Finding Beauty: Four Asian American Stories

Finding Beauty: Four Asian American Stories

Mona Baltazar

Founder and Owner, The Mona Cut

“When we had been 10 years previous, my sister and I moved from the Philippines to San Jose. Coming from a rustic the place all of my neighbors regarded like me, the US was a tradition shock. There had been women in my grade who towered over me and regarded very totally different. My sister and I had been a workforce, and we’d come house from college on daily basis and focus on issues we picked up from our classmates so we might mix in as rapidly as potential.

My household was not well-off within the US, and faculty was by no means a dialog. On profession day in highschool I discovered a cosmetology pamphlet with a person with lengthy, luscious hair on the entrance. If you ask anybody, being Filipino is all about having lengthy hair, and I wished to do what he was doing. While I used to be working in a salon in California I gained a gross sales contest to fly to New York for a four-day Redken class. It was my second time on an airplane, and I fell in love with the town. I advised my boss I used to be placing in my one 12 months discover and once I was prepared he purchased me a one-way ticket. Now I’ve been right here for 16 years.

In 2015 a lady named Edgy got here to see me for a haircut. It was the start of an enormous motion in the direction of pure, curly hair in Black and combined communities, however there weren’t many curly-hair cutters in New York. Quite a lot of stylists would say, ‘Oh, you have too much hair, we’re going to should straighten it,’ or huff and puff like curly hair was such a chore. Curly hair was new to me however it didn’t cease me—I’m a hairdresser, and my job is that will help you perceive your hair and be ok with it. Edgy posted a photograph of her haircut on Instagram and tagged me, and it was a series response from there. Textured hair could be very delicate and has so many personalities, which is the great thing about it. I need a consumer to really feel actually comfy with their very own texture, and I’m right here to carry their hand on that journey. A consumer of mine gave me the title ‘The Mona Cut,’ and in March 2018 I formally opened as The Mona Cut independently.

Beauty is so limitless proper now, and it’s wonderful that everybody has the chance to decide on how they wish to look, however at this second I’m actively making an attempt to not stand out. My mother could be very open-minded and daring, and raised my sisters and I to by no means really feel like we needed to look a sure approach. She simply turned 66 the opposite day, and I don’t assume I’ve ever seen her look extra fabulous—her hair is silver and she or he wears it actually quick. A couple of years in the past I used to be operating errands on my lunch break, and a few man got here up behind me and mentioned below his breath, ‘real American, so American.’ I keep in mind questioning if that meant I’m not imagined to have tattoos as a result of I’m Asian, or if as a result of I’ve tattoos I’m making an attempt to suit an American visible. The different day I anxious about leaving my home in a vibrant yellow Nike jacket, and I simply purchased sun shades to attempt to cover that I’m Asian. But one thing thrilling about being Filipino right here in New York is that younger entrepreneurs are highlighting road meals from the Philippines increasingly more. Project Barkada highlights loads of Filipino small companies, which is how I discovered Kabisera and FromKora donuts, which turned large this 12 months like how Cronuts had been large. I miss house, and meals is house.”

—as advised to ITG

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