NYIB: Hello Miss Melody! I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am for this interview right now! To start off with, tell us about yourself.

Melody: Well, my name is Melody Olivia Calderon. And I just turned 18 in April. Outside of here, I love to sing and read. I just graduated high school and I have been obsessed with makeup since I was a kid. I used to sneak my grandma’s eyeshadow and lipstick. She had a deep red one that I always loved, and I used to sneak it and put it on when she wasn’t around.  I would try to take it off and hide it, but she always knew. 

NYIB: Grandmas always know. Especially with kids, since they’re all terrible at hiding things! So, what drew you to Esthetic specifically?

Melody: I feel like when I started going through puberty, I struggled. I had really bad acne and my self esteem dropped so much. So, I became obsessed with what I was using, what was I washing my face with. And when I started getting older, I found out that this was a field I could go into and do for the rest of my life.  My skin has cleared up a lot from what it used to be, and I just think it would be a pleasure for me to help people with the same struggle.

NYIB: It is good to have that relatability factor. People like to get advice from someone they know has been there. I think that understanding will definitely work in your favor!

So normally about here I would try and get more backstory to what the student was doing prior to starting here, maybe work history or if they had started a family. But you just came into this within weeks of graduating high school. And you graduated early correct?

Melody: Yes, I graduated in January, so half a year early.

NYIB: That’s amazing. Tell me a little bit more about why you decided to do that and then jump immediately into esthetics school?

Melody: Well, I live in a group home. So, to take a summer off or anything, for me, didn’t make sense. I saw this school as an opportunity, and a lot just happened to work out in my favor to come here. I am getting help paying for school, which was a good sign for me. I typically am not the type of person to just jump into things head first, which I know sounds weird since when I came here to tour I kind of just immediately went all in, haha, but I just knew I wanted to do this.  And everything just felt perfect when I came here so I just kind of went, “Okay why not, let’s go!”

NYIB: I like that! Now you did have a couple of options for school, so tell me a little more why you felt we were the best fit for you?

Melody: I went to so many different schools!  I went to a couple in the city, I looked at some in Nassau county, even a cosmetology school out here.  I had my project independence worker with me when I was visiting schools, and she really helped me to understand better things like financial aid and what I should be looking for.  When I came here, specifically, I felt the environment of the tour and the classrooms we peaked into, I could see myself being comfortable. I also needed to think about how I was going to get to school every day, I don’t drive, I take the bus. So, I could have taken the train into a city school, which even though it would have been long would have been fine. I do what I have to do to get things done, but if there was a slightly easier option with that part too why not?

And I loved you when I came for the tour. I felt like I was at home, I felt like you were so open and that I could ask any questions. In some of the other schools I visited, it sort of felt like they were like, “Okay, so this, this, and this” and it was the end of the tour. I didn’t feel really like I could sit and have conversations with them. Even though they asked if I had questions, I just felt it wasn’t comfortable. So, when I came here, and had a total different experience with you, it just made me more confident in my choice.

NYIB: Aw, Melody that is so sweet to hear! I try hard to make you all comfortable when you come in because I have been in that seat! I remember what it was like, and my goal is really to just to sit and listen to you all, and help you on your journey!

Speaking of the fact that you take the bus, can we tell the snowstorm story?

Melody: Oh my gosh, really?

NYIB: Please! It is my all time favorite story ever about any student!

Melody: Oh my gosh. Okay.  So, we had a pretty bad snow storm a few months back. It normally takes me about 3 hours to get to school on the bus. That day nothing was running by me, I called a bunch of cab services, no one was driving, so I decided to walk. I figured it would take me closer to 5 hours or so to walk here, but I just had to do it because I had no other choice. I mean I had to get to school. I don’t have time to just make it up at night or anything. So, I started walking, and I was about 2, 2.5 hours into it, and then I saw a Subway so I stopped in. I tried calling another cab service then because I was closer to here, and thankfully someone was available. They came and picked me up and drove me the remaining way which of course only took like 5 minutes by car haha.

NYIB: I want you to know how incredibly impressed I am with that, and you, Melody. I remind a lot of people- yes, we are a school, but we are a vocational school. We are trying to prepare you all to have successful careers out there, after the exam, long term. Part of that training is learning self-responsibility, doing things like showing up on time, fully prepared and ready to go. So, when I have other students that are like, meh I just don’t feel like going to school today, I don’t feel like going to class tomorrow, and then they’re upset they graduate so late. Meanwhile, then we have students like you who walk here in a snowstorm just to get to class. We have absent hours students can use, and a day like that is exactly what they’re meant for, by all means you could have stayed home, and no one would have batted, an eye but you didn’t. That drive is something that is going to get you so far in life, Melody.

Do you find that coming from a situation where your home life maybe isn’t a typical environment is a large part of why you have become the type of person to graduate high school early, immediately start career training, and decide to walk over 2 hours in the snow for school?

Melody: Most definitely. That has influenced everything about me.  I mean, my home situation isn’t the best, so why would I just want to hang around it? If I would have stayed home that day, I would have gotten all in my head and it wouldn’t have been good. At least I tried, that’s what I remember thinking that day. Even if I didn’t make it to school, at least I tried to get there.  I feel like with my background I have never had anything handed to me in life, ever. So, I think that has made me the type of person to want to show everyone, “See I can do it. I don’t need you.” And that drives me. I also have a sister, and I want to be the best influence for her. I feel like if I am constantly doing the best that I can do, she is going to want to do the best that she can do, too.

NYIB: I think she has the best role model.

You have been in school a couple of months now. What has been something super fun or exciting that you have learned?

Melody: I think the technology. We did chapter 19 recently, Advanced Treatments, and it has really made me want to continue on with Advanced Esthetics. I feel like I would greatly benefit from the extra education. Honestly, I think everyone would. I feel like everyone should take the advanced course if they can, because you can offer more and do more. We recently sat in a laser seminar, and I just cannot wait to learn that as well.

NYIB: Okay, so do you think that’s where you see yourself in the industry, an advanced route?

Melody: Oh yea, more clinical type stuff excites me.

NYIB: The advanced students are just so smart, I have no idea what they are talking about half the time haha.

Melody: They are. And every time I hear anything come out of Ms. Naazs mouth I just think to myself, “She is brilliant!” And I just want to be with her, and learn from her. She is so smart and incredible. And I want to spend time with her and become better.

NYIB: So, school has been enjoyable for you so far?

Melody: Oh yes! I wake up every day and I get excited wondering what I am going to learn today.

NYIB: Yay! I love to hear that. Now, just last week we had one of our free workshops here, “The Perfect Eyebrow” and I needed a model to agree to be my “anti-pro” face. You volunteered for that, so tell us a little about what that was like?

Melody: It was a good experience. Everyone should be coming to these free after school workshops. One, it looks good on your resume, and two- the experience. You learn so much, you meet people, different people who aren’t in your class. And it was fun!

NYIB: And there are cookies.

Melody: Especially come for the cookies!

NYIB: What are some of your major goals for after you graduate?

Melody: Long term- I want to own a spa, a medi-spa. I am currently working on a website for lashes- mink, synthetic, silk. I am intending to take an eyelash extension class the next time it is offered.  I feel like there isn’t a specific goal yet, but I know I want to just continue to expand my knowledge. I have always been the type of person to want to learn more.  I go to the library all the time and just spend the entire day reading, I am a nerd like that.

NYIB: I love a fellow nerd 😉.

Now the point of these spotlights is for the person sitting at home, trying to figure out what they are going to do next. I want to continue to showcase our diversity, our broad spectrum or student and esthetician, so that everyone can find someone to relate to. Imagine if you were still that person, and you were reading this- what would you have wanted someone to say to you?

Melody: I feel like I want people to know that it doesn’t matter what is going on at home or in your life. If you want something, you can do it if you put your mind to it. Anything can be accomplished, nothing is impossible. I think sometimes people sit home and feel bad for themselves, but you have to get up. Nothing can stop you but you. That’s what I tell myself when I am having a bad day.  If it’s rough, and I am upset, I just stop and remind myself no one can stop me but me. And I keep going.

NYIB: I truly want to thank Melody for not only sitting with me, but being so open and wonderful. I am really looking forward to seeing all the amazing things she will continue to accomplish in her life, and I hope to stay involved in her journey!

If you have ever considered a job in the beauty or esthetics industries, give New York Institute of Beauty a call today at 631-582-4737. With year-round classes, and flexible schedules, we have something for everyone.  And we would love the chance to sit and learn more about your story.

Interviewed and written by Megan Leitch, L.E., NYIB Admissions Representative.