Mon | Mar 30, 2020

Camaria Thomas: Building confidence

Published:Sunday | October 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMRocheda Bartley
Hairstylist Camaria Thomas
Shanique Simpson is being dolled up by Camaria Thomas, owner and teacher at Camaria School of Locs, Braiding and Barbering Techniques.
Shanique Simpson's hair is being done by student stylist Raven Callender (left) while instructor Aneika Dean guides her.
Rohan Roden (model) is been groom by Orlando Barrett (student).
Shanique Simpson's hair being done by Raven Callender.

Being fabulous is always our target, whether we're interested in couture or a street-style fad. And, usually, a fine hairdo will complete our look. But how meaningful is all of this if we lack self-confidence? It's worth absolutely nothing!

Based on that perspective, ardent hairstylist Camaria Thomas is going beyond the four corners of her workstation, passing on her talent to others, building their confidence.

Thomas is the CEO and founder of Camaria School of Locs, Braids, and Barbering Technology. She trains others to dominate the craft, but also spares some time investing in building the competence of those who are unable to afford her services.

Growing up as a ward of the State and encountering challenges en route to her success, she is fully aware of the hardships that life will throw at you. But developing her skills at Durand's School of Beauty Culture became her salvation two decades ago.

Now, partnering with institutions such as police youth clubs, non-profit organisations, high schools and the Young Women's Christian Association, to give hope and transform the lives of young adults, has been one of the recent ventures.

"I feel like I have to share my knowledge, especially with young men. I can't put a price on this because some of these youth are unemployed and it can become a tool for them to survive ... it will change their energy and thought process," Thomas explained to Outlook.

Volunteering her service is equally as important and satisfying as her time in the classroom at her Slipe Road-based beauty school. However, despite her efforts, she confesses that she has stumbled upon a number of obstacles that has slowed her progress in accomplishing what she had initially set out to do.

Insufficient resources is the number one setback in both her workshop and non-compulsory grooming pursuits.

"Tools, for example, the mannequin head, which is relatively expensive. When we go out to a location, we don't have enough. So at times, the participants will use live mannequins (actual people), which limits what we can do. We work for long hours, and the constant combing for the day will make the person's scalp tender," said Thomas.

Protective styles are her speciality - wig making, a plethora of braiding techniques and locs are her specialities.

"I'm very passionate about natural hair, so you won't find me doing chemical processing. And these are what I teach my students and those who I am impacting," she explained with a smile.

Her drive to press forward with her exploits comes from the evolution of the industry. Speaking to Outlook, she reminisced on a period when persons thought that hairstylists chose the field because they were not educated. Now, she's proud to declare that she has taught lawyers and many others from varying professions.