Tiffany Chao

The Salon Professional Academy

San Jose, CA

Sydell L. Miller “Total Image” Scholarship – $7,500

“The Power of Community”

Tiffany’s parents immigrated from Taiwan and instilled in her the value of financial security, defined as “doctor, lawyer, or accountant.” After earning an accounting degree, working for a global accounting firm and studying for her CPA exam, Tiffany developed acne and the accompanying stress. However, she also discovered the power of community. Experimenting with products ranging from black soap to scar cream, Tiffany connected with bloggers and started sharing her own journey into skincare. “Instagram and the skincare community became my creative outlets,” says Tiffany, noting that skincare conversations fed the need for creativity that was lacking in her career. Looking forward to a future in skincare Tiffany notes, “Esthetics is more than a career. For me, it’s personal.” Watch her video here.

"Total Image" Scholarship

Kianna Mercado

Flair Beauty College

Valencia, CA

Sydell L. Miller “Total Image” Scholarship – $7,500

“The Joy of Giving”

Studying as a special effects make-up artist, Kianna fell in love with lashes and the art of a well-sculpted lash line. But a house call to a client opened her eyes to an even bigger passion – the opportunity to change lives. When her client shared that she had breast cancer and wanted lashes to celebrate her birthday, Kianna realized the transformative power of beauty. She even donated her services to her client as a birthday gift. “When you have cancer, things are constantly taken away from you, and I want to find a way to give back,” says Kianna who aspires to fund a non-profit to provide esthetics services for people with cancer. And she’s found that giving is reciprocal. Remarking on her career and the joy it gives her, Kianna says, “I am working in a job that doesn’t feel like a job. Esthetics just makes me happy.” Watch her video here.