Senior takes next step towards cosmetology

Specializing in female African-American hair


Maria Perez-Barriga

Senior Grace Kanyinku will be studying cosmetology at Aveda Arts and Science Institute Minneapolis in the fall of 2021. She plans to open a salon in the future that specializes in African-American hair, as well as give out free haircuts for homeless people.

Maria Perez Barriga

Through searching online and connecting with a current graduate student, senior Grace Kanyinku realized she wanted to pursue her education at Aveda Arts and Sciences Institute Minneapolis.

“When I was first looking for cosmetology schools, I didn’t really know where to start. I looked up ‘best cosmetology school in Minnesota’ and Aveda is what came up,” Kanyinku said. “Ms. Mueller, the career counselor, connected me with an Aveda graduate that looked like me and had hair like me and I realized it was something I actually wanted to do.”

Kanyinku said she is thrilled upon hearing the news of her acceptance to attend the school in the fall and can’t wait to start learning all about hair treatment. 

“It feels good. I’m gonna be honest with things like good news, that doesn’t really hit me until a little after (it happens) or some kind of preparation I do for it. I’m excited but the feeling hasn’t hit me yet, but all in all it feels really good,” Kanyinku said. 

Senior Rochelle Jackson said Kanyinku is a generous person who is very studious and knows how to enjoy life with having fun at times and knows Kanyinku will do well studying cosmetology. 

“Grace is so nice, she thinks about everybody and she is really focused on her school, but she also knows how to have fun,” Jackson said.

Kayinku said she wants to create a positive impact on the community by learning more about cosmetology in order to help other women feel confident in their own hair.

“I really wanted to show people that I wanted to do my own thing, make my own impact in the community and just give girls that confidence that I get from when I did my hair,” Kanyinku said.

According to Kanyinku, after she stopped hanging out with friends for a while she started having a lot of free time, which led her to discover her passion for learning about hair, especially African-American hair. 

“It started with me having a lot of time on my hands, and getting to know my own hair. I realized I really enjoyed that,” Kanyinku said. “Looking into it, I saw that there was this disconnect on what curly and kinky hair really is and what people perceive it as. A lot of people didn’t see curly hair for what it was. And I was like, ‘hey, hair is amazing.’”

Jackson said she admires Kanyinku studying cosmetology, as she also plans to go into a similar path. 

“(Grace pursuing cosmetology) is so good because that is something I want to do too. So you know (about) hair, but I don’t know I just like hair and stuff so when I see other people doing or wanting to do it — it’s good,” Jackson said.

According to Kanyinku, she hopes to open up her own salon someday that specializes for women with curly hair as there aren’t many that cater to African-American hair in big salons.

“The goal is to own my salon for specifically curly hair. There’s like 10,000 Great Clips’ within two miles of each other. There are black women that know how to do hair, like it’s individual, but there’s not a sit-down place kind of like those Great Clips,” Kanyinku said. “That women can sit down and get their hair done and then get that still like that treatment that people get from big salon chains.”

Jackson said she is supportive of her friend someday opening up a business and hopes to be there for her when she does own a salon.

“I know she said she wanted a black-owned business, so it’s good to have more of that. I’m (going to) be in there, I’m (going to) be getting everything that she sells,” Jackson said. “I’m (going to) be supporting her. I love Grace and I love her hair.”