She’s got skills

Ella+Stauder%2C+senior%2C+is+a+hair%2C+nail+and+makeup+artist+who+is+studying+cosmetology+at+South+Tech+High+School.

Tess Hubbard

Ella Stauder, senior, is a hair, nail and makeup artist who is studying cosmetology at South Tech High School.

Adding the finishing touches to her client’s hair, Ella Stauder, senior, stepped back, pleased with her work. Freshly cut locks of hair decorated the floor, and she watched the woman’s face light up as she turned to admire her new hair in the mirror. “I love it,” the client said, beaming at her reflection. Stauder grinned. She loved it, too.

Stauder, hair stylist as well as a nail and makeup artist, is currently studying cosmetology at South Tech. She spends half her school day there, learning skills and providing clients with services.

“[South Tech] is an amazing program, and I love my teachers,” Stauder said. “[It has helped me] get more in touch with my artistic side. I didn’t have much of a creative outlet until I got into hair and makeup. Now, I am able to [make art] and get my mind working in different ways.”

I didn’t have much of a creative outlet until I got into hair and makeup. Now, I am able to [make art] and get my mind working in different ways.”

— Ella Stauder

Stauder said she was influenced by her grandmother, Dixie Ross, who was a cosmetologist. She said she also loved makeup and styling from a young age.

“I grew up [performing in] shows, and one of my favorite parts was getting ready and doing my friends’ makeup,” Stauder said. “I think that’s what really drew me toward [cosmetology] in the first place.”

It wasn’t until her sophomore year that Stauder started to seriously consider going to cosmetology school. So when the opportunity to study cosmetology at South Tech became available, she decided to take it.

“I’m so glad I [was able] to go to South Tech,” Stauder said. “If you go to [local cosmetology schools] like Paul Mitchell or Grabber after high school, the tuition fee is $20,000, but [at South Tech] I’m getting all [this experience] for free during high school, which is amazing.”

According to Stauder, her teachers provide her with the necessary resources and skill set to go out into the workforce. Stauder said she learns about a variety of cosmetology-related subjects.

“What we learn about would surprise people,” Stauder said. “I feel like there’s this notion that hairdressers sit there and play with hair all day, and that’s just not true. We have to learn business and communication skills, microbiology, anatomy, color theory and so many other things [that] you wouldn’t think [go] into cosmetology.”

I feel like there’s this notion that hairdressers sit there and play with hair all day, and that’s just not true.”

— Ella Stauder

At South Tech High School, there is an entire wing devoted to cosmetology. It consists of a classroom and student-run salon which is open for services every Monday and Friday. For safety reasons, walk-ins are not permitted at the salon. However, clients can contact the students individually to get services done.

“One of my favorite clients is my friend,” Stauder said. “She came in a few times and we [experimented with] her hair color by going gradually darker [until] we finally hit the right [shade] for her. It was such a special moment. We both looked at it and went, ‘This is it.’”

At the end of the year, Stauder will have the option to take a board exam to become a licensed cosmetologist. If she passes, she could potentially obtain a paying job right out of high school.

“When I graduate, I [plan to] work at a salon part-time while also being a [college] student,” Stauder said. “[Working as a cosmetologist] can help pay my tuition and it’s a good backup plan [in case] I hate what I’m doing in college.”

Maddie Rowan, senior, has been friends with Stauder since their freshman year. She said Stauder usually does her hair and makeup, especially for events and school dances.

“I adore [Ella],” Rowan said. “She’s hilarious, kind and generous. She’s also utterly talented, [and] is going to go places. Whenever she does my hair, it turns out a billion times better.”

I adore [Ella]. She’s hilarious, kind and generous. She’s also utterly talented, [and] is going to go places.”

— Ella Stauder

Jules Clover, Salon Joy hairstylist, has known Stauder for six years. Clover said she would do Stauder’s hair often when she was younger, and this caused them to become close.

“Ella would usually come in and ask me [about] cosmetology school and for advice,” Clover said. “I would tell her that it’s the best job ever and that she could shadow me anytime.”

Stauder said her dream as a cosmetologist is doing hair and makeup for films and movies. She said she loves what she does, and has plans to continue being a stylist in the future.

“My favorite part about being a stylist is the moment after I finish a service,” Stauder said. “It’s so rewarding to [see my client’s] face light up [when] they look in the mirror and to know that I helped them find more confidence in themselves.”