Thinking back, my love for beauty comes from my mum. From an early childhood, I watched her getting ready, do her hair, makeup or paint nails. Since I was four years old I have attended a ballet school and we would get a big stage performance every year. Many hours of practising, costumes, hair do and stage makeup were essential. Before each performance my mum would tie my hair up into a tight bun and apply makeup as advised by our tutor, she would blend the eyeshadows smoothly and carefully and line and fill my lips with lipstick. I was always amazed how good she was at it, as when I have tried to do it myself everything looked messy and not pretty at all, but she explained that as I grow and practise I will develop the essential skill and become better. Another vivid memory that had an impact on my relationship with beauty was seeing my mother do her nails and at some point, I used to snack on my nails, so my fingers would get sore and ugly, they looked like mini hotdog sausages. Seeing my mums hands with long and accurately painted nails made me want to change my habits, so she offered me a deal. If I would stop my bad habit for at least a week and let my nails grow she would give me a manicure. I kept the promise and within a week I was sitting half asleep in the evening waiting for the polish to dry. My nails were filed and painted in pearly pink, on some fingers I had nail art with red, white and silver stripes painted in a diagonal. I was over the moon and I wanted them to last as long as possible, needless to say, I have stopped biting my nails since and became obsessed with nails.
Later on, I had an extensive collection of polishes, nail stickers and crazy ideas. I would put on a movie, remove the old polish, soak my hands in warm water, push the cuticles back, file my nails and apply a fresh coat. The nail art was a must! Something about that routine was to therapeutic and calming and I really enjoyed doing it. At this point, I have discovered beauty forums with odd natural recipes on how to grow your hair or nails. I had a special notebook dedicated to beauty secrets, I would search the forums, write them down and eventually try them. Suddenly the Youtube came around and first beauty gurus from around the world started sharing their secrets through videos. This is how I discovered makeup. My first makeup item was mascara – I was so amazed at how even just one coat can change the look. I became obsessed with eyes and I still am, now thinking back I always wanted my eyes to appear larger and more defined. I discovered a beauty forum with recipes to promote the lash growth and one of the subjects on the forum was lash extensions. I remember clicking on it and trying to understand how it is done and see how it looked on other girls. This was just before my family decided to move to Scotland from Tallinn, Estonia. I was just 15 years old but I feel like this is exactly the moment when I first found out about lash extensions! The seed was planted.
A few years later, I have finished school in Scotland and enrolled into college to study Jewellery Design at this point my mum already had a tiny beauty studio where she was offering nail and brow treatments. She convinced me to also enrol onto an evening course to study nails and manicures, so I could help out at her studio when I get free time. As I finished my course I could not help a feeling that 10 is too big of a number. I kept saying that if humans had 2 fingers I would be giving manicures to everyone! At this stage, I realised that I was only interested in my nails and no other nails could make me excited. I was still studying at college doing jewellery design and working with metals like brass, silver and copper. I needed extra money to buy silver and tools and I wanted to get a weekend job. I believe that my mother saw my passion for art & beauty and for some reason she believed I was talented enough, so she started asking me if not nails what other things interest me in the beauty industry. As I started thinking, I remembered the forum and lash extensions. We found a salon that offered training on lash extensions in Glasgow. At this point the money situation was tough, but my mum collected all she had and I was enrolled to do the course.
I was 17 when I went onto my first eyelash course. It was one-day training, we practised on each other. We got shown two thicknesses 0.25 and 0.20, J curl with the lengths 8, 10 and 12. It was only cat styling for all humans, the shape and position of the eyes were not even mentioned. We applied about 40-50 lashes per eye and it was it. On the bus home, I felt like a movie start as I had my first ever lash extensions done!
The glue from the training was horrible and I started googling what else is available in the UK. This is how I found Francesca Middleton and her lash shop. As advised on one of the lash forums her glue was a miracle in a bottle. I started working and to attract more clients I decided to take photos of my work. One evening I was reading a Russian forum on lash extensions and as I was feeling very adventurous, so I have posted one of my lash creations. The feedback was not pleasant, I have been told that I need a proper education and that my work is not good. To defend myself I replied that I have received an accredited education that was available in my area and that I could not find any better. The reply was that It is not an excuse and travelling is also an option and If I want to be the best I have to learn from the best. At the time I was 17, with no money and living with parents. I got angry, as I felt like it was impossible, but another seed was planted and I kept thinking about the forum and the messages. I took it as a challenge and I started researching everything that was available online or close to where I live.
I started expanding my knowledge and skill in lashes. I searched the web and found Lash Masters book and Lash inc. magazine. The book was just published and the journal only came to the market. I was also trying to expand my knowledge in working with lashes and I found MYscara. I have found and booked the training in Glasgow, little did I know that it was all the same woman behind it all. I came to my training and met Louise Tierney. I was still waiting for my book to arrive. Can you imagine my surprise when she handed me the book and 2 magazines of lash inc after the training?
I finished college and got into university and worked at my mother's studio on my free days. I was offering lash lifts, MYscara and lash extensions. I decided to specialise in lashes solely and my next big discovery was Frankie Widdows and her facebook mentoring group. It was a big step forward for me which I am very thankful for. I was able to juggle clients, university and still extend my knowledge in lash artistry. My work became better and the number of my clients started to increase. I started earning and for the first time in almost 5 years, we decided to go back to Estonia. During that holiday break, the first Lash Battle 2015 has taken place in London. I remember flying back to the UK, checking Facebook and thinking how brave and talented those people are and how I will never be able to do it.
After I came back from my holidays, one evening I was scrolling my facebook feed and saw an advertisement of Lash Conference in Prague. I saw the speakers and my jaw was on the floor. Nataliya Morozova, Irina Levchuk, Tatyana Nikonorova… I knew that I had to be there! At the time it was unreal for me to earn enough money to cover hotel, fights and also pay for the conference. I wanted it so bad, I worked seven days per week and took all clients who enquired for an appointment. I did everything I could and month and a half later I was sitting there at the League of Lash Masters in Prague, absorbing everything like a sponge. The thought that I was able to get there and be there was unbelievable. My 2015/2016 were both crazy, fast and just filled with lashes. I have completed trainings with Inesa Svetkina, Petr Lhotský & Marcelka Chumová, Tatiana Terentyeva, Yulia Subbotina, Elena Stakhovich and more. I have attended London Lash Summit 2015, International Lash Conference Amsterdam 2015, Lash Conference Tallinn, Lash Summit 2016. I have won 1st Place Classic Lash Summit 2016 Mock Competition, 1st Place Lash Battle 2016 Nude Classic, 2nd Place in Classic Lash Games 2016 and came 4th at International Conference Amsterdam 2016 in Classic Masters Category.
Currently, I work in partnership with my mother Tatyana Karnejenko. We have a fantastic studio in the very heart of Hamilton, United Kingdom. We specialise in Brows and Lashes and we love what we do! We share a special bond of mother and daughter, we are best friends and business partners. We have a lot of plans and dreams that we will bring to life one by one!
I am not the world's best lash artist or wisest person on earth but I just want to share some tips that I have learned along my journey, even if they will help one person who will be reading this book it will make me explode from happiness:
Do not compare your start to someone else's middle.
If you have someone who you look up to or admire, just know that they did not wake up like this. They put time, money and gigantic amount of effort in their dream every day. If you are just starting out, please do not compare your work to world famous lash artist and feel like you are worthless. Instead just make a plan, follow the plan and celebrate every little achievement!
Find the support.
Relatives, husband, boyfriend, friend or even a dog or a cat, hamster works too just find someone who supports your dreams and ambitions, so on the days when you feel like nothing works and you will never be able to achieve anything it is good to have someone who will listen, hug you and show you that life is not actually that bad and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
Say THANK YOU.
I believe that sometimes it is essential to stop and say thank you, for every life lesson, for mistakes and coincidences, for people who come into your life and for those who leave, for amazing clients and horrible witches that sometimes fly into your salon uninvited, for support and for challenges. It is all a part of your journey and it is there for a reason!
Therefore, I would like to thank my parents and siblings for the kick in the butt, inspiration and willpower. I would like to thank my partner who supports all the craziness and shares good and bad days equally well, I would like to thank Louise Tierney for this fantastic opportunity and for coming into my life when I needed it. I thank all of my mentors and teachers who shared their secrets and sacred knowledge in lashes with me and I thank you for reading this long story about the person who you may even never met, but we share the same passion which already makes us connected!