I was recently reminded by my mom that I helped create a new beauty category not just in California but in the United States. I reminded her that that had not been my intent. I just wanted to right a wrong. I am not a political person by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I avoid political discussions, and for that matter, politicians. However, almost 10 years ago, I got fed up with the State Board of Cosmetology handing us tickets for “unlicensed activity.” When I asked the inspector what activity, they referred to Threading. The State Board is the governing body for Cosmetologists and Estheticians, and technically anyone in the business of hair removal.
I asked how Threading could be licensed, and their response was it couldn’t be since it wasn’t taught at Cosmetology. So let me guess this right. You hand me at $1000 ticket for an activity that you don’t teach? My mom and sister were as perplexed, and thus began my journey to convince the legislature that threading was more than hair removal. I called everyone I knew. I attended meetings. I testified at committees. I travelled to Sacramento so many times that it almost felt like a second home. My goal was simple To education and inform them that threading was a cultural activity that did not need to be regulated by a organization that didn’t teach it. After months of negotiations, I became part of a consortium that helped create an exemption for Threading, one of the only two given (the other was for African hair braiding).
Now I look around, and am amazed to see threading salons popping up as quickly as Starbucks. What had started as my own small journey to create cultural awareness has now turned into a mainstream beauty trend. I am grateful for all those who helped me realize this, and more, in awe of the power of the Art of Threading.
Recently I ran across a blog post entitled Eyebrow threading: It’s like flossing your face by Cezanne Colvin that cracked me up. The blog post itself was a few years old, but what caught my eye were the author’s admission that she kept up her eyebrows “the way most of us try to keep up with the Kardashians.” As someone who probably could not name all the Kardashians, I knew the author did not have me in mind when she wrote this. However, I fully appreciated her commitment to her eyebrows. She then continued making me smile by stating ” as we all know, brows that aren’t groomed invade your space like the Kudzu vine until they’re all you can see. Just ask Colin Farrell, actor and unfortunate victim of eyebrow circumstance.” I was hooked already.
Then the author went on to make me cringe: “From a distance, threading looks like a woman is terrorizing another woman’s face with a bunch of string. In reality, threading is a woman terrorizing another woman’s face with a bunch of string.” Ouch. That is not the image of threading I want people to believe. If you feel terrorized by anyone on your face, then that person is not the one for you. I am compelled to be snarky and say that author went to a competitors, but I truly believe that the Art of Threading is not something you should ever dread in the right artist’s hands.
The author ended the post saying that after her threading session, “you look so regal afterward that it doesn’t even matter.” I may not agree with the method, but I can definitely second the sentiment!
On Saturday, I finally got a chance to go watch my friend Anjul Nigam perform in the amazing show “A Nice Indian Boy.” I admit, I am more of a musical show kind of fan, but when I heard the premise of this show, I knew I had to go. An Indian boy brings home his fiancee to meet his parents. Except its not a good indian girl but a white man! Hearing that, I had to go see it, and the show did not disappoint. If you are in Southern California, I highly recommend checking it out. The main thing that did resonate with me immediately is the value of family in our culture. As I walked out after the lights turned, I couldn’t help thinking how intertwined I am with my family.
It is natural for me to consult (they may call it fighting) my family about things that are important to me. I find myself often having lunch with them, and we discuss what’s on our minds. I am proud to say that my oldest does the same with me. It baffles me that there are those who do not speak to their parents or siblings, and others who engage in decade long feuds of not speaking to each other. And then there are some who have created their type of families with friends, co-workers and online support systems. Ultimately, it always come down to the same thing:s are you being supported? Are you being listened to all? And most importantly, are you being loved?
Acceptance is paramount. We all hunger for it whether or not we admit it. We all need to be heard. We form families to not just be alone, but to create a blanket of love and understanding. So yes it’s nice to have an Indian family, but more than that it feels wonderful to be understood. I wish you well.
The morning quiet has always moved me deeply. I love walking into my Zen room and take in the beauty that nature has bestowed on me that day. The silence fills in the gaps as the day awakens. I sip on my tea, and take in nature as it is meant to be enjoyed. In those moments, it strikes me how grateful for all that has occurred in my life. I cannot help feeling proud of my family as well as all the people I consider loved ones. More than anything else. I am aware that I am on a journey whose path has been in front of me for most of my life. Each person that has come across my path has either pushed me along or helped me grow as the person I am today. I used to wonder sometimes if I was on the right path, and I have to admit there were many, many days I asked if something as simple as a cotton thread could really make a difference in someone’s life.
I never imagined being partners with my mom, sister, husband and brother, and actually enjoying working with them. It amazes me that in our ups and down, we are in synch, and we remind each other of what our business path is: to be the best in the world of brow artistry. To some or maybe many, it may not mean much that we are talking about eyebrows, or about Mehndi or something that is cosmetic. Yet what we are really doing is not about being superficial, but sticking to your path. It is about making your destiny. In a nutshell, always remember your path and your journey. No matter how many people tell you to abandon it, it is always up to you to create your own path and destiny.