When I was fifteen, it seemed natural to follow in my mother's foot steps, so off to beauty school I went. I saw how hard my mom worked and the endless hours on her feet, and I realized I didn't want to be a hairdresser, I wanted to be singing and performing on stage. After I graduated from beauty school, I decided to follow my dreams and go to the university for vocal performance. I loved school, and I sang my heart and my vocal cords out, thus putting and end to my singing career. Feeling a bit defeated but proud I had the guts to try, I headed back to Michigan and my original plan of becoming a full time hairdresser. I love being a hairdresser. Hairdressing and motherhood are the two best choices I made in my life.
I have restless feet. When they have been in one place too long, they demand to walk on new soil. I started making time for travel. I loved it, but I’d quickly found myself bored with the tourist destinations, and after my fill of jet skis and margaritas on the beach in the manicured resort compound, I would wander off and see how the real people lived. My explorations were always fascinating, and I would see a country that was not accessible from my fancy resort.
On a memorable trip to Jamaica, I grabbed a bus into town and met a twenty-year old mother with five kids. She invited me to her home where we ate soup made with not much more than fish bones. I spent the week visiting her, bringing diapers and groceries—and that’s where I felt content.
This was the moment that I decided to "vacation with a purpose."
With a little bit of planning and huge suitcases full of medical supplies, I was able to satisfy my lust for travel and feed the compassion of my heart. I could experience the world and not hide from those less fortunate.
Years of traveling around the world prepared me for the biggest and most pivotal moment of my life. After training in disaster relief and volunteering at ground zero in New York City, I deployed with a team to Afghanistan in May 2002. I felt like I had stepped back in time, everything seemed broken - buildings, roads, homes, families and individuals but I fell in love with a people and a country. I had no idea I’d still be there five years later doing spiral perms and introducing the art of hairdressing. Thus began the most unlikely story of a Western hairdresser in Kabul, who helped build a beauty school for women and a life of her own amidst the rubble.
I was heart broken after leaving Afghanistan so I help found Oasis Rescue, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that aims to educate and empower women in Afghanistan, Iraq and other middle eastern countries in the art and commerce of the beauty industry.
Oasis Rescue is opening a new beauty school in Pakistan. The crisis in Afghanistan has driven hundreds of thousands of people over the border to Pakistan. The Afghan families suffer due to the volume of Afghans in Pakistan and their inability to find work. The situation is stressful mentally and emotionally. We believe the Beauty School will make a difference for the Afghan families in Pakistan and continue to do so if they can safely return to Afghanistan. This skill will benefit women and their families for years to come. They will teach their daughter(s) this skill, and they can provide services out of their home, in a salon, or the client's home. This safe female-driven business is a tool for survival.