“You can always get piercings whenever. Don't be afraid to be yourself.” - Sammie
“You can always get piercings whenever. Don't be afraid to be yourself.” - Sammie
Jessica: Hi, friends! I'm here today with Sammie, she's a part of our Avanti community and I'm so excited to hear what you have to say about personal transformation but before we get to any questions, why don't we start by hearing a little bit about you?
Sammie: Yeah, so my name is Sammie. I've lived in the state of Oregon all my life. I've lived in this area, pretty much the majority of my life. I am 22 years old. I just finished school and I'm out in my industry now. I primarily do actually eyelash extensions and I do hair extensions as well and then I have nail extensions coming soon and all that fun stuff, but I just entered the workforce in that and right now, I'm actually a nanny so until I go back to my regular job, I'm taking care of three children.
Jessica: You sound busy.
Sammie: Yes, very much so.
Jessica: What got you into aesthetics - so eyelash extensions, hair extensions, and nail extensions?
Sammie: So my mom's a hairdresser, my aunt is a nail tech, they both have their own salons in their respective states. My mom is up here in Oregon, and my aunt is back down in Texas and I always just like was thinking about it when I was little and then pretty much all the way through my life; my mom even. Everyone was like, "No, you shouldn't do hair.” “ No, you shouldn't do that.” “No, you shouldn't do this, you know, you'll never make money at that." And then I went to college for two years and I was going to be an accountant and at that time, Yeah, I know. At that time, I already had the majority of my piercings and I only had a few that I didn't have and I already was like, Sammie, this ain't gonna work, you're gonna have to take them out or something or I was like, I was already thinking about that and I was like, damn it and then my mom caught when she didn't want to go back to school and then she was like, what about beauty school and I was like, I'm down so we took a few tours, and by then, I was already into eyelashes. I would spend hours on my Instagram just looking through feed after feed, and this was a couple years ago. So I was always envious of whoever did my eyelashes. I was like you have the best job ever and eyelash extensions are very expensive. They're anywhere from like a set to anywhere from $150 all the way up to maybe $400 in some areas of the country, and I've paid that price before and I never took an account how much money you could actually make doing something you like and so I actually researched it.
Sammie: And I just went around, and I researched it and a lot of women, primarily women, there's also a lot of men in industry too, which I love. It's great. We need to have more, but I pretty much was interviewing all these people and they were all like women under the age of 30 and they all have their respective lash businesses. And they're like, yeah, you definitely can do this and actually love it and make great money at it, and everything plus, no one cares what you look like. They only care what they look like and by then, I was already like, "Okay, I'm sold." So I went to school, knowing I was going to do eyelash extensions and what I am trying to do in the industry personally is like, there's a lot of women, and they have a certain aesthetic and look, and a lot of them are blonde and it's just a different aesthetic. They have a more like a boho theme or something.
Sammie: They're just, they're very, very girly women, you know what I'm talking about? And there's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with that. That's all good and dandy. A lot of those women cheer me on and are just so supportive of me and everything like that and those that I want to bring to my industry is a punk rock theme like more alternative theme and everything like that because that's just who I am. I've always been like, I've always wanted to look like this ever since I was like five.
Jessica: Yeah. Oh, that's awesome. That is so cool. I get it, yeah! My hair was green and blue like three weeks ago so I totally understand. I am like it's gone now because of the bleach treat. Because it's hard to like because of my bleach treatments at home, I've been looking at hair extensions.
Sammie: Oh my God!
Jessica: It's so hard to find very vibrant, colorful things in the area. I mean, obviously, because of COVID but, even outside of that before, I love that beautiful, long, full hair, and you either have to grow it naturally or it's hard to find anyone who specializes in that really here in this area. Not so sure.
Sammie: Yeah for sure.
Jessica: That's awesome! So talk a little bit about what it was like then because you said you want it to look the way that you do since you were five, so how was that transformation for you? Was it like, you just woke up and you're like, all right now I am me, or was it? What was our battle to it?
Sammie talks about how she wants to look the way that she do since she were five
Sammie: Okay. There's definitely like an uphill battle so I'm half-Vietnamese, my mom is from Vietnam. So my mom has a different set of cultural beliefs and ideas with how she was raised and that's instilled in me and my sister today. And my dad is American, but he's very religious, he was Catholic and my mom later converted to a Christian on her own. My parents have been divorced for like years and years and so my mom did it on her own. So I, growing up, we have two very religious parents and I remember going to Catholic mass every Sunday, and I knew I was counting down the days I was 18 so I could leave and do what I want and I don't know when I knew piercings and tattoos were just not something you really did or was the norm in both perspective religions. I just knew like, it wasn't something my parents liked or wanted, but I loved it when I saw people have tattoos or piercings, like, I thought they're beautiful. Some people would have really nice pieces and everything and I've always loved that aesthetic ever since I was very little. I've just found it nice and comforting and, I remember one time I turned to my dad, it was in the middle of the church and I was, five or six and I look at him, and I'm going to get a belly button piercing in my belly! And I think by then, my dad was like, I got a rebel on my hands, and it just never stopped. And then by the time I was 15, I left the church. My dad didn't talk to me for a few months, kind of deal so I didn't go to his house very often and see him because he was so mad at that but my mom had my back, so I would beg and beg every semester like when I was 16, can I get my nose pierced? And it just---my mom. I got my second ear pierced but that was at Claire's. It was not great, they look weird, so she did that, but it was not that great so I had to going uphill battle, I had to wait till I was 18 and then when I was 18, I was like, I'm gonna do what I want, and everything and so I turned 18, I went and did it. My mom took me to get my first piercing - my nose pierced and that was it and it was the greatest thing ever because she's a very traditional woman. And in the tattoo shop, and the guy that pierced me, I've got pierced by him a few times. Strange, in a way. I mean, he's good piercer so there's that but just strange and my mom, could not cope with that and I was like, Mom. It was a trip so it was great. I had to wait traditionally till I was 18 so I was on my own person to do it and then you know what happened? So my sister is two years younger than me. She turns 16 that year so I turned 18 in the winter and in the summer, she turned 16. My mom took her to the piercing shop to get her nose and her belly button pierced because my sister just asked for it like, [inaudible 9:25] she's already going down the rabbit hole because by then, I already had a bunch of piercings, I kept going, and everything like that. I went hard when I was 18 and then that's it. So that was a lot of fun year for piercings for sure has something new every few months but so I had to wait till I was 18 and it's been an uphill [inaudible 9:56] with my parents, but now they're like, they know I'm 22 they know I'm not gonna change.
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Jessica and Sammie talk about how they confide to their sisters about their piercings
Sammie: They can just only hope that I have less, but it's never gonna happen. I also have a stepsister, and she's amazing. We've shopped at your guys’ shop before together, and she also is a big inspo because when she was 19, I was like, in sixth grade and seeing her with all these cool hair colors, and piercings. I was like, yes, and we just became buddies because she had my back. She's like, again, another one? And I'm like, Yeah, she's like, you're a mom, though and I'm like, Oh, dude, don't remind me, so it is really fun though because she keep my little secret and then she asked me without me get thanksgiving, and I'm like, Andrea I am never telling you anything again. She's like, I thought they knew, and I'm like, Oh my God.
Jessica: I had a similar experience with my sister. She's younger than me. I grew up similar to you, my parents are more conservative and I am covered in tattoos and piercings, so it's like you're a good confider but when you tell your mom that you got your navel pierced, she's gonna be like, that's gonna rip out. Why would you do that? So I would tell my sister. I'm like, don't tell mom but I did this. Like when I got my tongue pierced, I called her and FaceTime her through the whole procedure, and then she tells mom, and then my mom called me right afterwards. And you have your tongue piercing, you know? It swells and I have two. So I got two at the same time so I couldn't even fit my tongue in my mouth and my mom calls. I am like trying to like mumble to my sister, and my sister's like don't answer and then she goes, mom calling me now. So now my mom's on. She knows.
Sammie: That's how it goes between...that's how it goes in our family. My mom is so weird like that like, that's how it goes but here's the deal, when my sister tells me stuff, don't leave or when I told her stuff.
Sammie: It's everywhere and I mean, I love my sister and everything. God bless her heart and everything but god damn, she's so I can't with her.
Jessica: It might be an older sister thing because it's similar for me and my sister. I'm older, so I have a harder time keeping her secrets but she always keeps mine.
Sammie: That's how it'd be though. I mean, it's whatever though but my sister, she's very different than I. She's way more like my mom; she's very conservative. It's really sad to see how conservative she is, but that's who she is and she also hates my hair like my mom does. She doesn't really care for tattoos unless its of her. She's very like that and she doesn't want my piercings either. Every now and then she'll just be bold and be like, you know, you would be so pretty if you just took some of those out, if your hair was just black. She's like, I could help you dye it and I'm like, bro, I don't need help.
Jessica: I know you're not the only person who's gotten those comments because I've gotten them too and I've talked to a couple of people now and they've also gotten them so what kind of advice would you have for our listener who is having a hard time struggling maybe with their parents and doesn't have quite the same sense of self?
Sammie gives advice to those who are struggling with their parents and doesn’t have the same sense of self
Sammie: I would say, you know, it's going to work out, it's going to be okay, because like my parents threatened to throw me out. Anytime I got a new tattoo or piercing and they would be like, how much did it cost? My parents are very funny with money. They would be like, how much does that cost? How much does this cost? How much does that cost? Because I was going to school, living rent-free and stuff and I'm like, this is none of your business. I also work 40 hours a week. A lot of do what I want, but I would just say it's gonna be okay, if you're really scared, if you get a body modification and, someone doesn't take it too well, I know you spent money on it, but you can always take it out. Things get worse before they get better, and the thing is, you can always get piercings, whenever. Don't put yourself in that situation but you know, also like, don't be afraid to be yourself. I waited so long and 18 does not sound that long, but like I really waited so long to look I wanted to look and anytime I get a body modification, I just think, that part of myself is even just so much better. It really brings yourself confidence so right now I don't have my vertical labret. It just wasn't working out so I have to wait to get that redone and I feel like a toe. It's so funny how things that are there every day and then it fell off during my sleep and it closed up so I know. It hurts you kind of deal but I would just say
“It's gonna be okay,you can always take piercings out and get them repierced and don't do it yourself.”- Sammie
“It's gonna be okay,you can always take piercings out and get them repierced and don't do it yourself.” - Sammie
Sammie: Please oh god. Please don't do it yourself. Please just wait it out. I have so many friends that did it themselves and I have this one friend and she's a great girl, beautiful girl, amazing person and she has a huge keloid and it's on her cartilage-like it's huge, she has to get it surgically removed by a plastic surgeon which would cost I think a couple hundred dollars for each one she has so it's just not worth it. And it's going to be okay. If you have to wait it out until you're 18, wait it out. If you have to wait it out longer then wait it out. You can always go and get it, you know? So that's what I would say: don't do it yourself and it's gonna be okay.
Jessica and Sammie discuss the possible outcomes if you pierce yourself
Jessica: Yeah, that's a great advice. I understand because it's hard to wait it out. I mean, I'm not a piercer, I just run the studio and I got to like, I've watched so many procedures now and I know how to clean everything and use the tools and all that but I can't do it either so I'm like, that's where I'm like when people tell me I want to pierce myself. I'm like, I get it but I suggest you don't do it because I wanted to do it, I've thought like, oh, anyone is equipped to pierced themselves, and not be a bit of me, but I haven't done it because I know I'm gonna mess it up or mess my body up in a way that's going to cause a lot of issues down the road and might even prevent you from being able to get that piercing.
Sammie: Yeah, for sure. It can do more harm than good and there's some people where they pierce it and nothing will happen. They will never get an infection, but those are also the same people that look 40 when they're really 17 so it's okay, they're not human. But it's so important to not do it yourself. If you want to do something to change yourself because you're bottled up in quarantine and everything. Just do your hair at this point, get bangs, I don't care. Dye your hair, put some mud on it, maybe it'll tend to your hair but [inaudible 17:20], I don't know but I would not do anybody modification. Definitely not and growing up, there's this part of my school and they called it like the rotunda and they call these kids that rotunda rats, and we were all the misfits kind of deal but even that, that place was very spiky, and I could never fit in but I just remember seeing them having all those kids and they would always have like some piercings and they always did it themselves and I'm like, that's why it don't look good.
Jessica: You're like they're infected.
Sammie: Yeah. I'm like, Oh my god, and there's this one chick and she had these two and these two I forget what they're called and they got infected because she was in middle school and she did herself. So you know what her parents did, they took her to an actual shop, and she got them repierced professionally, and I mean, that's one way to get your way but gosh, like -
Jessica: Yeah. The amount of pain and with oral piercings specifically, if it gets infected, it can cause a lot of different health issues because of where the blood vessels and everything Iie. Where I'm like, I see the TikTok videos of people doing it and like oh, no please, if you're gonna do it, like not that part like-
Sammie: Oh my god, that makes me squirm.
Jessica: I know! I did delete that. I can't do this.
Sammie: I feel like that's bad juju to watch something like that.
Jessica: Oh my God! I can't participate.
Sammie: Definitely not. No.
Jessica: Oh, what is the craziest thing you've ever done to your hair?
Sammie shares the craziest thing she have ever done to her hair
Sammie: Oh, so probably, so I was 17 and I had been working for a year so my parents made me start driving and get a car when I was 16. They just made me becoming an adult at 16 and I can't and it's like okay, whatever. I kind of resent them for it, but it's okay like I'm stronger for it now. So crazy thing I did in my hair. I had long black hair had grown out highlights from what my mom did highlights and she only did six. My mom is conservative so she's also a hairdresser, and she'll do whatever the client wants but she never like with fully just actually do my hair and like actually do my hair. You know what I did? I didn't tell her I was getting my hair done. I picked up my like, not literally but I just picked up my shit and I went to a different hairdresser, got my hair done, came home with beautiful curls after just stuffing and I was sitting in the chair for 10 hours and then I stuffed my face with McDonald's then I went home and my mom was just like I could have done that. She's like you just would have had to pay for the products, I could have done that, could have saved you some money and I got a really good deal for it like it was 165 and this was before I knew what tipping was so I feel really bad that I never tipped that hairdresser. Though she was really nice to me and everything like that so if I ever get a service done by her, I'm just gonna make it rain because she like made it. So it was red like a more natural red up here to blonde and it gotten pretty light so it was a beautiful ombre and this was like back in 2015/2016 when ombre was still back in style. Ombre is still kind of in style but right now balayage has taken over.
Jessica: Yeah, it really has. I was like trying to think of how to say the word like the "bay-lage" "balyage."
Sammie: Somewhere in there kind of deal like I don't ever expect my clients to know what all the terms are and everything like that is once my life. They only come just to visit and get their hair done.
Jessica: I feel the same way about piercings. There is the technical term and then there's term and I never expect anyone knows the technical term because it's my life, not theirs. They're not nearly as obsessed with what everything is called as I am, you know?
Sammie: Oh, yeah, for sure. You can never find the right name sometimes. It's like, no, it's this, or it's this like-
Jessica: I know the one thing and you're like, what are we talking about now? Like, even with like the official name, like sometimes there's different words aside from the official name. And then at that point, there is no official name now. There's too many.
Sammie: There's so many translations. It's like, Oh, I get lost, but that's why I just like leave it up to you guys, and then I do my best.
Jessica: Well, I want to thank you so much for your time for sharing a bit of your story and I hope that we get to see you when this is all over.
Sammie: Yeah, I definitely will be coming to visit. It's been a while since I've been in there and everything like that, but definitely, I'm ready. and everything like that. Thank you for having me!
Jessica: Yeah, have a great rest of your day!
Sammie: You too. Bye!
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