When I first started this project, I knew I wanted my sweet friend Allee to be apart of it. This girl is hard-working, inspiring, Jesus-loving, and is willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish her dreams. Oh, and she's a hairstyling QUEEN.
Allee packed up her bags and left her small town right after graduating high school to move across the country to attend her dream cosmetology school and experience life somewhere else.
She has been thrown countless curveballs... her most recent one being her salon being shut down again (that's right, again) because of COVID-19, but Allee stays strong in her faith and knows that it will all be worth it in the end.
If you've ever considered moving to a new place or taking a risk in life, take some notes and bookmark this interview because it's a GOOD one!
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
Hey everyone! I am super stoked for you to get to know me! Super huge thanks to Maddie girl for asking me to do this. Love you, sis!
Anyway, I’m Allee, short for Alexandria! I’m 21 years old and a hairstylist in downtown San Diego, California. I was born and raised in a teenie tiny town named Covington in good ol’ Indiana. I have lived in San Diego for the past year and nine months, so about two years. After high school, I chose to chase my dream, and shortly after I found myself working at the number one salon in San Diego. Style Lounge Salon is my place of work and I love every stinkin’ minute of it! I am an assistant for two of the most talented people I have ever met and I also take my own clients one day a week! I truly love what I do about as much as I love Jesus! Keep reading to see how I went from a small town to a big city gal!
2. What is at the top of your bucket list?
I love this question. I have always wanted to go to the middle east and tour all around cities in the Bible. Seeing where Jesus has literally set foot would be a dream come true. Bethlehem, the Dead Sea, the Jordan River, Jerusalem, and Nazareth are all very close together. Believe it or not, but some remains from biblical times are still there! How cool would that be to see where Jesus LITERALLY was!
3. What are some of your hobbies that aren’t related to your work?
After living in San Diego for almost two years (wow, I can’t believe it’s been that long) what I love to do most in my free time is go to the beach to tan, surf, and watch the sunset, hike mountains, work out at my CrossFit gym, drive to Los Angeles for day trips, or drive to Arizona for a weekend at the lake with my friends, and attend an amazing church on Sundays. I love all things outdoors and I would say I am pretty active! I am constantly going somewhere and having as much fun as possible!
4. Explain your journey of leaving your hometown to move across the country to a new place, attend a new school, and now have a new job.
I never fancied the idea of staying in my hometown. The thought of never experiencing what the world has to offer and staying in my tiny hometown bubble made me feel every bit of claustrophobic. I concocted my desire to live somewhere warm, my love for doing hair, and the need to be successful all together and came up with SoCal.
I fell in love with Paul Mitchell the School San Diego when I was sixteen and had my heart set to move to San Diego the fall after my high school graduation. I had no money to my name, I didn’t have a place to live, or a job lined up. I packed my entire life in boxes and me, my mom, my grandma, and cousin set out to San Diego. My cousin and grandma drove home after me and my mom made it to our destination safe and sound. If you know my mom you know she is by far the thriftiest, most frugal woman I know. Trusted House Sitters is a website where you can house sit or pet sit while the family is gone on vacation. My mom and I stayed in a beautiful three-story home for FREE with the company of a cute Bengal kitty and yellow lab! We were house-sitting while looking for a place to live. It was by the literal grace of God that we found an apartment referred to us by the family we were house-sitting for. Had we not met the family to house sit for we would not have found my first apartment. My mom stayed with me off and on for almost a year. I am so thankful she did because I was so unaware of how to even live on my own let alone a city with millions of people across the country plus I knew absolutely no one.
I started school shortly after moving and my first day was better than I had ever dreamed of. My soul was entirely on fire. There is just something about following a passion that brings a sense of peace and purpose. Doing hair is my passion. I would do it for free if it wouldn’t result in me being poor. I thoroughly enjoyed school and learning about my craft. Throughout cosmetology school, I was still acclimating to a new place. Let me tell y'all, culture shock is DEFINITELY a thing and boy did I have it bad.. Let me remind you, I grew up in a town with 3,500 people and here I am in a city with around 4 million.
Over the course of my time in school, my horizons broadened beyond what I ever thought was possible. I met some really neat people in school and gym who I still remain friends with. I am here to tell you most people are good. The world is nothing to be afraid of. I encourage you to go, see, and do as many things out of your comfort zone as often and as much as you can. Sometimes it is scary, but press on. Had I let my fear of failure get in the way of chasing my dreams I would not be working at my dream job.
After getting my cosmetology license around Thanksgiving I went home to Indiana for two months. I wanted to be home for the holidays and spend some quality time with family. The day before I was to fly back to San Diego I just couldn’t shake the feeling of, am I really doing enough to secure my future? Am I shooting for the stars? Am I underestimating myself? I sure was. I knew I wanted to work at Style Lounge, it is THE place to be. It’s the salon that everyone in my cosmetology school was chasing after. I never reached out or called or handed in a resume. Heck, the salon was two blocks from my apartment, and I had never even paid a visit. I didn’t feel good enough, worthy enough, or equipped enough to even try. I sold myself short. Anyway, I was sitting on my bedroom floor in Indiana and I decided to just call and see if they were hiring. I wasn’t even expecting to get an answer, but I did. A five-minute phone conversation and me just giving my anxiety to God resulted in me having an interview with the owners two days later. I landed in San Diego the next day around eleven at night and I had an interview with my dream salon at ten the next morning. Two weeks later I was officially hired as a full-time assistant to the co-owner as well as two other stylists. Moral to the story, lean into your God-given passion, pray about it, and just GO FOR IT!
5. You and I have talked before about people wanting to chase their dreams and take a risk but not exactly knowing how to do it. If someone wanted to do what you did and move to a new place, how should they prepare and make their dream a reality?
If it is your true heart’s desire, preparation isn’t needed. Just start doing it. Preparation relieves anxiety and nervousness, yes. But sometimes all you need for preparation is a little bit of faith and cash and you are good to go. There is no need to make your dreams complicated with the logistics of planning. If you want it and it is His will, it WILL work.
6. What was the hardest part of chasing this dream, and how did you overcome it?
The hardest part was not knowing. When I came back to San Diego after spending two months in Indiana I had thirty days to find a job and a new apartment all at once. I had never been so stressed in my life. Not even when I was performing a dance I only knew eight counts of in front of hundreds of people. I prayed so hard for weeks leading up to flying back. My mom didn’t go back with me so I was really doing this whole adult thing all by myself. I just prayed and prayed. Landing the job at Style Lounge was an answered prayer, finding a roommate was an answered prayer, and finding an affordable place to live was an answered prayer. GOD’S GOT YOUR BACK, TRUST ME! I overcame everything thrown my way with my faith and trusting that if this is what is destined for me it will happen for me.
7. If you could give one piece of advice to girls in their twenties, what would it be?
Don’t be stagnant. Go and grow. Being young only happens once. You don’t get wise with age, you get wise with experience. Don’t waste your precious youth, instead use it to your advantage. Go make mistakes and learn from them.
8. Where can people find you?
Instagram Personal: @alexandriaapplegate
Instagram Business: @hairbyallee
Style Lounge Instagram: @styleloungesd
Allee is the perfect example of taking risks in life. I'm sure there were countless times she thought she might fail, but she kept her faith and kept working hard to make ends meet. Your biggest dreams aren't going to be handed to you on a silver platter.
hard work + faith + risk-taking = getting closer to those big dreams
If you grew up in a small town, don't limit your dreams because of that. It's okay to want more and to go experience that. You can always come back to your hometown.
Also, Allee makes occasional trips home to do hair, so follow her if you're a local girl to snag an appointment while you can!!