Growing up, Priyanka watched her mother go about her work in her beauty salon in India. She decided at the age of 18 to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a beauty therapist herself.

“I grew up watching Mum do this stuff and it was like an automatic initiation into it. I was always interested in what she was doing so it comes naturally to me.”

A lot has changed since back then, however. These days, in addition to running her own beauty therapy salon in Auckland, Priyanka keeps up to date with the ever-changing beauty industry through various courses. “I do short courses – two-day, three-day workshops – constantly. These are done here in New Zealand; for example, I’ve recently completed a master’s course in [scientific skincare] Skeyndor.”

Priyanka completed her beauty diploma while at home in India before obtaining a master’s degree in finance and economics in New Zealand at Massey University.

She warns that beauty therapy shouldn’t be considered as a career if you aren’t passionate about it though. “When they feel ‘okay I’ve got nothing better to study so I’ll just do beauty therapy’, that’s not how it works – I find managing that kind of attitude to be quite a challenge to work with.”

For those who are well suited to the job, however, being in beauty therapy has many rewards. Priyanka struggles to think of any negatives of the job and simply loves the feeling of seeing a client walk out with a new sense of confidence and pride.

“It’s very rewarding. You get satisfaction out of making people look and feel really good. When people walk into the door they’re pretty exhausted or tired but when they walk out you’ve made that positive change for them, so that’s what motivates me to come to work every day.”

Maelstrom Hairdressing and Beauty, based in Onehunga, is currently Priyanka’s only salon, but she is hoping to open another in the area within five years once word of her services travels.

There is a lot more to beauty therapy than just applying makeup, Priyanka says, but all the hard work, long hours and continual study definitely pay off.

“You really need to work hard and work very closely with your clients so you need to evaluate whether you’re cut out for it [before you start]. There’s a lot of competition at the moment so you will have to go the extra mile, but it’s a great job.”

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