I want to tell you a little about myself and how I fell in love with doing hair. My name is Eden Girma and I am from Ethiopia. I also grew up in a beautiful family, full of love. As a child, I always did kids’ hair on Saturdays and Sundays, so they could be ready for school on Monday. I honestly couldn’t wait for the weekends, so I could be the community hairstylist. One of my cousins would always say “I can’t wait until you have kids, just so I can see how you would style their hair.”
My childhood was great, but as a teenager, I had to face some difficult times and make tough decisions. In 1999, I came to America and that was a big change for me. During that time, I was also pregnant. After I had my sweet baby girl, my focus was on school and raising my baby girl with my mom’s help.
Once I finished high school, I started going to community college, but, in my heart, that wasn’t where I wanted to be. Even though I was nervous, I had to make a decision to either quit college to pursue my passion, or please my parents and stay at the community college.
In Ethiopian communities, the parents plan out their children’s lives, meaning the Ethiopian parents’ dream is for their children to go to college, get a good job and be the greatest they can be. Sometimes, that can be challenging, because you have the same desires for yourself, but you may have a different point of view from your parents on how you should achieve that dream.
I finally realized that I was trying to finish college just to make my mom happy and proud of me. One day, while in English class, nothing the teacher was talking about was registering, so I walked out of class, then called my oldest sister and told her I walked out and she said, “Finally! You have to do what you love to do,” she also said, “do it for you, not anyone else.” So, I decided that day in 2005 to sign up for hair school. Initially, I didn’t tell anyone I signed up, because I didn’t want anyone to stop me. Eventually, my mom heard about my decision and she asked me about it. I told her hair was what I wanted to do and I was going to do it. My mom went on and on about what vision she had for me. I wished that was where my heart was, because I always wanted to make her happy, but at that time, I had my mind set on doing hair. She didn’t completely understand my decision, but she was supportive.
In Ethiopia, doing hair is a hobby, not a career, so I had to prove to my mom that I could make it happen and that hair would be my career. I remember one of my aunt’s husband telling me, “I’m proud of you for doing what you love doing.” He has an amazing job and makes good money, but he said, “I’m just doing this to make money and to be able to provide for my family.” He also said, “I wish I could tell you that I am happy to go to work everyday, but I’m not.” That was one of my best days, to know I had someone who was proud of my decision. I had to make sure my family would be proud one day too, so I began my journey in doing what I love. I had an amazing group of people that I learned from, and today, here I am, enjoying what I love to do, with my family behind me every step of the way.
Now, I continue to live out my passion and I’m always challenging myself to get better. Most importantly, I truly enjoy seeing the smiles on my clients’ faces after I’ve done their hair. Those smiles confirm that I made one of the best decisions in my life and that was to turn my childhood dream into reality.