Jalia Pettis’ story as a beauty industry professional began as it would continue, boldly. Originally, Jalia worked with models and management. There she saw a need that was not being fulfilled; beauty professionals who knew how to work with people of color. “If you’re going to be working in a session styling capacity, you have to do everybody,” she said. This gap she saw in the industry urged her to take control herself and she pursed her esthetics license.
“If you’re going to be working in a session styling capacity, you have to do everybody.”
From there her career has reached new heights. “In the last seven years my beauty career has gone off… It’s been one thing after another, after another,” she said. Jalia was a Beacon student in 2015, a NAHA Finalist in 2017 and she began educating other beauty professional in 2018. She is also currently in school to get her hairstyling license to expand her skills.
Although she has accomplished much in her 14 years of work, Jalia still see hurdles in front of her. She had a career prior to becoming a beauty professional, which means she had a later “start” in the beauty space than some. Additionally, the rise of the “influencer” can drown out other professional voices.
“There are so many awesome budding artists that are just looking for an opportunity for their voice to be heard. I feel I’m an advocate for those individuals because I’ve done that before.”
“Focus on you and what you are able to do and what you are able to do well,” Jalia said. Trial and error are a part of the path and honing your own skill will help you reach farther than comparing yourself to everyone else. “You’re constantly going to be comparing yourself to someone else and you need to be comparing yourself to the last time you executed,” she said.
"You need to be comparing yourself to the last time you executed."
Having someone in your corner is an important part of the journey. For Jalia, her best friend is one of those people. “Not only is she my accountability partner, she’s my cheerleader and my sounding board when I’m frustrated,” she said. In the professional beauty space, Jalia looks to Rodrick Samuel as her mentor. “He keeps it super real with me and I appreciate that,” she said.
Reflecting on her relationship with Rodrick, Jalia highlights that a mentor and a mentee should evolve together. “As you evolve, your mentor should evolve,” she said. One of the key components to a symbiotic relationship, is to have a vision as to how that individual will help you progress and grow.
For inspiration in her work, Jalia looks to the 80s and 90s. “I would love to recreate that Patti Labelle hairstyle,” she said. 1990s hip-hop looks and fashion are a major influence on her work. One of her most recent collections “For The Culture” was centered around this aesthetic.