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Meet Trailblazer Leia Gadow

Today we’d like to introduce you to Leia Gadow.

Leia, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started as a makeup artist for a local documentary film company. I’d always had an interest in the beauty industry, so when I was working as a PA for this film company and saw they were in need of a makeup artist I put together a portfolio and approached my boss. He tried me out on a couple shots and then, I became the full-time makeup artist. Then, a couple years later, the company moved to Texas. Wanting to stay in California, decided to take the time to get my credentials in the industry. I got my estheticians license and realized that hair removal was really an area where I could truly meet a need for clients, so I decided to specialize in waxing. After working in the waxing business for a few years I decided to go into business for myself.

I now work in my own establishment in the Point Loma area. Now, that I’m settled in and have some experience being self-employed, I’ve decided to return to beauty school in order to add nails to my service menu. I’m halfway through the nail tech program at San Diego City College where I’m now able to book clients. I love the visual aesthetics of doing nails, especially acrylics and 3D art. My plan is to specialize in couture acrylics. It makes me feel so happy and accomplished bring a little sparkle into my client’s lives. The relationships with my clients have brought me so much fulfillment. I truly feel like my work life is one big slumber party, playing with makeup, nails, and skincare with my best girlfriends. (And a few guy friends too!)

Has it been a smooth road?
I’m not gonna lie, the struggles are real. School, work, family life and our own negative self-talk all contribute to self-doubt. That maybe we’re on the wrong path or that we’re not capable of accomplishing our goals. If you truly want something, if you need it more than you need to breathe, you will make it. You must learn to see your struggles in another light. For me, I needed to be able to recognize negative self-talk for what it is, conditioning from those in my past that did not have my best interest at heart. I hear it in my head, “You can’t do that!” “What makes you think you’re capable of being a businesswoman!” stop, recognize it for what it is, and affirm the opposite, “I can do that!” “I am capable!” The struggles will never go away, its part of the journey. It’s part of the path. Accept it, love it even. Love the struggle, thrive off of it, using to fuel your fire and move you forward.

We’d love to hear more about Lovely by Leia.
I’m most proud of the relationships I have with my clients. Most of my clients have been with me for years and have followed me through my journey. Making women feel confident and attractive is why I do this. I truly believe that if all of us can feel confident in who we are there’s nothing we can’t accomplish, individually and as a whole. With nails, clients come to me in order to express their individuality. Whether their girly, modern or classic they all have something that makes them special and displaying that on their digits is fun and inspiring.

So much of the media coverage is focused on the challenges facing women today, but what about the opportunities? Do you feel there are any opportunities that women are particularly well positioned for?
Obviously, women thrive in the beauty industry. We are our clients. We can relate to each other’s needs and wants. We communicate on multiple levels. We have a sixth sense for these things and sharing with each other can form strong bonds. Its a place where women really support women.

Contact Info:

  • Address: Lovely by Leia
    3405 Kenyon Street Suite 211-B
    San Diego, CA
  • Website:
  • Phone: 858-751-9650
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @lovelybyleia

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