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Life and Work with Michelle Murillo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Murillo.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I often compare my life’s journeys to a life of a Phoenix bird. They must burn in order to emerge. Often, it’s the deepest pain you endure which empowers you to grow into your highest self. In middle school, I was severely bullied by a group of multiple girls who felt the desire to attack me each and every day. They would approach me, threaten me, cyber bully me, and physically harass me. Due to this, I developed a generalized anxiety disorder. By the end of the two long and painful years, I finally decided to speak up. Of course, by that time, it was too late, so I left middle school with a diagnosis of social phobia, agoraphobia, and severe depression. For several years, my anxiety and depression took full control of my life. It was a thin stream of fear trickling through my mind that eventually led to a channel into which all other thoughts were drained. As my symptoms progressed and I developed agoraphobia, I had intense feelings of fear, doom, foreboding, and gloom. I had the fear that I may lose control of my thoughts and actions. I spent most of my time locking myself in my room without ever wanting to leave.

I lived in dear and isolation and I developed intense physical symptoms such as increased breathing and heart rate, sweating, shaking, weakness or fatigue, and worst of all an uncontrollable gag reflex. I couldn’t eat or drink in front of people, speak in front of people, talk on the phone, go to school or even leave my room without having a panic attack. I spent years going from doctor to doctor trying to figure out ways to cope with my anxiety. Not once did I find a solution until I came across psychiatric help. Since I started seeing a psychologist and a psychiatrist, I have benefited greatly under their care than I ever did with years of hospitalization and medicines. I have progressed from experiencing anxiety, thick depersonalization, unrelenting fear and wandering thoughts that had to do with everything and anything to a new me. I have battled and overcame many of my fears and have flourished into a new person.

As a result of my long journey, I learned several ways to manage and cope with my anxiety and depression and I have felt the need to spread my knowledge to others in hope of helping them overcome their own battles by becoming a mentor for young kids who struggled with anxiety and depression. Because of my hardships, I have learned to love and accept everyone for who they are and what they have to offer regardless of their gender, race and ethnicity and social class and inequality. This is my biggest accomplishment.

A beautiful life doesn’t just simply happen. It is built daily along with humility, sacrifice, hardships, and disappointments. My biggest disappointment in life thus far is not acting on accomplishing my makeup career sooner. I spent almost two years in college pursuing a profession that would please my family instead of trying to achieve my lifelong goal. I feared my family would not accept the fact that I was going against their wishes and choose to not support my decision. I came to the realization that it is impossible to please everyone. I knew it was time to stop sacrificing my own happiness for the benefit of others. It was finally time for me to be brave and take risks in order to experience and fulfill the passion and drive I possess for the art of cosmetology. The two years I spent in college were drowning me in my potentials and were holding me back from seeking a prosperous future in an environment that was best suitable for me. But past the years I lost, I gained an everlasting drive to succeed and I am so grateful now to be able to be in the position I am right now with Paul Mitchell and be able to become more knowledgeable about my passion and be able to share it with the world.

I have had many doubts in my lifetime but I know for sure that becoming a professional makeup artist is not one of them. My goal to graduate from Paul Mitchell and get my license in Cosmetology has been accomplished, not to mention I graduated on the dean’s list. I have also become a certified makeup artist, certified in eyelash extensions, and certified in hair extensions. All of these accomplishments were far from easy, But having endured a long and painful journey helped me build the patience and stamina needed to surpass all hardships. Once I’m licensed I hope to be able to move to LA and work with celebrities, whether it be from TV, film and live shows to magazines, advertising, and fashion. I know I will achieve this goal because I believe life has taught me, inspired, and guided me into pursuing bigger and better things.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Girls you are not the width of your waist, nor are you the slenderness of body. You are not your hair color, your skin color, nor are you a shade of lipstick. Guys, you are not the number of sit-ups you can do, you are not your mustache, nor are you the car you drive. We are no amalgam of these things. We are the content of our character. We are the ambitions that drive us. We are the goals that we set. We are the things that we laugh at and the things that we say. We are the thoughts we think and the things we wonder about. We are beautiful and desirable not for the clique we attend, but for the spark of life within us that compels us to make our lives a full and meaningful one. We are beautiful not for the shape of the vessel, but for the volume of the soul, it carries. We are beautiful for the mistakes we make and for the castle we build with all the rocks we’ve collected in our path.

So, let’s go out there and face the world, face reality, and face failure. Failures are our opportunity to begin again but this time more intelligently. We are strong and courageous. We are not afraid and we will not be discouraged. We will never give up. We will never lose hope. We will always have faith and be able to cope. Trying times will pass as they always do but we have patience because our dreams will come true. So, put on a smile because together we will pass through the pain. We know it will pass and strength we will gain.

Please tell us about your business.
I am a cosmetologist, a certified makeup artist, certified in hair extensions and eyelash extensions. My true calling is makeup and I aspire to continue growing and building my experience in this industry. I am 20 years old and have already accomplished so much in just two years and can’t wait to see how much more I can achieve in my years to come. I have been an honorable mention for BEACON, the most prestigious beauty industry student competition In the country.

There’s a wealth of academic research that suggests that lack of mentors and networking opportunities for women has materially affected the number of women in leadership roles. Smart organizations and industry leaders are working to change this, but in the meantime, do you have any advice for finding a mentor and building a network?
Finding a mentor is about learning from other people’s wisdom and experience. A mentor is a teacher or leader who has special knowledge that may help or guide you personally or professionally. Mentors are meant to broaden your perspective and provide you with suggestions to help lead a better you. Every one should find a mentor because they are wonderful learning resources.

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