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Happiness and Inner Beauty with Amy

We’re all crowded around a single tall chair in the center of the living room of a beautifully converted mid-century house in Charlotte. It’s actually the Shine Salon waiting area. Amy seats herself and we begin trying to calm the masses to get another interview started without the interference of background noise. Our whole artistic team is here, plus the Charlotte office staff, sales reps and several models.

“You look beautiful!” someone yells.

“Thank you!” Amy exclaims back.

“Don’t make her cry”, someone else jokes, “Barbara Walters.”

“Has somebody cried yet?” Amy asks. Probably wondering whether or not she should have agreed to do this interview.

“Oh yea, broke somebody down!” shouts another member of the peanut gallery.

“Oh come on guys,” I laugh. In truth, beauty can be an emotional topic. But there wasn’t a “breakdown” by any means.  “It’s fine. But if you need tissues just let me know,” I smirk at Amy.

Amy fakes wiping away tears with a dramatic sniffle, then looks up and smiles and laughs.

By now the crew is almost settled. “Ok, here we go!”

B&P: Ok, so tell us your name, where you’re from and what you do.

Amy: I’m Amy, I’m from Charlotte, North Carolina and I’m a hair designer here at Shine Salon.

Someone walks through the entryway behind us with squeaky shoes on the beautifully restored wood floors. “Can you repeat that for us real quick?” asks one of the cameramen, “it sounded a little like we were in an episode of Spongebob Squarepants.” After some giggles, we get through the question.

B&P: What does a typical day for you look like?

Amy: I wake up at 7 or earlier with my kids, get them ready, get myself ready, get them to school. If I’m lucky I get to go to the gym. Then I start work usually around noon and work till 8 o’clock, come home, tuck my kids in to bed, and then I have a few hours to myself at night where I can catch up with friends, or pay bills. On the weekends I just play with my kids or if they’re with their dad, I spend some time with friends or get some time to myself. Which is nice.

B&P: That’s a long day. That’s pretty serious.

“Yes,” Amy laughs.

B&P: So it sounds like you have pretty jam packed mornings. What does your beauty routine look like in the morning?

Amy: My beauty routine is… well first of all I’m obsessed with coconut oil. I have it all over the house. But in the morning I don’t really have that long to get ready so most days I don’t get to blow dry my hair. I get in the shower, hopefully before the kids get up, sometimes not. I shampoo, then I have products I put in my hair, because it’s naturally curly. A lot of times I just leave the house with wet hair. I don’t really wear a lot of makeup so I’m very particular about what kind of skin care I use. I do love to get dolled up and fix my hair and fix my makeup but typically I have ten minutes in the morning at most to do what i need to do when I get out of the shower.

B&P: What makes you feel most beautiful?

Amy: I feel most beautiful probably on a day when I can do a facial mask or a hair mask on my hair, but also on a day that I can just be outside. I love to be outdoors and if it’s sunshiney and warm and I can be out there with minimal makeup and have my hair down and be laughing with friends or laughing and playing with my kids, that’s probably when I feel most beautiful.

Amy is glowing just talking about this, basking in her own inner sunshine.

B&P: What characteristic in others stands out most to you?

Amy: Kindness. I think to be kind is so easy, but its not something everybody does. I think simple efforts go a really long way. A smile goes a long way.

B&P: Who’s the most beautiful person you know and why?

Amy: My sister Ashley. She’s a mom of five children. I think physically, she’s beautiful. She has beautiful skin and hair, everything about her look is just gorgeous. She can be dolled up or she can be in a toboggan and slouchy jeans and you still can’t miss how pretty she is. But she’s also a really strong person. She smiles and laughs a lot. She is a great mom and she’s witty. She’s smart and patient. To me, I can see all of that on her face. You don’t have to hear her speak to see how beautiful she is on the inside. It’s just something about her. She is so beautiful on the inside it really shows through on the outside, whether she’s wearing makeup or not.

B&P: What’s your favorite thing about yourself?

Amy: My favorite thing about myself? I like that I’m a good listener. I think that’s a quality that not a lot of people have. To be able to give someone the gift of truly listening to them without trying to formulate your reply, just to listen to understand someone and just be quiet. I like that I’m able to do that well, and I feel like that’s a way that I can be kind to somebody.

B&P: I love that. So, you’ve touched on this a little, but what do you think makes someone beautiful?

Amy: What makes someone beautiful is how they carry themselves. Someone who is beautiful, or who I perceive to be beautiful, always has a strength in how they carry themselves.

I love that she corrects herself mid sentence, chooses her words so carefully, to specify it’s how she perceives someone to be beautiful. Subtly reminding us that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

“Usually their hair and makeup is simple,” she continues, “and it’s not that they’ve tried to be beautiful. It’s that they are, inside and out, and they know that. They know that about themselves and they like themselves. I think that shows through.

B&P: What does the word beauty mean to you?

Amy: To me, beauty is not the same as pretty. Pretty is just a look. A lot of people strive for pretty. Beauty is something that happens on the inside. It’s knowing yourself, loving yourself. Being happy… I think joy is always beautiful. That’s what beauty is.

B&P: How would you describe the everyday extraordinary?

Amy: The everyday extraordinary. It’s simple things. A woman’s intuition is really extraordinary. I think the way children view the world is extraordinary, and the things they say. When I have a client in the chair and I finish their hair, and its a new color or a new cut, and I spin them around and they see themselves for the first time – the way their face lights up and they see themselves as beautiful – that’s always an extraordinary moment to see how they feel about themselves.

And you can see she’s lighting up just thinking about it.

B&P: Can you tell us more about being a mom, and working, and getting through that long day? Cause that’s kickass. What are some challenges you experience on the day to day?

Amy: I have two boys – one is three and the other is six years old. The mornings can be a little rough. Because they fight and they wrestle and play WILD. And so to try to get them ready for school and get them just to swallow their breakfast and be dressed before we leave the house can be a really big challenge. Especially if I’m just trying to get my coffee down before it gets cold (she laughs). But as soon as I get them to school that’s kinda go time for me. I go to the gym and workout if I can, or I come home and finish getting ready and make it to work. Honestly work is my happy place. I love my job. I’ve been doing it for 22 years, so I’ve gotten really good at staying busy, staying fast. I don’t really take a lunch break. I just prefer that if I’m gonna be here – I work three days a week – I want to work long hours. I want to pack ‘em full so I make the most of my time here. When I leave work, I try to get home so I can tuck them in at least. I’m really lucky that I have my sister who’s my nanny, so she’s home with my kids and she can get them fed so by the time I get home. When I get there, they’re usually ready for bed and I can say their prayers and tuck them in and hear about their day. It’s a busy busy work day, but there’s a lot of joy wrapped up in that. Yeah, they’re wild and crazy in the morning, but it’s hilarious. And when I’m at work and it’s crazy and it’s busy, it’s still fun. I get to make people feel beautiful. And then I get home and I’m getting to tuck my kids in to bed. It takes the hard out of it.

“There’s beauty in the insanity, huh?” I say.

“Yes,” she laughs.

B&P: My last one I have here is, what’s one word that best describes you?

Amy: Happy. The one word that best describes me is happy.

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