The aim of ARROJO Cosmetology School is to give passionate creatives the chance for great careers as hairdressers. We are immensely proud, then, to feature Amber Lastoskie and McKenna Dixon. These young women are the first school graduates to become Senior Stylists at ARROJO Studio, one of the world’s most illustrious salons. They’ve also traveled the States and starred on stage alongside iconic hairdressers like Nick Arrojo and Patrick McIvor. Now celebrating 5 years on the salon floor, in their own words, here are their stories. . .
In 2012 I was still assisting and taking class every morning as part of my apprentice-training program at ARROJO Studio when I got word that Grace ( a classmate in cosmetology school) and I had been chosen to travel with the Artistic Team to the ABS show in Chicago. I remember thinking, ‘what a cool company!’ To take assistants to hair shows was amazing, I thought. It was inspiring to be there and see how respected the ARROJO name was. It inspired me to make sure that I always got to go on the road with the team!
Then in July of that year McKenna, Tina (another cosmetology school classmate), and I got to do our test presentation for the Master Stylists. It’s a tough, disciplined test of your hairdressing skills, but we all passed, becoming full time stylists. I felt so happy and proud.
As time passed I became more involved in the shows and educational seminars. When we were first getting in to hair painting I was able to be a part of the first ever ARROJO hair painting seminar. Now hair painting is part of the curriculum and I am often the lead educator in class; it’s amazing to see how things evolve over time, especially with all the opportunities we are given.
I taught alongside John Simpson (Former Creative Director, Goldwell), which was a great learning experience, and I’ve been a part of countless shows with Nick Arrojo, like Happy Mondays and Exposé. These events attract hundreds of hairdressers to come and see our latest trends and techniques via staged shows with runway models, video, and live demonstrations.
I think my favorite ever class was last year in Santa Monica. I was teaching alongside Nick. I had to present an American Wave Texture Service, and hair painting. After several years of being excited about presenting but still having butterflies about making sure I did a good job, I finally felt completely confident and relaxed. Again, it’s a testament to the culture of learning we enjoy at ARROJO.
We have open communication about hairdressing and one thing we wanted to do was add more theory to the color curriculum. I was asked to write this, and now it is used to train all ARROJO color apprentices. I also teach fast track, which is a way for apprentices to speed up their learning by bringing in models all the time. I went through it myself, so it is great to now be the teacher!
But one mustn’t forget that the key to success as a stylist is to have lots of clients, to be fully booked. It’s such a rewarding feeling to make somebody look and feel beautiful. Working with clients reminds me why I chose this career.
I’ve had a promotion every year since I became a colorist so I always feel like I am growing and tackling new challenges.
Another thing is the amount of hairdressers we’ve met along the way. I made some great friends; ARROJO has given me an extended family!
Overall, I am most thankful for the level of education I have received and the chance to become an educator myself. I realize that at ARROJO we have very high standards and because of that, I have very high standards, and have developed great habits. It’s very empowering to know that I am part of a group of elite hairdressers committed to sharing our knowledge with all stylists that want to be better at what they do. It all started at ARROJO Cosmetology School and I am so grateful for my time there. Since then, it’s been a whirlwind!
My first time teaching on the road was Happy Monday's with Nick and Amber in New Hampshire. I remember the trip like it was yesterday. I woke up to a text message from Gordon (Brand Operations Director) asking me if I could come and that I needed to be at the salon in an hour. I remember being so terrified yet so ready to share my knowledge with other hairdressers. It's always such a nerve racking experience to get up in front of a large group of people especially at the age of 19. But through the intense training I'd received over the past year, I felt confident and proud to be apart of this experience and share the ARROJO culture. Happily, I think the event went well!
One of my favorite parts about working at ARROJO is taking clients. I love my clients! Being in New York you meet the most incredible people from all over the world. Since being behind the chair, I have been promoted each year, most recently to Senior Stylist. I do between 40-50 clients a week!
Another great thing about working here is the opportunity to teach. Not only at the Advanced Academy here in New York, but we also get to travel and teach all over the US.
I have traveled to New Jersey, New York, Iowa, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, DC, and Washington. I love meeting new people and traveling to places I would probably never go to if it wasn't for ARROJO.
I also get to teach the cutting assistants, which to me is such a pleasure. It wasn’t so long ago that that was me! You get to work with them fresh out of cosmetology school until they are ready to be full-time stylists. The best part of that is watching them grow and develop and perfect new skills. We're a family here and it's all about making each other better hairdressers. So in teaching them, I get to grow as a teacher and continue to perfect my craft as well.
One of my favorite things I have done is create a video with Patrick McIvor, a true industry icon. I developed a beach wave blow dry using the flat brush that has really taken off here in the salon. It's been fun to share this with my coworkers, clients, and hairdressers that I meet. Patrick encouraged and helped me to turn it into a video that we’ve now shared with thousands on social media.
I have also worked on photo and video shoots with the ARROJO Artistic Team. The images we create are displayed in the windows at ARROJO studio, on the website, on business cards, and many of them have been published by magazines. Seeing and experiencing what goes on behind the scenes really gives you a sense of how much work goes into these projects. Not just the hair but makeup, wardrobe, location, styling –– we do everything ourselves, it’s a team effort. There's nothing more rewarding then coming into work and seeing the new collection in the windows and knowing you’ve been a part of making that happen!
My life changed the day I walked into ARROJO Cosmetology School. Now I’m a Senior Stylist at the best salon in the best city in the world.
To begin your own hairdressing story, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 646.979.2265 X 411 to arrange a tour of our campus and begin the enrollment process.