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Episode 8: Positivity Despite Hardships: How Master Colorist And MUA Alexandrea Villareal Continues To Look On The Bright Side

AFB 8 | Positivity

 

 

Alexandrea Villareal lives her life in bold, beautiful color! She specializes in making her clients’ gorgeous manes stand out in a crowd. After quickly gaining recognition on Instagram after doing the hair of a high-profile celebrity client, Alexandrea built a following on her social media channels rooted in two things: authenticity and relatability. She’s personable, a girl’s girl, and someone you’ll instantly fall in love with! When COVID-19 caused all salons to close for more than six months, Alexandrea’s salon took a hit that she’s still trying to recover from. And then tragedy struck, and she lost all of her personal possessions. Despite many hardships, Alexandrea stays amazingly positive and says she’s better off now for it. You’ll love her warm spirit and amazing heart. Plus, this makeup queen even provides her drugstore makeup recommendations for the beauty guru on a budget. Grab your breakfast, get comfy and enjoy!

For more, visit @ambitionforbreakfast on Instagram and editour.us!

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Positivity Despite Hardships: How Master Colorist And MUA Alexandrea Villareal Continues To Look On The Bright Side

Master Colorist, Makeup Artist, And Extensions Specialist Alexandrea Villareal Opens Up About How She Stays Positive In The Face Of Adversity

We have a very special guest. We have Alex joining us, one of our dear friends and editor influencers.

She’s proud to be one of our team members and we’re proud of her in everything that she does. She’s inspirational. You guys are going to fall in love with Alexandrea. Welcome to the show.

Thank you for the good introduction.

Thanks for being a part of the day and jumping on the show. You and I have known each other for such a long time. A little bit of background. You’re probably the first influencer I ever met. I remember it was back in the day that I was doing the New Hair Trends Magazine. I was the editor of it. I was hustling and trying to find connections. I found Alex’s work. It was amazing. She was a vivid stylist, specialist with extensions, and a celebrity stylist too. I was obsessed with her makeup, tats, and her piercings. I was like, “She is the coolest person I’ve ever known in my life.”

I remember that photo shoot too.

It popped up on my Facebook memories. You sent me the email and I posted it on my Facebook like, “This editor sent me an email that she wants to work with me.” I was so excited.

That’s the best feeling in the world. We made it happen. To my surprise, you were only in Temecula and we set up this nice shoot. That was the first time that we ever worked with Ralph. You are a part of it. It’s so special. I remember being so nervous before I met you, but then we met and I was like, “This is awesome. I hope every influencer is like this.” PS, they’re not. Alex is genuine. You are warming and welcoming from the minute that I met you. You were down to earth as well. I feel like it’s something that says a lot about you because you have so much success behind you, and you keep it so real. We had such a great time on set and then we became friends after.

We clicked so well from the beginning.

Tell us how you got started on social media, how your account picked up, and how it affected business?

I first started many years ago, but I was working in a corporate salon inside of the mall. I had a client that came in and she was well known for being on a TV show. I started doing her hair and she started posting about me doing her hair. That’s when my social media started picking up. It was crazy, especially with how hard it is to grow now then. If I would get tagged in one of her pictures, I would get maybe 6,000 followers from one post within ten minutes. I had bad-quality pictures back then. It was when social media first started to take off. I was like, “This is crazy. I’m not even posting that great of pictures and I’m still getting all these followers.” Once I started noticing I was gaining that following, I started trying to take better pictures. From then, it sped off and within a year of being successful on social media, I was able to quit corporate and go into my own business, which was nice because corporate takes everything from you. It happened fast.

I remember meeting you at a salon with quite a few chairs and then you went over into your own business where you had your own salon. How was that process like? I want to talk about the environments in both of them, if there was a toxic or if it made difference or things like that.

The salon that I worked at was a day spa and there were 150 stylists working there. I liked the atmosphere. I got along well with everyone, but my style and the kind of clientele I was bringing in compared to their clientele was clashing. It was almost uncomfortable to a point where my clients would come in and everyone would stare. Everyone would look at us. It was like I need a private space to make the clientele feel comfortable because they felt like they were being stared at because I don’t have an average client. I have clients that get wild things and that are in the salon all day long. New people find it strange.

From the corporate salon, did you go to renting out a salon suite?

I went from corporate to the day spa, which is where we did the shoot at for the magazine. From there, I went into my own suite.

That’s something that you don’t even think about because early on, vivid was not a huge thing as big as a category as it is now. You felt like you had to have privacy for your clients that specialized in this and wanted this. That’s a thing.

A lot of my clients are extra, so they’ll look a little bit extra. It was in Temecula. It’s conservative in Temecula. I’m getting clients coming from other places. I maybe have a handful of local clients. All my clients are from out of the area and places like LA, where they’re a little bit more colorful and out there. I feel like in Temecula, it was a shock to see those kinds of people coming in.

People even flew in to see you.

I had a few people flying, which is the best compliment ever.

I remember when you are telling me that this so natural. You’re like, “I have like clients flying in to see me.” It’s serious. It’s huge.

Do most of your customers come from Instagram still?

It does still come from Instagram, but I don’t take new clientele now. All the clientele that I have is the ones that I’ve had for years. I have kept it like that. Every now and then I’ll open it up to take new clients. For the most part, I have my clientele set in stone and that’s what I do.

A part of success is taking care of yourself.

2020 was such a hard year for the industry, and for salon owners, in particular. Tell us how your 2020 was, and how you had to pivot that strategy and that growth moving forward?

We’re working on where to go from here. 2020 set us back a lot business-wise and money-wise. It was a big setback. We are noticing even now, still clientele aren’t comfortable coming in because they’re afraid of the virus. I understand that. It is a little bit slower. We’re working on providing the best services in the safest environment possible for our clients and try to move on forward from there. We are taking new clientele, but at the same time, it’s scary taking new clientele because the clientele that I do have, I feel safe with. I feel like I know that they’re following the guidelines. They’re not going out, they’re wearing their masks, and social distancing. When you start bringing new clients into the mix, it’s almost scary because you don’t know them. You don’t know what they’re bringing into the salon. It’s been this fun thing where it’s like, “We’re getting to see new faces in the salon,” but then it’s also been a little bit scary. We’re taking it day by day, but it’s been crazy.

Especially in California, there have been many things thrown at hairstylists. You guys can do hair, but you have to do it outside. I remember your team and coworkers who you work with were very vocal about that when that all came into place. Did you guys ever end up going outside? The great thing is people are asking to go outside, but it’s 102-degree weather in Temecula.

Where our salons at, there’s a freeway up above us. I’m going to tell my clients, “Come, and get your hair done next to the dumpsters in the freeway.” I couldn’t even go down that road. We talked about it a little bit, dabbling with the idea of trying to go outside. When I thought about it, I was like, “There’s no way.”

It’s insane that salons were in the last rollout of businesses to re-open when it’s like to get your license to be a hairstylist, there’s so much sanitation and so much that goes into it that’s more than like a normal business. You guys are excellent in sanitation.

What was crazy about it is I was telling the girls at the salon, “These people that work at restaurants and stuff, you have to get a food handler’s license.” You can get a food handler’s license in 30 minutes, but yet we went to school for 1,600 hours. That’s what you learn in cosmetology school is sanitation. You’re not learning the skill of hairdressing, you’re learning sanitation. I’m like, “How can these people work?” I have 1,500 hours of sanitation. It was frustrating.

More on the personal level, how has the pandemic changed your life?

I got into a little bit of a funk where I was bummed. I wasn’t seeing clients or anyone. I was staying home. As with everyone else, that can get to you. You can go a little bit stir crazy being at home. On the business side of it, I spent all these years building this business. What am I going to go back to? Am I going to go back to nothing? It was scary. It puts your head in a crazy place to think about things like that. All of these years of work could be over this.

When salons were able to start opening up, how did you transition? How are things for you now?

The first shutdown that we had when we first went back, I went all-in. We did all of our safety protocols, but I dived in head-first. I was like, “I’m going to take as many clients as I can get in.” I burnt myself out. The second shutdown I learned because the first time, by the time that they had been announced we were open, I found out because I had hundreds of text messages, “Are you open? Can I get my hair done?” I took it on. I was like, “Let’s start it. Let’s go.” Everyone at the salon was burnt out because first of all, we went from not working for four months. I’ve been doing hair for many years and standing on my feet all day has never bothered me, but not doing it for four months and going back to it. I’m fricking tired. My back hurts, my feet hurt, and I felt like it slowed me down.

The physical demands of being a hairstylist, most people will never understand that.

It’s a lot of strain on your body. You wouldn’t think that not doing it for a few months would make a difference, but it did.

How do you take care of yourself at the end of a busy workday? How do you do that self-care?

I bought myself a jacuzzi. I’m in a jacuzzi every night, and it is the best investment I’ve ever made. My little hour in the evening, getting in the jacuzzi, decompress, and hang out. That’s my me time and I love it. I enjoy it.

That makes me happy because I’ve never heard you have me time in your entire life.

The beginning of quarantine was a lot more difficult. When we were getting towards the end, I was like, “I think I needed this. I need to step back.” I realized that I want to work hard, but I don’t want to work and put myself in those positions where I’m not tired because I was getting burnt out. I was almost getting to the point where my job wasn’t enjoyable anymore. I don’t ever want to take from that because I love my job. I don’t ever want it to be, “This is just work,” because that’s a great thing about being in this industry is it is fun and rewarding that I don’t ever want to feel like, “I don’t want to go to work.” I feel like that little step back made me realize to slow down and enjoy it because you’re very lucky to have a job that you can enjoy so much.

How does it feel to transform people, make them feel beautiful, and have that confidence?

It’s the best thing I’ve ever felt in my entire life. You get one of those clients that you can tell that they’re there to feel better about themselves. They’re going through a rough time. You can make them feel better. It’s the best feeling ever. I know to some people it’s just hair, it’s not a big deal, but the way that you feel when you have your hair done and you feel good about yourself can change your entire mood.

What made you want to be a hairstylist in the first place? What has gotten you passionate about beauty?

I don’t remember ever not wanting to be a hairstylist. My mom did hair when I was growing up. I was always around it. I don’t ever even remember ever wanting to do anything else. It was always like my first grade when we had our career day thing. I have a little paper, two little stick figures, and it’s like a hair salon. I always wanted to do it.

Mom is the biggest source of inspiration.

AFB 8 | Positivity

Positivity: A great thing about being in the hair and makeup industry is it is so fun and rewarding.

 

I wanted to switch gears because it’s been a tough year with the pandemic, but also you went through something extremely hard with your house and the fire. We wanted to check-in and to see how you’re doing, but also to recap and go over what happened.

About a week before Thanksgiving, my house had a garage fire. My husband even lost his truck and motorcycle. We lost everything except for the clothes we were wearing. I feel like it’s still shocking. You go from having a home and having all these things and within ten minutes, having nothing. You are like, “I’m homeless.” I was staying at my parents’ house but you almost feel like, “Wow.” I turned 30 that year and I was like, “This is not where I thought I would be at 30, back in my parents’ house, starting over from scratch.” That’s what we’ve been doing is starting over during the pandemic. It’s a lot, especially when work isn’t as steady as it should be and you have to get all these things that you don’t think about.

We did find a house. We’re back in the house and we’re excited. We love it. We’re happy, but it’s the little things that you don’t think about like, “We need forks and knives.” It’s all those things that you go back to that you don’t think about that you need. On the other aspect of it, I was telling my husband, I almost feel like relieved. I carried around all this stuff with me for so long. I had a lot of stuff like makeup, and things that I loved, and I felt like it was this huge part of me. It was almost nice to get rid of it and be like, “That’s just materialistic things. I don’t need that.” At the end of the day, I and my husband were safe. It almost put me in a different mindset. That’s where I am now. I’m more into my things for a while where I lost all these things. Now I’m like, “It’s just things. They’re all replaceable.” We’re happier now than when we were before.

Mentally having to start from scratch and rebuild your life, I can’t even imagine the toll that took on you.

It was stressful. It’s something that you don’t ever think about. When I was younger, my little brother caught himself on fire. I’ve always been afraid of fire. He spent maybe three months in the burn center. It was bad. I’ve always been that person that’s like, “Make sure no candles are on. Make sure the stove is off.” I always make sure there’s nothing that could catch on fire. To have my home catch on fire, I was shocked. Sometimes I think about it and I’m like, “I cannot believe that.”

Was it bad wiring? Is that what happened?

It was faulty wiring in the garage sparked next to the furnace and the furnace blew up.

Thank goodness you were not home.

We were not home, but on any normal day, we would have been home. It was honestly like a freak thing that we weren’t home. On any other day, we would have both been home.

Someone is watching over you.

It could have been a lot worse. If we would’ve been home, it would have been bad. Thankfully my pets got out safe, we’re out safe. We lost everything, but at least we have each other.

It’s almost like you are afraid of fire. Does your husband share that same mentality or is he still mourning the stuff at the time?

He’s having a harder time than I am, especially because he was doing his own handyman business. He had all of his tools and he lost $50,000 worth of tools plus his work truck. That’s not just something you can replace overnight. That’s a big chunk to replace. He’s having a harder time with it than I am. He holds onto materialistic things more than I do. Not materialistic but sentimental thing. He’s like, “I don’t have that thing from when I was a kid.” I’m good at throwing stuff away. I don’t get attached to things as much as he does, so he’s having a harder time. We have a house and we’re getting settled. I can tell, he’s feeling definitely relieved.

Are there things that you guys need like you were saying forks and stuff. As far as work goes and your makeup goes, do you need things? How did you start over?

I have great clients that a lot of them sent me gifts, money, gift certificates to buy new makeup. I had the girls at the salon all pitched in for Christmas and got me a big Sephora gift card to purchase stuff back. Slowly, I’ve been getting stuff. I’ve been setting aside $50 a week to go and buy something for the house or buy something that we need. At first, when we first moved into the house, I was like, “We need this. I’ll go buy it all.” That’s not realistic. I haven’t worked for almost a whole year. I can’t go buy all these things. I’ve had tried to slow myself down. “It’s okay. When you get it, you get it.” I’m trying not to let stress about it.

What a whirlwind 2020 was for you.

It was crazy for everyone, but that’s what I was telling to girls in the salon, “I guess it wouldn’t be 2020 if my house didn’t blow up.” What a way to end the worst year.

For you to come out so positive and to be like, “I benefited from this in terms of I shed some things that I didn’t need.” That’s amazing to have that mindset.

When we moved into the new house, even though it sucks that we don’t have anything, we don’t have to move anything. We get a house, get keys, move in, and we didn’t have to move anything. It was nice because I was always like, “If we ever move out of this house, it’s going to take us so long because we have so much stuff that we have to move.” I was telling my mom, “Did I manifest my house blowing up because I don’t want to move all this stuff?” I’m trying to look at it in a positive way.

That was devastating to see you go through that. I know that it isn’t over yet, you’re still rebuilding. We love your attitude. Only you would turn this into a positive outlook, which is inspiring.

Thank you. That’s the only way to look at it. I was sad for a while and I was like, “I got to stop being sad over this. There are way worse things that could have happened.” I have my health, I have my husband, our animals are safe. It could be so much worse. You have to be grateful for what you do have. Although I don’t have a lot, I have what matters.

Being successful is having goals, doesn’t matter how big or small they are, and crushing and accomplishing them.

Do you mind if I ask because I know that we touched on this before about your renter’s insurance? Did you end up getting any claims from that?

Unfortunately, not. I had renter’s insurance. We lived at my home for three years and I had it the first year. I don’t know if you guys have renter’s insurance, but it’s such a small amount that comes out of your account. I was on autopay. I didn’t even notice because it was like $10 or $11 that would come out of my account. When it stopped coming out, I never even noticed that it wasn’t coming out. It’s something that you don’t think about. You don’t ever think that some crazy disaster is going to happen. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to claim anything from it. Because of the homeowners’ insurance, the fire damage was so bad that they couldn’t pinpoint what exactly caused the fire. There’s no fault on either side, my side or the landlord’s side. Her insurance won’t pay us out anything because nothing bad on her side technically. They can’t find anything because the fire damage was so bad.

My whole thing too is if you’re a landlord it’s your job to make sure that your renter’s insurance is up to date. You should have been told once a year, “Do you have your renter’s insurance?” You’d be like, “Let me go read this or check this out.”

She never even required us to have it. The years when I had it, it was because of the place that I lived at previously. They made us have it. When I moved in, I was like, “We already have renter’s insurance. I’m going to carry it over.” She never even asked like, “Do you have renter’s insurance?” It was never a conversation.

It was an old house too, so the wiring is faulty.

We’ve had problems with the wiring in the home before. We had a lot of other problems with the home because it is an older home, but we never complained about it, which is wrong on our part. I should have maybe complained a little bit more, but my husband has always fixed everything.

What do you see and what are some goals that you have for 2021?

Things have been so crazy. I haven’t thought about what I want to do next. I know that I want to be happy. I want to expand my business and get back into working, being busy, and being happy about what I’m doing. I’m not working myself too crazy, but getting backed up there because 2020 has taken a hit and things are a little bit slower. I would like to get back up to where it is a little bit busier, but at the same time, I don’t want to overdo it. I’m taking it day by day.

We are talking about how a part of success is taking care of yourself. For hairstylists, you’re on your feet so much. The longevity you have on your own career, you have to make sure to take care of yourself and your health.

Years ago, if someone would ask me what being successful meant, I would be like, “Successful is making this amount of money and having all these things.” Now to me being successful is having goals. It doesn’t matter how big or how small they are, crushing them and accomplishing them. Also, being successful is believing in yourself because if you believe in yourself and you know that you can accomplish something, that’s so successful.

Who are the people that inspire you?

Hairstylist-wise?

Anybody. It could be someone in your life.

My mom inspired me the most than anyone. My mom and my dad are both the best people ever. In the hair industry, I am inspired by Antonio. I love everything he does. I saw his Instagram. I stalk him all the time and watching all of his stories. Antonio is cool. I love Antonio. He’s inspiring. I love Wella. She’s inspiring too. I love everything she’s doing.

All of our team.

You are inspiring because you guys are doing so much. I’m proud of you. You are the definition of girl bosses. Everyone wants to be like you.

We can say the same thing about you.

That’s how this all started out. I was like, “I love this girl.”

You have an inspiring team. Everyone that works with you guys, you could look at and be inspired by every single person that works with you.

That’s incredible too because we get compliments on our roster all the time. Even with you too, you don’t just pigeon hole yourself into one category. Your most unique person on our roster because you’re doing hair and you’re doing makeup. You’re talented at both. You have that huge star quality about you already. Also, being a business owner. When we were in our twenties, and you were like, “Can I go ahead and do my own salon?” I was like, “I’m scared.” You’re like, “I’m going to go ahead and be my own business owner. It’s okay.”

That’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself is to be my own business because it is rough out there working for someone else in the beauty industry. Especially when you start doing high-dollar services and you’re working at a corporation and they take everything from you. Going out on my own was probably the best decision I ever made.

AFB 8 | Positivity

Positivity: The way that you feel when you have your hair done and feel good about yourself can change your entire mood.

 

When we’re talking about success too, back in the day, you used to travel all the time and doing the shows and it was exhausting work. You should have been paid ten times more for that work. How do you feel about that now? Would you want to go back to traveling all the time? Do you miss it?

I would love to go back. I miss show energy. I always tell people that are in the beauty industry, “The energy of that is at a hair show. You do not even understand it until you go to a hair show.” It’s crazy. It’s like a circus, but it’s a fun circus. It’s inspiring. You see all these stage sets for these amazing stylists doing what they love, being able to look however they want to look, and killing it. It’s inspiring to see. I love shows. I would love to go back.

There are no big personalities too. It’s fun to see people in their element on stage demonstrate.

A dummy in the aisles with a whole group of people behind him.

It is a lot though. I feel like after you get home from a hair show, you need a good three days to recover from all the energy and the craziness of it. I love hair shows, I would love to go back, and do some teaching. I love to teach. I love to do some stuff at hair shows.

We’ve talked about this too like getting into education, coming beyond the chair, going into maybe a more creative director role for brands. I want to know what would be some of your dream brands to do education for and to work with?

Olaplex would be my number one. I love Olaplex and everything they stand for. I love the people. After working with a lot of brands and realizing that it’s not just the actual products that you have to love. You have to love the people and you have to love the brand. That’s the most important thing because I’ve worked with brands that I love the product, but I don’t love the people. It ruins the product. It sucks when you believe a product is bad, but then the brand does have the right morals and the right things. That’s a turnoff. Olaplex is the brand that I love the people, products, and everything they stand for. That would be my number one. I would love to work with PRAVANA. Those are my top two. I love big and sexy hair.

They have Pro line and they’ve been doing some awesome things too.

There are lots of good brands out there.

You are in your element. Even when there are lives that need to take place, you have always taken the reins and be like, “I can do the lives. I can do this and that.” You kill it. What do you do to get that confidence? You’re very humble and you say, “It’s hard. I didn’t do my best.” When you are live, when you’re on stage and talking about education or doing your thing, you are a star.

Thank you for saying that because I feel the opposite. When I see myself, I’m like, “That was bad.” I don’t feel necessarily that confident when I’m up there and when I’m talking. I stay with what I know and try my best, but when I’m up there, I feel so shy and quiet. I feel like sometimes that there are other people that can outshine me because I am a little bit more quiet and reserved. Sometimes I feel intimidated. Hearing you say that makes me feel good because I do feel intimidated a lot when I’m live or when I’m doing these kinds of things.

I honestly know that I can depend on you for doing live content and take over content. I’m like, “Alex is in a clutch.” You turn it on. Maybe it’s because you’ve been an influencer longer than a lot of influencers in the hair industry these days. We had people sprout up and this category has grown so much. Back in the day, maybe there were like 100 by the time that you were starting to get bigger.

That was small when I started, when it was a thing to be an influencer. I feel like that it was easy because you posted a few pictures and you would blow up. Now you have to do TikTok, you have to do everything, you have to go live, you have to be more personable. Where before when I first started, you posted a picture and you got all these likes, and all these followers, but now you have to almost be more personable and put yourself out there more. That’s what I’m working on is trying to put myself out there a little bit more and not be so shy because I feel I am very shy.

Do you feel like you’re more of an introvert than an extrovert?

It depends on the situation.

You have to connect with clients and there’s a very extrovert in this that you need to be able to have that connection and build that clientele.

In the salon, it’s easy for me. That’s my favorite thing about being in the salon is the clients that I have such a connection. It’s the best thing ever because they feel like family.

From me, watching your career, I feel like you also feed off of other people’s energies a lot. If you’re around a group of people who you vibe with and they’re also giving a certain amount of energy, you’re able to meet it and exceed it as well. You’ve done events where I’ve thrown you on the stage in front of these huge executives in the beauty industry. I’m like, “She’ll kill it. She’s doing great.” You did and you do.

Even though I’m a little bit shy and quieter than stuff, I do think I have a very likable personality. That’s where it comes easy. I do feel like I have a likable personality that makes it a little bit easier. I’m like, “It’s okay. They’re going to like me.” Not to sound conceited but I do feel like I’m very likable and easy to talk to. That helps me a lot.

You were saying you feel like some people might shine brighter, but it’s not about who speaks the loudest, it’s who has the most to say, and who’s genuinely authentic. I feel like you have such an authenticity about you that people are like, “There’s no BS here.”

That’s what I want people to feel about me. I want them to be like, “She’s a cool person to talk to.” I don’t want anyone ever to feel intimidated. Sometimes I can feel that about others. The beauty industry in general is intimidating.

It’s not who speaks the loudest that has the most to say.

I have a group of people who are influencers and people’s heads can start getting bigger but yours never got big. You’re grounded and I commend you on that, especially with you being at the forefront of this movement, which is very commendable. You’ve done a good job of keeping your head straight. Social media side is a plus, inspiring people, and you are your worst critic as we are all are our worst critic. I know you overthink your art before you post it and stuff, but I’m proud of you. That’s what we strive to do. With everything that you’ve gone through, I’m just proud of you. Brands need to tap more into people who are relatable rather than looking at numbers, engagement, and followers because that’s what brands are lacking. Brands are lacking being relatable and relatability. If they don’t have people that are on their team that can do that, it’s not going to translate.

All the time too. Someone might have almost a million followers, but they don’t have any selling power. It’s not translating with their audience. It’s not a numbers game. It’s all about who’s able to connect because you find it hard to tap into your audience and connect with them because social.

I’ve been lacking on posting, especially in 2020, I haven’t posted much. When I do post, especially on my stories, I interact with all of my audience that talks back to me and it’s fun. It’s gotten to a point where it’s a lot like texting, “I hope you’re doing good.” It was back and forth and I love that. It’s not hard for me to connect with them at all. I struggle with pushing out the content.

I want to know why. Why do you struggle with that?

I don’t know. I feel like this has been an ongoing struggle for a few years where I’ve been stuck at this one spot and I’m not going up or going down. I was working so much at the salon and putting so much into the salon. When I got home, I was putting content on the back burner, especially when I first started posting content. My main focus was I wanted to do the hair to get a picture for social media. I’ve switched gears where I want to do hair because I love it. To me it’s not about the picture at the end. Before, I was focusing so much on one picture and I was almost driving myself crazy because I was spending so much thought and time in these pictures.

I’m like, “I’m not here to be a social media star. I’m here to be the best hairdresser that I can be.” I took a step back and I was like, “I need to focus more on my career in the salon than my social media.” I put it on the back burner, but now I’m at a place where I reversed it. I would rather step back a little bit from behind the chair because I’m tired. I’m doing hair for years. My hands are tired. I’m losing grip on one of my hands. I’m getting a carpal tunnel. I want to step back a little bit from that and then jump back into social media. I feel like I’ve gotten myself so far behind, it’s hard to jump back into it.

Don’t say that because if you jump back into it, it’s going to increase every single time that you jump back on to stories. You can build it up. It’s not too late. It’s like what you’re saying about interacting with your followers. They want to see that intention. You saw what I did with my summer project for that pages. It’s not even about the followers anymore. It’s about community and having that community. What that community is going to give you is it’s going to open doors into new opportunities and help us to find these opportunities that you want to have in the future no matter what. If you want to take time off of social media, you take your time off, but if you want to come back into social media, it will pick up. You just have to start somewhere again.

Consistency is everything. I feel like it is a lot easier for me to be consistent if I jumped right in because I slowed down my form schedule. Instead of being there every day, after this big wave of clients that have gone in, after I’m done with that, I would love to only work at the salon two days a week. That’s my biggest goal. Two days of the week and then the rest of the time. It’s hard to ground yourself at home. When you’re at home, you’re like, “I’m working, but I’m not working.” That’s what I need to help myself with because you’re not at the salon, but this needs to be a workday. You need to pump out some stuff and post it rather than watching 90-Day Fiancé reruns.

It was a transition for me. I did not like the office environment. I didn’t have what you have in your salon with your girlfriends. I was never made for an office environment. I was never made for college or having a boss or in an office.

I was going to say reporting to an authority.

I figure I wasn’t made for that. It was still an adjustment when I worked at home. How I did is I would create little sections, little stations and be like, “This is my workstation. This is where my work is going to be. I know when I’m over here, I’ll work.” Making your space something that you’re able to unplug. It’s also interesting too because here I am working from home. We’re in our family room. This is the most high traffic area of our house and it is where I’m doing my work now.

John’s like, “Can I come downstairs?” I’m like, “No, stay upstairs,” because it’s my whole office. The entire house is my office. I don’t get down and working late into the night. At the same time, this is my lifestyle. I have many dreams and goals that I know that the things I’m doing and the hours I’m putting in is going to be something. It’s going to pay off. It’s getting started, but I agree with you. How was your transition from being in the office to working from home?

I almost still feel like I work in an office because I could be at my computer for eight hours and then my fiancé is like, “It’s dinner time. You need to get up.” I do not realize that much time has gone by. I like it in the sense that there’s almost less distraction. I feel like office life is every day people are coming into your office every hour. The drive is BS. I feel like it was a lot of weight off my shoulders. We always say what we do is a lifestyle. I feel like most of the job doesn’t even feel like work. We’re blessed to have that creative freedom. If I have an idea, 10 times out of 10 it’s like, “Let’s do it. I’m done.”

What is the best thing about this industry is you don’t get bored because you can always do something? The freedom is awesome. I don’t think after working the way that I worked, I could ever work a regular 9:00 to 5:00. I would go crazy. I like having to worry about myself and that’s it. It’s so much easier that way.

Do you feel like you’ve built this tribe in your salon of women who support each other? Is that a support system?

The group of girls that we have in the salon is the best group of girls I’ve ever worked with in my entire years of working. I love it so much. I feel like I’m so lucky. Especially during the first quarantine, we were talking all day like, “I miss you guys so much. I don’t even want to work, but I need to see you guys.” We are on Zoom call all the time. It’s awesome to have that place where you feel safe. I feel like I can go and I can be myself. We talk about important things. It’s so much bigger than going to work and doing hair. It is this family that we created and it’s awesome.

We also need to go to your next Christmas party. I know you guys have big Christmas parties every year.

We had a slumber party. We put beds out in the salon and we slept at the salon.

Also, the Halloween.

The Halloween party, we were bummed. We didn’t get to have our parties all the way in 2020. Hopefully, in 2021 things will be a little bit better by then, and we can have our big annual Halloween party because it’s so much fun. All of our clients come and our clients look forward to it. All my clients in 2020 were still bummed. They were like, “I don’t even care about my hair. I want to come to the Halloween party.” I’m like, “Not in 2020.” Everyone looks forward to it. It’s fun.

We love parties. My first industry parties were with you. We went to the Gerard Cosmetics Party. We went to the NYX Face Awards together.

AFB 8 | Positivity

Positivity: Being successful is believing in yourself. Because if you believe in yourself, you know that you can accomplish something so successful.

 

We went to a Bellamy Party together a few times.

Anytime there was a party, I’m like, “Do you want to go?” You’d be like, “Do you want to go?” I’m like, “Sure, let’s go.” That was the beginning of events. For me, you being in this industry and be going to these events, meeting these influencers, knowing these influencers, how has it changed?

The first time I went to the NYX Face Awards, we stood in the line for three hours. No one knew anything about who we were. In 2020, you’re putting on American Influencer Awards in a big ball gown. How crazy is that? Even my mom was like, “I’m so proud of Breanna.” I remember her riding in the backseat of the car going to the NYX Face Awards. “Now she’s doing this whole big production.” She’s crazy to see this how far you’ve changed in four years. Isn’t that crazy when you think about it?

Four years is like a high school career. We’re lucky.

It’s cool to see that it’s a whole different element going from the first time we ever went to an award show together, then going to American Influencer Awards. The last time I went to the American Influencer Awards, I have to wait in a big line. That was different. I got to go right in.

Aside from even events too, when we talk about this, it’s almost discouraging sometimes because we see these amazing influencers who used to be our idols and people who you used to meet all the time. Back in the day when I would go with you to events or we’d go to Fame and we started the Brow Down blog and doing the most, how has it been to see these personalities change a little bit?

Sometimes it’s sad. I’ve seen one influencer that’s popping who’s doing well for himself. We used to talk all the time. There are few of them, but we talk all the time on Instagram. He followed me and I followed him. Once he blew up, he deleted me off Instagram like he doesn’t know who I am. When I see him at events, I want to go say hi to him but I almost feel like I can’t even say hi to him because I’m not at his level to him. I don’t even think he would want to talk to me. That’s sad because it shouldn’t be like that. It shouldn’t matter how many followers you have, how successful you are. If you’re a cool person, if you’re a good person, you should be able to accept everyone.

Treat everybody the way you would want to be treated.

I feel like these influencers get to this point where they’re like, “If you don’t have X amount of followers or this much, you can’t sit with us.”

It’s also toxic for the followers. A lot of them are young and impressionable.

A lot of it is super fake. It’s not genuine. A lot of these connections that you do make, I almost feel like, “Is that a genuine connection or do they want to piggyback off of this, or do they only want to be friends with you because you have some amount of followers?” To me, it doesn’t matter how many followers someone has. If someone is a good person, I want to be a part of that person’s circle.

Our roster is genuine and there are no egos and it’s so refreshing. It’s wild because this social media monster can turn people into beasts. They can have a complete personality change then it makes you think, “Were they like this the entire time? Was this inside of them?” Now it’s brought to light. Also, that’s such a good way of concealing it unless you know them and are around them.

I see a difference in the makeup community and the hair community where it’s a lot easier in the hair community to be accepting no matter how many followers you have. In the makeup community, it’s a little bit more cutthroat. They’re a little bit more catty in the makeup industry. In the hair, all of the big stylists that I know are humble and kind. In the makeup industry, it is a little bit different.

It’s also like you had to become a licensed professional, your credibility there that everyday makeup influencer, they might pick it up on the fly. Maybe it worked out for them after they posted a lot of makeup content and they fell into it. It’s not like they worked hard to get there.

In general, the makeup influencer thing is so much bigger than hair influencers because someone regular that wants to do makeup can look at a makeup influencer and be like, “She did her makeup. I can do my makeup.” Someone that doesn’t do hair can’t look at the way I do and can be like, “I could do that too.” Unless you’re a licensed professional, I feel like it’s a lot easier for people to resonate with makeup industry than it is with the hair industry. The hair industry is mostly made up of fans. The fans of the hair industry are also in the hair industry. They’re also hairstylists. You don’t have that following that these makeup artists have. Hairstylists don’t have it like that. They have it within the hair community, but not outside of it. It is because a regular person can see it from a regular person that doesn’t have a license like, “She picked up this. She does make up and look at how successful she is. I can do that too.”

It is all about being relatable now in the whole thing.

Makeup artists are more relatable than the hairstylist.

Moving forward, what are you going to be doing with social media? What do you enjoy creating the most? Do you love creating makeup looks on yourself or do you like to do the hair looks on your clients?

Makeup on myself. That’s also where I feel like I struggled because I started out as a hair page posting my work. I’ve noticed brands that don’t want to work with me because they say I’m too much hair, too much makeup. Hair brand thinks I post too much makeup and makeup brand thinks I post too much hair. I feel like that’s hard. If I were to pursue social media more, it would be in the makeup realm.

I love seeing people on our feed as much as possible. I’m super excited for that.

I need to get into a better routine. My makeup room is almost finished at my new house. That will motivate me a little bit.

The best thing about the hair and makeup industry is you don’t get bored because you can always do something.

You got to do a little makeup room tour for us.

It’s going to be an Amazon tour because I got everything from Amazon.

You could do Amazon live.

My whole house looks like Amazon.

You do room on a budget with Amazon finds.

That’s a good idea because you can find some gems on Amazon.

You can if you search.

The Amazon driver is my favorite person.

Ours too, always. I’ve been getting a lot of Shein stuff, but I ended up only keeping a few pieces and I’ll have this whole order of 15 items and I only keep 2, then I’ll return them, then I have this credit. I’m like, “I’ll go and buy some more.” I’ll get fifteen pieces and it’s this reoccurring cycle. I’m like, “This is becoming a full-time job almost to return all this clothing, but I didn’t want to.” I was getting my toothbrush, the electric one. I remember when John and I first started dating, which was many years ago, I was like, “I needed an electric toothbrush. I’ve have never had one.” He was like, “You should order that on Amazon.” I’m like, “Why?” I didn’t even know what Amazon was. I didn’t do online buying. I thought it was schemey because one time I had my data stolen from PayPal. I was like, “I’m going to stay off of online finances.” I was telling him, “You’re the one who created this beast because now we’re getting Amazon deliveries every single day.” I hide it. I have it stashed all over the house. I’m like, “I don’t even remember some of these things.”

During quarantine was my biggest shopping spree ever. It was because I was bored at home. Did you see the TikTok where people are like, “If you look in your Amazon account here, you can see how much money you’ve spent on Amazon in the year?” Don’t do it. I don’t recommend doing it. I did it. In 2019, I placed one order with Amazon. In 2020, I placed 143 orders. It all got burnt away, but I still purchased them.

I bet mine is higher than that because I don’t leave the house to get batteries anymore. Even during the pandemic, my fiance would get groceries on the Amazon. I didn’t leave the house anymore.

How do I find that out on Amazon?

You have to go to all these little setting things. I don’t recommend doing it because when I’ve seen how much money I spent, I was like, “What is wrong with me? I have a real problem.”

What are your makeup recommendations? What are you loving?

My favorite foundation always forever is Estee Lauder. That’s my number one. I don’t have any palettes anymore. I’ve been trying to get palettes that I know that I’ve been wanting for a long time. I got that ABH Norvina palette. I’m obsessed with it.

Is it the neon one?

The volume one.

I didn’t hear a lot of buzz about the Norvina palette. I was like, “I guess I could live without it. One palette is fine.”

My all-time favorite palette is Anastasia Modern Renaissance.

That velvet pink case, I love that palette.

She came out with a soap brow. I need to try that. I haven’t tried that yet. I want that. It looks good.

AFB 8 | Positivity

Positivity: Love the people, love the product, and love everything they stand for.

 

I have been using the KVD Vegan Beauty 24-Hour Brow.

Do you like it?

It’s the best product ever. I’ll wake up in the morning and I’ll sew my brows on.

Have you tried the NYX Brow Markers?

No, I haven’t.

It’s the Lift & Snatch. It’s like a little felt tip but it makes the perfect hair strokes and they stay on so good. You could rub your eyebrow and they’re still on.

I have the Lime Crime Bushy Brow one.

I haven’t used that yet.

Back in the day, Alex and I used to have a blog called the Brow Down. I was wild out here talking about friends.

This is before everyone out here is getting canceled too.

I love my friend’s team now, but I did say that at the time, there was some drama with the owner. I did call her a weight snatching wood beetle in a post. I remember when we would go to those shows, we would wait in line. All I could afford was one little Lime Crime bullet lipstick. I still have it and I never used it, the grape one.

I don’t think I’ve ever used any of Lime Crime products, maybe a lipstick. It’s funny because they are aesthetic and their colors stick out to me. You called her what you called her, I just can’t.

I’m back to using Lime Crimes.

Another product I could talk about is eyelashes. I have seen this viral video about these eyelashes on this girl on TikTok. I scroll TikTok all day long. They’re from Amazon and they’re the best eyelashes ever. They’re $8. They’re not your everyday lash, but for $8 for six pairs of them, you can’t go wrong. The price is going up because they went viral on TikTok. The price is up to $9 for the full package.

What is the brand?

It’s like some weird brands, HBZGTLAD. They might be sold out. Within two days on TikTok it went to number one seller because of one of the girls that posted it. I got it right on time when they were still $8. The price went up, but it’s a steal, so I’m loving it.

You would know all the secrets.

Amazon queen over here.

I did get the Jeffree Star’s Orgy Palette and it’s the same color tones over and over. I was thinking that there might’ve been some warmer ones, but it’s a little bit ashier on the ashy side, but Higgins in general are lit on another level.

I felt turned off by Jeffree Star’s products. When Blood Sugar came out, I was like, “I have to have that.” I haven’t felt like that in any of his new stuff.

His Christmas collection, I want to try to get some stuff but I didn’t. Usually, I’ll get the girls some stuff or some mystery boxes and be like, “This will be fun for Christmas or something.” This time I was like, “No. I didn’t want one thing.” I replenish what I know I’d like from Jeffree Star.

The need for people to get their haircut or to feel like they want to pamper themselves will never go away.

I’ve been using a lot of drugstore stuff, which I wasn’t using for a while. I was using the high end. Since I don’t have anything anymore, I’ve been doing more drugstore stuff and I’m finding a lot of stuff. I’m like, “I’ve been sleeping on this, trying to get these bougie brands when this is as good.”

Tell us what.

All the brow products I have been using are all drugstore. I would always do the Too Faced or ABH, but you can get products that are as good for a lot cheaper.

These are all gems that we would love to see on your social. I know people would be happy to know your recommendation.

I need to post them because there are a lot of steals. Lipstick-wise like the liquid lips, I was buying only Kylie for so long and the L’Oréal Infallible. Those lipsticks are so good.

I’m hearing that from other people too. They’re not drying like Kylie’s.

You get so stuck on the names like, “I wanted all this nice makeup and I wanted the expensive stuff.” Now that I’ve had to step down a little bit, I’m like, “Back then when I first started wearing makeup drugstore stuff sucked,” but they have stepped up their game.

Beauty salons are almost built out and like some CVS I’ve seen, and they have professional products. You can go there and get PRAVANA and Pureology. I’m like, “What is going on? It’s fabulous.”

A lot of especially stylists don’t love that you could buy stuff like that in places like that. I think it’s fine. I know there was like a big thing about Olaplex being sold in Sephora. The stylists were unhappy with that, but that’s great. It works out.

Consumers need it too. Especially now with the pandemic, you had to make these things accessible. Especially, the hair industry has taken a huge hit and it’s crazy. These are huge mega brands, like Disneyland type of brands and they’re hurting. Business is not as usual. There’s nothing that’s been announced that says that there will be business as usual soon. There’s no timeline. It was just all in the air.

That’s the crazy thing. There’s no timeline to anything. That’s where it also gets frustrating because everything’s so up in the air right now. We’re open today, but we could be close tomorrow. It happens that fast. You don’t even have time to prepare for anything.

I can’t even keep up. John was telling me that, “This zone is going to go into the orange zone.” I’m like, “I don’t know these zones. How do I even find out what about these zones?” I watch the news. John’s on his Yahoo News all day long scrolling and he knows all the news.

I was keeping up with it a lot in the beginning, but I realized that I had to step back from it and not watch it because I was focused so much on the news and it’s depressing to watch. I had to step back from it.

You’re then like, “When are we going to get the announcement? Is this going to be temporary?” At the very beginning, we were like, “A few weeks. I got it. Awesome.” Now it’s like, “This is life. This is serious.”

I’m hoping for the best and hoping we don’t have another shutdown. If we do, I feel bad because I know there are a lot of salons that aren’t going to survive it or haven’t survived these last few shutdowns. It’s sad. I hope that everyone can hold on and keep their business.

There’s always going to be a need for people to get their haircut or to feel like they want to pamper themselves. That’s something that will never go away.

I think it’ll be okay.

We love your positivity, radiant energy, and everything you do.

You’re awesome. We’re happy to be able to have you on. Where can our readers follow you?

@AlexandreaVillareal on Instagram. All my handles on every social media platform are Alexandrea Villareal.

Thank you so much.

AFB 8 | Positivity

Positivity: It’s a lot easier in the hair community to be accepted, no matter how many followers you have. The makeup community is a little bit more cutthroat.

 

Thanks for having me. It was fun to talk to you, guys. It’s been so long.

We’ll come down and see you. We have some goodies for you.

We are going to catch up soon.

Let me know whenever you guys can come down or I can come up there to hang out with you guys. I want to see your new studio.

It’d be an honor. Let us know when and film with us. You did a BCC takeover too. It’s stunning.

I liked doing the takeovers. They’re fun.

You’re a queen at it.

You are killing it.

You guys too.

Thank you so much.

Thank you, guys.

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