JNS: First off April, let me say how glad we all are to have you here as part of the Federico family. What made you want to work for Federico?
AP: Being an Educator is not always about having a fixed agenda and being rigid, but about being flexible, fluid, and willing to experiment. It’s about having the confidence to react and adjust to changing circumstances. I knew Federico was all about that! Having been an educator for another school before this, I’ve seen the other side of things. There’s more than one way to skin a cat. Federico is open to their educators teaching the students techniques that work for each individual student. It’s tailored to their needs. They have a solid curriculum/foundation here, in addition to having a reputation for being cutting edge and current, but let’s get real… if all you have is a hammer…everything looks like a nail! Offering a creative balance is essential in producing well-rounded future stylists.
JNS: What’s your favorite difference between being an educator and being behind the chair?
AP: As much as I love teaching, I’m also very dedicated to my clients. Being present and available in the salon is vital. Over the years, I’ve had to find a creative balance for myself in juggling life in the salon, life as an educator, all the while, never neglecting my own need for continuous education. It’s never enough for me to just have one thing going on. Maybe it’s the Gemini in me. Expanding in every avenue possible and perfecting my craft, not just practicing, remains first and foremost. With that being said, I love being in the salon! It’s MY time to play, to create, to put my passion to work. I still have the opportunity to teach there too. I’m always educating my clients; it’s just on a different forum. At the end of the day, when I’m in front of the classroom, surrounded by eager minds, teaching, it’s about sharing your passion with the students in a way that catches them. It’s like locking eyes with a student in the back row and seeing the synapses and neurons connecting, thoughts being formed, the person becoming better, and a smile cracking across a face as learning all of a sudden happens. Their “AH-HA” moment is the best! Also when that former student says your course changed her/his life. GAH!! A good teacher practices their craft not for the money or because they have to, but because they truly enjoy it and because they want to. Whoever said “those who can’t do, teach”, never worked in our industry!
JNS: What do you love most about being an educator?
AP: You mean aside from it being a platform for me to make the students laugh? No, really, I’m all about being self-deprecating and not taking myself too seriously. At any minute in the classroom, you can find me making innocuous jokes, mostly at my own expense. This definitely breaks the ice and the students learn in a more relaxed atmosphere where, like them, I’m human with my own share of faults and shortcomings. It’s the freedom to teach with style. Does it need to be entertaining? ABSOLUTELY!!! Does this mean that it lacks in substance? Not a chance! I don’t need to have both hands glued to a podium or have their eyes fixated on a slide projector while I drone on. I’ll work the room and every student in it! It’s comfortable for me and to be honest, it’s perfect for someone like me who hates sitting still! I look at teaching like an orchestra. All students play different instruments and at varying proficiency. My job is to develop skills and make these instruments come to life as a coherent whole…at full volume!
JNS: Do you have any advice for students that are just starting out?
AP: I say this to every student I’ve had the opportunity to teach, “RELAX!! Be patient with yourself. This is all about the journey. Mastering doesn’t happen overnight. If it did, we wouldn’t need a career long program of constant education. Your education in this industry should never stop. Continuous education and evolving is the key to any craft and if I ever stop learning, well, then there’s something seriously wrong with me…PLEASE, hit my reset button!”
JNS: That’s fantastic; we’re all about continued education here! Do you have any future projects you are excited for in school or out of?
AP: Funny you should ask! I mean, if I didn’t have any projects up my sleeve, I’d lose my mind. Staying idle just doesn’t suit me. Welllll, after a few years at great salon, I finally made the choice to transition into a new salon. I’m now in full swing! I’m shakin’ things up over at Alchemy Salon and Spa! It’s been a careful and gradual transition for me. My clients are long time and loyal, so for that, I needed to make sure this would be a favorable move for everyone. Everyone at Alchemy has been so welcoming and supportive! I’m really grateful to be working for such an awesome team! In other news, we just finished the makeup curriculum for AJF Academy! We’re launching this intensive makeup artistry program September 22nd and I’m going to be heading that course! Yep, first one to teach it! We just shot the looks yesterday that we’ll be using and eventually recreating during the course. It’s been really exciting to be part of the development of it and now it’s finally coming to fruition! My schedule is pretty busy at the moment, but I’m ready to hit the ground runnin’. I wouldn’t have it any other way!