It’s All in the Family – Meet the Carrillos

Following in his daughter’s footsteps . . . John Carrillo first visited Bellus Academy to enroll his daughter in cosmetology school. He ended up touring the school and enrolling as well. Below, the professional landscaper and his daughter share how they’re living the beauty school dream together and how the “beauty bug” has caught on in the Carrillo family.

What are you studying at Bellus Academy?

John: I’m enrolled in the barbering program at Chula Vista. I will graduate in May 2020

Lydia: I will graduate in July 2020 from the cosmetology program at Chula Vista; but am also taking make-up artistry. But my younger sister is in the nail spa program and will graduate before both of us! And my mom is also looking forward to returning to the cosmetology classroom. 

What were you doing before you enrolled in beauty school?
Lydia: I’ve worked in retail for the past three years. I always thought about going to cosmetology school and even took a course in high school. In February, I finally decided to make it happen.

John: I’ve long worked in my family’s landscaping business. But for years, I’ve been cutting my hair and the hair of family members and friends. We’re a family of 11, so there is always someone needing a haircut!

Any similarities between trimming landscaping and cutting hair?

John: Actually, there are. You have to be able to visualize what you’re trying to achieve, whether it’s a hedge or a head! It all starts with creating a good foundation for the design.

Do you study together?

John: With five boys and four girls from elementary school to young adult, there is lots of opportunity to practice. We have human mannequins/doll heads in our home all the time.

Lydia: I love doing my sisters’ hair for proms or dances. And my dad and I encourage each other. It can be easy to say, “I’m too tired to go to school after working all day.” That’s when we encourage each other and remind each other we’ve got to show up . . . We’re family and we’re in this together.”

What’s it like studying with your dad?

Lydia: It’s great going through the program together. My dad and I will be in the salon and he’ll see I’m running out of foils and run over with some extras. 

What has surprised you about going to beauty school?

John: I’d had lots of practice cutting hair over the years, but I wasn’t familiar with how much theory influences the barber’s work. From understanding various bacteria to the fundamentals of electricity, there is a lot more involved than cutting technique. 

Lydia: There is also the chemistry challenge – really important when it comes to the color formulation.

What advice would you offer someone just beginning a cosmetology program?

John: It’s never too late. I was 41 and wondered if it was too late to enroll. But that’s when Lydia told me to go for it. I know this is what I’m meant to do for the rest of my life. I would also encourage people to surround themselves with great teachers and mentors. I’ve learned so much from working with Manny San Martin. At Bellus, a teacher will stay as long as necessary to help a student master a skill or technique.

Lydia: Cosmetology has taught me not just a skill but changed me as a person. Working in the student salon has helped me get out of my shyness battle.

What are your plans for the future?

Lydia: We’ve talked about learning the ropes, building a clientele and one day owning our own family  salon.

John: I like the idea of a family business – and always being able to check in on my daughter!

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