She is a creative intellect, an enthusiastic educator, a fun-loving yet straightforward individual, a little peculiar, and a natural ideator. Her name is Alia Wedderburn.
Alia is changing the playing field for several youngsters in the wellness and beauty industry. By extension, she is making dreams come true.
The innovative 34-year-old cosmetology lecturer at the Excelsior Community College is dedicated to the development of young minds. She is an adviser, mentor, and coach to many, some of whom have gone on to become cosmetology teachers or entrepreneurs.
Wedderburn shared that her career is a childhood desire that has become a reality.
“My journey began when I was in grade 10, and at that stage in life, cosmetology represented freedom for me. Imagine the joy of learning about beautifying the hair, skin, and nails in an academic space. That was blissful,” she said.
She is very passionate about her profession. For her, it’s an eclectic fusion of the arts and sciences that enables the transformation of physical appearance and generates confidence. It is also ever-evolving and keeps her learning. The different areas of specialisation in the field mean that she can venture out as desired without changing careers.
She loves the fact that she continues to provide students with access to opportunities, both locally and internationally. The educator trusts her pupils to make use of the presented opportunities, build their confidence, and evolve into experts.
Furthermore, Alia is proud to be part of the Excelsior Community College, which offers sponsored programmes and training to students who are from underserved communities in the area. She also offers coaching for beauty competitions, a rewarding window that allows her trainees to demonstrate the positive impact of technical and vocational education and training.
“My vision is for us to evolve to the point of being able to truly embrace learning in order to command the respect we deserve and genuine admiration for what we do. The beauty and wellness industry will benefit from strategic collaborations in science, technology, and medicine. This will enable us to create solutions, capitalise on the natural resources available to us in Jamaica, and experience substantial growth,” the Ardenne High and Hampton School alumna told Flair.
Alia is also a business-minded individual and has set forth in consultancy in the beauty and wellness industry. She is also completing an MPhil/PhD in gender and development at The University of the West Indies.
She leaves this thought with you: “Use your imagination to create the future you want. The future inevitably becomes your present, and what you now face becomes the past”.
Story by Rocheda Bartley
Photos by Kenyon Hemans