BEACON OF THE DAY: Former high school dropout rises in beauty

She plunged into a tailspin when she became pregnant at age 16, but she has managed to carve out a brilliant comeback – one beautiful enough to inspire many.

Andreen Rose-Cephas did not only tell a 20-member group of graduates her story last month; she threw out a challenge for people to persevere in the face of struggle and stigma.

“Be continuous learners [and] be focused since learning is the beginning of wealth, health and spirituality,” she said during the graduation ceremony at Success Academy of Vocational Studies in Linstead, St. Catherine.

Rose-Cephas, a certified cosmetologist and consultant trichologist, recalled: “At the tender age of 16, I became a mother. Life was no longer glitz and glamour; it was now real; it was hard work and a lot of dedication.”

After she dropped out of Ardenne High School, the Kingston native went to the Women’s Centre, and subsequently continued her education at St. Andrew High School for Girls.

Rose-Cephas later enrolled at Exed Community College to pursue studies in business administration.

She, however, fell in love with cosmetology.

She told graduates: “After the first semester, I saw the most elegantly dressed males and females on campus and wondered who were they – and later found out they were part of the prestigious skill called cosmetology. Without a second thought, I traded business administration for my now profession – cosmetology.”

Rose-Cephas, after leaving Exed, did short stints at the Transport Authority as a clerk, as hairdresser in her community, and as hairdresser at Exotic Trends in Half-Way-Tree.

She got a big breakthrough in early 1999, opening her own business – Hair Extreme Beauty and Barber Concepts – in New Kingston Shopping Centre.

Rose-Cephas, over the years, also worked for companies such as Avalon Industries, Institute of Aesthetics, Vocational Training Development Institute (VTDI), HEART School of Cosmetology, City and Guilds – London, and Excelsior Community College.

She also bolstered her academic credentials.

Rose-Cephas attended Dudley Cosmetology University in North Carolina, and received a Licentiateship (LCGI) from City and Guilds.

She also attained a diploma in teaching and training, and is now a trained trichologist – a professional who focuses on problems of the hair and scalp as well as their treatments.

The trichologist, in her address to graduates, indicated that she is not pleased with the stigma attached to certain professions, including cosmetology, defined as the study and application of beauty treatment.

“As skilled individuals – more so cosmetologists; they have been stigmatized negatively. That’s simply because persons weren’t educated about our career,” she posited.

She noted a number of prominent Jamaicans who have helped locally to advance cosmetology – reducing the stigma. Those stalwarts include Jennifer Samuda, Madame Rose Leon and – of course, Andreen Rose-Cephas.


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