Meet Victoria Cartagena
Congratulations to our April Lash Artist of the Month, Tonya! She entered into our Show Us Your Spongework LAM contest and caught our eye with her sparkly entry. Tonya is a sweet soul who loves lashing and is on her way to become an esthetician. She has also served in the US Marine Corps, which we found to be so cool. Go show her some love!
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO CONNECT WITH YOU?
Instagram is the best way to connect with me and book as well. @sweetenerskin is the handle.
WHERE DO YOU WORK?
I just left the Marine Corps, and am dedicating my time to school. I’m going to school for esthetics, and we started before COVID hit. Right now we are taking virtual classes, and it’s about 6 hours a day on Zoom, and we’re hoping to go back to the classroom by July.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN LASHING AND WHAT CERTIFICATIONS DO YOU HAVE?
I started wearing lashes 2 years ago. After a terrible experience in a nail salon, my friend Jasmine fixed me up and I fell in love with them and the art of lash extensions. She certified me in lash extensions, and I’ve been lashing since last September. I’m recently Brow Lift Certified through Lash Affair as well, and I loved the class! I’ve really loved all the online classes available. With so much down time due to COVID, it’s a great time for education.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A LASH ARTIST? WHAT GOT YOU INTO LASHING?
My first experience was a bad one. I really didn’t know how to do the research to look for the perfect artist for me. I was inspired when Jasmine did my lashes and it was an entirely different experience for me. She made me feel so good! All of us have insecurities, and I dealt with them all the time growing up. I never felt as good about myself as I should, and lash extensions totally changed that for me. I want to help other people feel beautiful and as good about themselves as they should, and that’s why I got into doing lash extensions.
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR GOING INTO THIS INDUSTRY?
I think my biggest fear was being new to the industry. I always look at other lash artists on social media and look at their work. I always think “they’re so good”, or “I hope I can have that much talent someday”. I have to remember that I’m just starting off, and remind myself that I will find my own way.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE ASPECT OF BEING A LASH ARTIST?
The way you create each set of lash extensions, is an art form. I love making people feel good about themselves and expressing through creating art.
OTHER THAN LASHING, WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HOBBY?
I think I’m a homebody! I love hanging out with my wife and dogs, binge watching Netflix, and being around family. Also, going to the gym! (When they’re open!)
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A NEW LASH ARTIST?
The best advice I could give is when you are first starting off, remember to take your time with your full sets. Try your best not to feel rushed. Don’t be nervous, and have confidence in yourself. Confidence is a really big thing. Don’t let yourself get caught up in social media comparison. No one can do what you do the exact way you do it, and that’s what makes you unique. Just allow yourself to find your own way and your own style. Another big thing is continue your education, try to keep learning and improve yourself.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING TO ACCOMPLISH IN THE LASH INDUSTRY?
Eventually, I want to start my own business. When I get there, I want to be able to help other artists feel comfortable with their work.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR INSPIRATIONS?
My friend Jasmine has been a huge inspiration for me. She’s taught me so much, not just about lash extensions, but life as well. She’s always been there for me. My wife, April, has always been a huge support as well. My mom, Claudia, who passed 3 years ago. I feel like everything I do in life, I do it for her. She’s my number one supporter, and I know she would want me to do what I love and to be happy.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY YOU’VE FOUND TO GAIN AND RETAIN YOUR CLIENTS?
Being real with your clients is so important. If you can be yourself, they will feel that authenticity and they will feel that you’re honest and straight up with them. The relationship you develop with them goes way beyond lash extensions, you’re like a therapist to them. When you’re honest and real, it builds that relationship with them and keeps them coming back.
WHAT SETS YOU APART FROM OTHER LASH ARTISTS? WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
I am always trying to learn new things and educate myself. I won’t settle, and I am always improving myself from the day before. What’s next for me is once I graduate school, I want to start working in a salon to gain some experience. In a few years I would love to start my own business, and just go with the flow on that and see where it takes me.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LASH AFFAIR PRODUCT?
I love the ModesTease fixer, for lashes and brows!
Use code “TONYASPICK” at checkout to save 15% on ModesTease Lash + Brow Fixer on 5/20 and 5/21!
Want to see more of Tonya? Follow her on Instagram @sweetenerskin!
Become our next Lash Artist of the Month! To enter, make sure to follow us on Instagram at @lashaffairbyjp. Look for the LAM photo and follow the instructions in the description. Good luck and happy lashing!