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Rising Stars: Meet Ana Cortes

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ana Cortes.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I have always been passionate about hair and makeup from a very young age, playing in my mom’s makeup and giving my barbies haircuts at the age of five. I was always the girl doing everyone’s hair and makeup from a very young age. I have always been obsessed with bright colors and anything glitter. After high school, I decided to go to Beauty School to pursue my passion and after graduating and getting a job at a salon at the mall, I was introduced to MAC Cosmetics. My whole world changed and I remember walking by the counter and being hypnotized by all the colors, the loud music and the cool Makeup Artists working behind the counter. I was so intimidated so it took a while to build the courage to ask for an application but I wanted to work there so bad and eventually, after applying various times and years later, I was finally hired as a part-time 15-hr Artist.

I worked my way up from part-time to eventually become the Store Manager on the Plaza. I worked at various locations, including moving to Wichita for a few years to open a counter and got to participate in so many amazing events, experiences and got some awesome opportunities over the 13 years I was with the company. I will always cherish that time and be grateful for everything I learned and experienced.

Along with so many people, the pandemic affected my job as my store suddenly closed and I was out of a job. I decided I had two choices, continue to work retail or finally pursue my dream of opening up my own hair & makeup studio. I’m proud of myself for having the courage to open my own business and especially in the middle of this pandemic. Being my own boss, working the days and hours that I want and doing what I love is truly life-changing. I get to do what I love without having to answer to anyone. Making people feel beautiful and being part of people’s wedding day makes it all worth it.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Not at all! It’s scary, it’s risky and you’re in your own but it’s so worth it. I’ve only been open for four months so I’m still learning and growing. Still, building a clientele and navigating social media and other marketing tools can be overwhelming and expensive.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I provide hair services such as cuts, color, styling and makeup for all occasions. I’m focusing more on weddings as that’s truly my passion and what I specialize in. I feel like what sets me apart is making people feel beautiful and glam while still looking like themselves. I would say my signature style is natural glam but I will do whatever my client wants. I pride myself on being a perfectionist and making sure my clients feel pampered and special, especially on their wedding day. I have been in this industry for over 20 years so I would say my experience sets me apart.

Is there anyone you’d like to thank or give credit to?
First and foremost my family and close friends, they have always believed in me and cheered me on. Especially when I had doubts about opening up my own studio. Special shout out to my Dad, who helped decorate my studio and watched me climb a 15 ft ladder to install the wallpaper myself because I’m a perfectionist. I had many mentors while at MAC but my friend Denise has always been someone I looked up to and aspired to be like; she was my trainer and one of the main reasons I was inspired to stay at MAC so long. Especially thankful to my clients who have trusted me over the years with hair and makeup for all their special events. I wouldn’t be here without them.

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