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Benji Holmes


When I was a child, I remember stealing my little sisters Barbies. I would wait until she had gone to sleep, then I would sneak into her room and take them. I would pretend that were getting make-overs. They would get new color (with a sharpie) and new haircuts. I would also design new outfits out of construction paper and tape or glue them to their bodies. Luckily, my sister didn’t mind, as long as they weren’t new.  Looking back, I’ve always loved hairdressing. It’s always been heavily present in my life. My mother and big sister took their hair VERY seriously, like any true southern lady does. I remember them walking around the house with the biggest rollers in their hair. They would spray and tease, curl and scrunch, and blow dry for, what seemed to me as a child, for hours. When they would emerge from the bathroom, I would marvel at the huge hair they had just created and wish that I could that one day.  When I got the chance, I would try to style my little sisters hair. I loved to brush and braid it. I loved the feeling of making someone beautiful. After her hair was done, we would put on fashion shows. I, of course, selected all the outfits and accessories for her to wear. We both loved it. And she still comes to me for fashion advice, although now she dresses much cooler than I ever did.  I was also very into making art. I always had a sketchbook in my hand as a kid. I would fill it with drawings and paintings and hope that someday I would become a famous artist. This followed me all way to high school, where I was the President of the Art Club. Art was my niche. Its what made me feel special and set me apart from other people my age.  


Naturally, art was my major in college. I attended UAB and had a concentration in graphic design and photography. But the further along in the program I got, the more I realized that this was not what I wanted. I didn’t want to be stuck behind a computer for 8 hours a day worrying about deadlines. And I also didn’t want to take pictures of fat babies in flowerpots for a living either. I had to change something. I was getting less inspired each day and less confident in my abilities.  So I decided to take the summer off from class after my third year at UAB. I knew I didn’t want to go back so I had to come up with a plan so that my parents wouldn’t kill me for dropping out of college when I was so close to being done.  But I didn’t know where to start. Art was the only thing I had ever really been passionate about. If I couldn’t do that, then what else was left? It was a dark time in my life. I was lost and hopeless about my future.  Then, one day, my best friend asked me to go with her on a tour of the Aveda Institute with her. She wanted to be a makeup artist and she had heard amazing things about the school. So I decided tag along with her. As soon as I walked through those doors, I had my “Ah Ha” moment. Hair! It was the perfect blend of everything I loved, art, color, design, photography and beauty.  We both applied that day and were accepted.  I quickly adapted everything I had learned in art school and applied it to doing hair. I excelled and was at the top of my class. I won several awards for highest scores and grades. I even won student of the month. I had finally found my true calling and I was hungry for it. I gained a reputation in the school and quickly was fully booked for appointments all day, everyday I was at school. I loved everything about being a stylist.

 A few months before graduation, my dear friend Mel Hammons asked me if I would be interested in a job at her salon when I finished school. Of course I was! Sanctuary was one of the top salons in Birmingham! She set up an interview with the owners, Todd and Micah. I had never been so nervous in my life, but I suppose I did well! I got the job! I started two weeks after I graduated and it had been a dream ever since! I have the job that I don’t dread going to. I have the job where I get to have fun every single day. And I have the job where I am allowed to be my creative self, and where my talents are nurtured and grow thanks to the amazing staff of stylists that I work with.  Now I get to realize my dream of doing the thing that I love surrounded by people I also love.  Hair is my life!  It always has been.