Twenty years ago, Flavia Leal immigrated to the US from Brazil with a baby daughter and little else to her name. Her parents needed her support, and she prayed that a new life in America would bring success with it.
She soon realized that her longtime twin passions for hair and beauty would be her ticket to a better life. Naturally gifted at hairdressing, makeup, and teaching, she was able to scrape together the funds to open her own beauty school in Boston, Flavia Leal Beauty School, which quickly filled with students thanks to Leal’s supportive attitude, inclusive policies, and of course, top-notch beauty education.
A few years later, she opened another location before launching Flavia Leal Beauty, her cosmetics line. Today her school is considered a national institution among beauty education centers, and Leal herself is in-demand at beauty events around the world.
She began her foray into the events world by doing small talks and educational sessions at conferences, but soon developed a following for how she added motivational teaching and speaking to her helpful beauty tutorials and advice.
Today, she jets around the world, sharing her unique vision of inner and outer beauty. Her ethos is always one of service to others, and the mogul claims that, without sharing her success, its value is considerably lessened.
Leal is licensed to certify students as experts in manicures, pedicures, esthetics, artificial nail techniques, airbrushing, eyebrow design, professional makeup application, men’s grooming, and cosmetics demonstrations. As graduates, Leal’s students can choose from national or international certifications through the school.
Overcoming Obstacles to Find Inner Beauty
Though Leal’s success story is a heart-warming tale of success in the US, it was no overnight story of triumph. Leal struggled greatly during her first years in the states, enrolling in school while working 80-hour weeks and caring for her baby daughter in substandard housing in the Boston slums.
But that wasn’t all that life had to throw at the young mother before she found success. Between 2008 and 2009, both her mother and father passed away. Her daughter was diagnosed with ADHD shortly after that and needed time-consuming care and treatment to thrive.
It’s her mother’s memory and belief in her that pushed Leal on during her darkest moments. That’s another reason she is such a staunch supporter of other women. “I wanted to fight for my mom’s honor and create a legacy she would be proud of,” Leal said.
Despite what she’s been through, she never let her situation get her down and worked hard to stay generous, positive, strong, and empathetic. She also keeps those traits at the forefront of her business ethos today, applying inclusive practices to her process of accepting students.
Helping Women Grow Their Dreams and Gifts
Leal recalled that the beauty school she attended in Boston struck her as judgemental, and she always felt like an outsider as a student there. They rejected applicants that could not pass a written English test and those that did not hold a diploma from high school.
At the time, Leal barely made the cut. But, she promised herself that someday she would be in a position to help women like herself and that she would do it with fierce love.
“I remember my early days in the country and how hard it was. So when I see a woman walk through the doors of my school and see that same look on her face, I really have no choice but to accept her with open arms. At the end of the day, that’s really why I’m here. To help people,” she said.
She achieved her goals and dreams and is considered an inspiration and mentor to thousands of women whose lives she has touched and changed for the better through her generous education and belief in the gifts of each one of them.
“Anyone can pick up a bottle of nail polish or a makeup brush and get good if they practice enough,” Leal said, “I take it a step further. I want the women I teach to graduate from my courses feeling prepared for whatever life throws at them — because life will throw curveballs no matter what we do.”
With her generous nature and high-level beauty expertise, Leal is a worthy woman that we all can learn from and look up to.
About Flavia Leal