We're so honored to spotlight our newest advisory board member, Yene Damtew.
Yene Damtew is an independent hairstylist based in Washington, DC. A girl on the go, Yene made a name for herself as the person to go to for unsurpassable standards of fashion forward hairdressing. She prides herself on her standard of excellence in both high fashion and classical hairdressing. Her unfaltering belief in continual education and development is what drives her forward and keeps her ahead of the game Immediately following cosmetology school, the EthiopianAmerican, La Palma, California native launched her career as the executive assistant to celebrity hairstylist Johnny Wright. Less than six months after her apprenticeship began, she packed her bags and moved to Washington, DC, to become one of the two personal hairstylists to the Obama Family. Currently, she is the primary hairstylist responsible for the family complete haircare needs. Yene developed a skill for combining a “’Good’ Hair is Healthy Hair” philosophy with a modern and edgy style. Yene specializes in color and hair weaving techniques. And, her work has gained her a celebrity clientele such as senator Kirsten Gillabrand, Former First Lady Michelle Obama, actress Tracee Ellis Ross, Aja Naomi King, Skai Jackson, Zendaya, actor Hugh Jackman, supermodel Cynthia Bailey, songstress Kandi Burruss, WNBC anchor Jummy Olabanji, 6ABC anchor Jeannette Reyes, and Fox5 anchor Tisha Lewis. Yene’s energetic attitude and go-getter work ethic has also garnered the attention of other beauty industry professionals globally servind as an internal consultant. In 2017, she opened up her first boutique space, Aesthetics Salon in Arlington Virginia. She has consulted a number of budding entrepreneurs on developing and executing improved operational procedures to achieve their organizational objectives. Check out our interview with her below:
What inspired you to get into the beauty industry?
When I was a child, I took an interest in hair. I loved how one person can change their look easily. It fascinated me and by the 7th grade I started doing hair. By age 16 I was in hair school and then this journey began to evolve.
What keeps you motivated to keep on going ?
My clients keep me motivated & connection with my clients keeps me going. With every client I meet, they each impact my life in different ways
Whose your biggest inspiration ?
In life, My parents. To immigrants from Ethiopian who have continually provided for me and my brother and made sacrifices for us to live a fortunate life. I always think if they could do it, so can I.
Professionally, there are so many artist that inspire me, particularly women. I think it’s because I want a family and I want a successful career. Many say it’s impossible, but there are so many women I see dong it in the industry, and they keep me motivated.
How do you think we can collectively move forward to celebrate diversity in the beauty industry?
We must all be open minded and understand that hair texture does not have a color attached to it. By that I mean there are women of all shades with curly hair and straight hair. Texture is what defines hair. Everyone wants what they don’t have. Women with straight hair want volume and curls, while women with texture want straight hair. We have to celebrate every hair texture to celebrate diversity.
In this era of instant gratification, what do you say to people who want to be known over night for their talents?
Instant gratification and followers does not equate to your bank account. Be kind, be true to your craft and success and longevity will be there. Patience is a virtue and being a celebrity or instafamous isn’t best. Be a better person, it will take you further.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I want to leave a legacy where people know that I was a kind individual and passionate about hair. Not just a quick fix, but educating clients on a lifestyle change to achieve whatever goals they want. I want people to know that they are beautiful behind any curl. I want break the division between African American and Caucasian salons o any stylist coming out of hair school can service any person that walks through their door.