[totaldonations]

Can Teaching Hairstyling Skills Save Sex Traffic Victims?

by Marcia Cole

Julz Coda and Liz Diaz are two of the hair industry’s most dynamic duos. As co-founders of Beyond Beauty School, which is based on the philosophy that there is more to the hairstyling industry than meets the cuts and color, they provide a culture of accessible education, knowledge, and support–think branding, business expansion, finance, and social inspiration–for hair professionals. They founded Beyond Beauty School while working in Sutra Salon in Torrance, CA when they realized that most beauty schools don’t cater to the entrepreneurial spirit of today’s generation of aspiring beauty professionals. As a result, the drop-out rate is extremely high. Wanting more for themselves and their peers, they created Beyond Beauty School and decided to step in front of the camera to shed light on these issues, host events, and provide education. Within a year, the duo, have taught globally, produced events that attract over 400 hairstylists, became co-hosts of Luxury Brand Partners’ Late Night with Tev Finger, and have forever impacted the lives of sex traffic victims in Cambodia with their cosmetology classes.
What drives them most? “Our biggest passion is giving back to the communities that raised us. Not only in the beauty industry but outside of it as well,” explained Coda, who has been involved in social action and various philanthropy projects since before she was a hairdresser, and uses global travel as a means to help her craft.  It was this passion that led her to Cambodia in 2016 to teach styling skills at a beauty school to students who were once victims of human sex trafficking. The goal of the school is to give the students a tangible skill that they can use to support themselves financially. Some went on to become cosmetologists. “One girl said she realized after taking these classes for the first time that she could learn. And she wondered what else she could learn. College now became more of a reality and so did law school,” shared Coda. While there she and Diaz filmed the experience and created a documentary that was showcased at The Coterie, the Arrojo Expo NYC 2017, and at the YWCA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Below, the duo shares their experience of building a brand, how they fight through fears, and what it takes to truly pursue one’s passions.
Passion Meets Purpose: What have you learned the most from starting Beyond Beauty School?
Julz Coda and Liz Diaz: Starting BBS has definitely been the most challenging and most rewarding. We’ve experienced so much personal growth. From learning how to even speak in public to hosting Late Night WTF, producing 400+ person events, to teaching all over the world, we’ve had to learn to suit up and show up to just about every situation imaginable and get humble enough to ask for help. Putting ourselves in such a vulnerable position, putting all of ourselves out there–that’s the biggest accomplishment.
PMP: What do you want your legacy to be? 
JCLD: We’re here to be disruptive! We want to know that we helped people to stay inspired and stay in the beauty industry. We stand tall knowing that we’ve walked every step of this road with integrity; we do the right thing even when no one is watching. We want other industry professionals to know that we challenged stereotypes and we did everything in our power to make our industry a positive and uplifting community to be part of, that we gave a voice to every hairdresser.
PMP: What drives you to do what you currently do?
JCLD: There’s such a gap in our industry between what we learn in Cosmetology school and what happens after that, we were constantly searching for more, more education, more inspiration, everything! So we figured if we were asking all these questions, other people also had to be stuck. So we created our first blog on BBS to get answers and show other professionals what else is out there because if you’re bored in this business you are not doing enough! We found events, conventions, education, meetups, networking events, fashion shows and made tons of friends. Our drive comes from wanting to share all these experiences with other professionals who may not otherwise have access or not know that there’s more out here for hairdressers!
There’s such a gap in our industry between what we learn in Cosmetology school and what happens after that, we were constantly searching for more, more education, more inspiration, everything! So we figured if we were asking all these questions, other people also had to be stuck. So we created our first blog on BBS to get answers and show other professionals what else is out there because if you’re bored in this business you are not doing enough!
PMP: What are you most passionate about pursuing now?
JCLD: Our passion is really about connecting and bringing people together. Sometimes it’s through education, sometimes it’s with our clients behind the chair, but for us, the human connection and these extremely meaningful relationships we develop with everyone we meet–that’s what it’s about. Building a community. Supporting one another.
Liz Diaz-Beyond-Beauty-School

Liz Diaz of Beyond Beauty School

PMP: When did you discover this was your passion and that it had a greater purpose?

JCLD: We really clicked when we discovered that we both had a knack for bringing people together when Julz had a film project she was working on–and had no idea how to make a film! Liz really stepped up and was like “Hey how can I help?! What can I do?!”And we started pooling our resources and asking clients and friends to help with everything from fundraising to video editing! We learned that we worked well together and that by combining forces, our reach became greater and our impact became stronger.
PMP: What does it feel like when you are in the midst of your passion? 
JCLD: You know when you’re swimming in the ocean and a huge wave comes and it crashes over you? Then pushes you under the water, and you’re trying to swim and the water is getting in your nose? and you’re trying to get to the surface and you can’t breathe and you finally get your head out of the water and you get splashed again and you start screaming but you’re also laughing and you think about how scary that was but it was also so fun and you can’t wait for the next big wave to come so you can dive under it because this time you’ll know what to do and you’ll be ready for it but instead it just crashes over you again and the same thing happens and then your grandma dies and then you get diagnosed with breast cancer but then the next wave comes and you just keep swimming and laughing and you just get ready for the next big wave anyway even though your exhausted and wiped out but you also felt the rush of making it through so you want to keep doing it…..it kinda feels like that. So thank god we have each other!
Julz-Coda-Beyond-Beauty-School

Julz Coda of Beyond Beauty School

PMP: Did you have any fears about pursuing your passion/purpose and how did you overcome them? 
JCLD: Remember the waves and the ocean story? That. It’s really about learning from your previous experiences and being fearless! Or at least being okay with being in fear. Half the time we are scared shitless when we are doing something. And the other half of the time–we are just pretending we aren’t scared! So for us, it’s really about being brave enough to ask for help and confident enough to ask each other for support.
PMP: Does your passion/purpose support you fully financially?
JCLD: Not quite! But that’s the thing about passion- money isn’t the motivator.
PMP: What types of obstacles did you face while going for it and what did it teach you?
JCLD: Our biggest obstacle is always fear of the unknown. The what-ifs. But we’ve learned to turn those situations into teachable moments; find out what it is that we are afraid of or nervous about, maybe it’s rejection, maybe it’s not being able to accomplish something on our own. But these are the times we ask for help and get to grow.
PMP: What advice would you give to others on how to pursue their passion and make a profit?
JCLD: Persistence. Consistency. Purpose…And ask Liz how to manage your finances.

PMP:
Which books have influenced you the most?
JCLD: “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. He has a great way of breaking down the key elements you need to make your business and your life truly excel. He shares about finding the right people to be in your squad, but more importantly, making sure those people are all in their most suited roles.
PMP: Words you live by?
JCLD: Luck favors the persistent.
To learn more about how Beyond Beauty School, visit them here and follow them on social media @Beyondbeautyschool

About the Author


Marcia Cole


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *