phase of life. We’ve learned a lot. Read more>>

Erin Mayo

My professional background was in healthcare as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in Critical Cardiac Care, so I have always had a passion for health and wellness, as well as for leading an active lifestyle to help cope with the stress and anxiety related to such a high pressure career. When I made the decision that I wanted to be home with our daughter, but also wanted to work from home, I became interested in opportunities that allowed me to inspire other women and mentor them while building my own small business. As a hobby, I have always enjoyed fashion and style in addition to fitness, so when the opportunity to join ZYIA Active was presented to me, it really seemed to fit my goals and ideals perfectly. Read more>>

Sarah Flaherty

My journey into the realm of hair started when I attended cosmetology school in early 2012. Shortly after, I got my first job working as a receptionist in a salon in downtown Northampton, Massachusetts, which quickly transpired into working full time as an assistant for a little over two years. I believe my time assisting really shaped me into the stylist I am today. I have received top-notch education from several well-known color and product lines like AVEDA, Wella, Redken, Kevin Murphy, and DevaCurl. One of my biggest influences on how I approach hair comes from my time spent at The Vidal Sassoon Academy in both Santa Monica, California and Boston, Massachusetts. Read more>>

Tanya Costigan

My story begins with volunteering for public schools and for the Boys & Girls Club, planning fundraising events. This sparked my interest in events and led me to pursue planning more events and educating myself to care for weddings. Good question! The road is smooth, but definitely always changing. You have to be prepared for sharp curves and the industry is definitely fast moving. You have to stay relevant and you have to keep up. While doing this, you need to stay true to your style and brand. Speaking of brand… I started with one business name… and kept it for about 4 years. Read more>>

Raymari Rodriguez

I have been involved in film since I was in middle school, I have also been a mentor since I was very young. At first, I was convinced I wanted to be a news anchor but I soon realized that my passion was capturing people ‘s stories and personalities thru images and video my own way. One of my biggest struggle early on in my career was convincing women that they do not need to look like the celebrities in magazines in order to be beautiful. I realized that to do this I needed to show them the best version of themselves. I created a photoshoot experience that includes hair, makeup, styling and directed posing. Read more>>

Melissa Wilson

I started out as a cosmetologist, attending Arthur Angelo School of Cosmetology in Providence, RI, and I obtained my cosmetology license in 2005, I knew that I wanted to be confident styling all hair types and textures because as a child growing up in Rhode Island with natural, curly, African textured hair, finding a stylist who really understood and cared for my hair was not an easy thing to do. I worked in two of Providence’s top ethnic salons as both an assistant and a stylist. Then, in 2007, I relocated to New Jersey. Read more>>

Sarah Jenks

I struggled with food and body image my whole life and always believed that if I could just lose 20 pounds, then I would be happy. After eating an entire bag of Dove Chocolate promises on the 3rd day of my seven-day juice cleanse in my early twenties, I decided that dieting and restriction weren’t in the cards for me after 15 years of failing. And without all of my energy going towards my diet, I had mental space to focus on my life, which, turns out, was super boring. So, I got to work to make it more fun and low and behold, I stopped overeating! Read more>>

Angela Stevens

There are a few things that I’ve been certain of my whole life. I recently stumbled upon my 7th-grade time capsule, where the 13-year-old me listed “photographer” as the answer to “what is your dream job?” I’ve always had a love for two things: photography and agriculture. I took darkroom photography classes at a local community college while I was in high school, and worked on veggie farms in the summer. When it came time to declare a major in college, I chose photography, and I minored in environmental studies. At times, I felt conflicted, as though I was devoting myself to not one but two careers and I’m worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with both passions. Read more>>

Maggie Siegel

studied fine art at the School of Art and Design at Alfred University. While I was there, I dabbled in everything I could make time for, which included painting, printmaking, hot glass, metal sculpture, neon fabrication, and mixed media installation. I would have taken classes in just about every studio offered if I could (except graphic design… I’m much more interested in all things messy and impractical). After graduation, I landed on painting for its directness of expression, relative affordability, and ease. In the early 2000s, I began working with landscape-based imagery, and have been running with it ever since. Read more>>

Alissa Frazier

I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2008. I struggled with that reality for several years and was fairly angry. I was worried about my future and what it would mean for my independence and abilities. I thought I was going to be stuck with a life of doctors appointments and medications. All though that has turned out to be somewhat accurate, I’ve found that there is so much more to “medicine” than people think. Through a fitness trainer I had in 2012, I was encouraged to give up gluten and dairy for a few months, just to see what it did to my body. Read more>>

Lois Levine

I have worked in mental health for over 30 years as a Recreational Therapist. I have always worked with adolescents and adults on inpatient psychiatric units who have struggled in times of crisis whether it be with depression, anxiety, trauma, substance abuse or other mental health-related issues. As a therapist and educator, my role has always been to offer support and teach coping skills. My goal has always been to provide the client with resources and offer support in making positive changes to their lives. Read more>>

Liz Moniz

I had a rough start in life. I did not have very many friends growing up. I was a survivor of child sexual abuse and went through a string of abusive relationships as a teenager. I became a single mom at the age of 18 and left school to care for my son full-time. It took me a few years, but I really found myself as a mom, and, finally, was living what I would call a good life. However, I would often wonder where my life was going- honestly, I had no idea. I’d always thought of myself as a “creative” person, but I didn’t know how to express that creativity. I tried singing but was terrible at it. I tried acting, but never got anything other than small roles in school plays when I was younger. Read more>>

Amy Lynne Hazen

I grew up in a small town in Massachusetts and we did not have a lot of options as far as salons go. At the time every girl wanted a spiral perm, including me. I decided to save all my babysitting money to get my dream perm. I made my appointment and was beyond excited to have my first experience in a salon. Lets just say I sat there like a trooper with those long uncomfortable spiral perm rods on my head. When it finally came time to rinse, I put my head back in the sink and let the stylist run the water on my hair. At that moment I felt the rods loosen and fall from my head into the sink. Read more>>

Dina Fraize

I am a Certified Professional Midwife, currently attending Home Births here in Massachusetts. I am a mom to 5 boys, ranging in age from 17-31 years old, and I am married to a supportive, engineer, musician, and kind soul. I have a bachelors degree in Business Finance from Clark University, and briefly worked in the field before deciding it was not where I was meant to be. As I began my personal path through birth and motherhood, I became more and more interested in working to support mothers around breastfeeding, birth, and the postpartum period. Read more>>

Cheryl Marconi

After a career as a writer and editor, I realized that health and fitness had always been my true passion. I entered a fitness competition, and there was no turning back. I spent six months preparing: intense workouts and strict nutrition led me to shape my body into something I was very proud of. More importantly, standing on that stage and facing my fears helped me to realize that I could do absolutely anything. Read more>>

Jovanna Benzan

I love everything beauty. I never really went to salon growing up because my mother was a single mother of three. If I wanted to look nice I had to figure it out. I remember using a clothing iron to straighten my hair (not recommended). I didn’t really know I had skills until I had a child and I really wanted to be an example and show him you can do anything you put your mind into. It was then that I began my journey as a hairstylist. Read more>>

Cory Bobowiec

My interest in hair all started when my daughter’s hair was long enough to do braids. I loved doing hairstyles I’ve seen on YouTube or Instagram. As I got better at trying different hairstyles, my family mentioned I should share this with social media. And I did. I started with Instagram first. Every time I did my daughter’s hair, I would share it. We entered contests on there and hair challenges like 30 days of braids. I interact with so many other braiders all around the world. We share tips and tricks with each other to help us grow and get better. Read more>>

Aliciamarie Halacy

I began my time in this industry in high school while attending Blackstone Valley Tech. I knew from a very young age that I had a passion for doing hair. I was lucky to have an amazing teacher, who was able to help me find my first salon job where I was able to take my time learning and fine tuning my skills. After a few years, I was ready to move to a larger and busier salon. Once I moved salons, I started to find my favorite parts of this industry. I stayed there for a few years until I found myself and the salon moving in different directions, so we parted ways. Read more>>

Esme de Mello

Growing up I always knew I wanted a career that was creative and flexible. I’ve never been the type that could sit at a desk 9-5, in high school, I just wasn’t exactly sure what career would keep me interested. I was originally planning to attend college for fashion merchandising but about 6 weeks before school started, I realized I wasn’t as excited as I should be. I went to tour Toni & Guy Hair Academy in Worcester and fell in love. I signed up that day and told the college, I would no longer be attending. After school, I worked in a large salon and spa for five years and then decided it was time to go off on my own. Read more>>

Elizabeth Caron

Everyone has something that makes them come alive. Something that is all-encompassing. Something they research for fun, spend their spare time perfecting, and relentlessly dream about. For me, that was snowboarding. Read more>>

Cora Proper

Photographs not only help to tell a story in the here and now, the very motivation behind documenting life in this way reveals something about humanness and our inherent desire to be a part of a story. To be seen and to be remembered. Read more>>

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