Beauty Changes Lives Legacy Award Pays Tribute to Industry Icon Leo Passage

Posted on March 25th, 2015 - Written by: Bellus Academy

Beauty Changes Lives Legacy Award Pays Tribute to Industry Icon Leo Passage


Art Institute of Chicago event honors a lifetime of supporting NEXTGEN talent

Legacy Award Presentation_web Chicago, IL – March 23, 2015 – The beauty industry united on Saturday, March 21, to celebrate the legacy of a man who revolutionized the business of beauty education. The Beauty Changes Lives Foundation (BCL) posthumously honored Leo Passage; founder of Pivot Point International, Inc. Passage’s wife Lenie, and son Robert accepted the award on behalf of Leo. Held at the Art Institute of Chicago, the sold-out event was attended by a “who’s who” of industry and media leaders and served as the signature gala event for America’s Beauty Show (ABS). The event’s location in the museum’s “Modern Wing” paid homage to Leo Passage’s passion for the arts, particularly the Bauhaus principles of art and design that influenced his extraordinary career.

While Leo Passage delighted in the arts, he was also an extraordinary business visionary and advocate for continuing education. Throughout his career he made a point of nurturing emerging talent, never forgetting how the industry helped him upon his immigration from The Netherlands in 1958.

The convergence of art and beauty was on full display during the evening’s feature presentation “Trilogy of Beauty,” to spotlight NEXTGEN artists, the beauty industry’s future leaders. The “Trilogy of Beauty” represented the NEXTGEN’s interpretation of Street Wear, Underground and Avant Garde. NEXTGEN artists were hand-picked by established icons and mentored the NEXTGEN in their development of the “Trilogy of Beauty” collection.

Leo Passage is the third Legacy Award honoree. Previous recipients include beauty legend Vidal Sassoon and actress, humanitarian and nail industry champion Tippi Hedren. “The Legacy Award celebrates the spirit that lies at the very heart of the beauty industry,” said Lynelle Lynch, president of the Beauty Changes Lives Foundation. “Our industry is about so much more than art. Every day, established beauty professionals are nurturing and mentoring the next generation of leadership and no one demonstrated that generous spirit more than Leo Passage,” said Lynch.

“We as a family are extremely honored that my father was awarded the Beauty Changes Lives Legacy Award. My father would have experienced such joy witnessing the creative artistry of the NEXTGEN talent presented. He had a gift for seeing the talent in others before they saw it in themselves, said Robert Passage, Pivot Point chairman/CEO, 2nd vice president of Cosmetologists Chicago and treasurer of BCL.

While the Legacy Award gala shone the spotlight on NEXTGEN talent, it also served as the venue for announcement of the BCL|Leo Passage Endowment Fund, a postgraduate scholarship aimed at helping licensed beauty and wellness professionals expand and enhance their creativity. Those awarded scholarships will experience Pivot Point International’s Creative Jam Sessions; proprietary workshops that challenge the artist to translate, interpret and fuse international and local cultures into their work. The scholarship competition opens on Monday, May 23, and complete details are available at

Legacy Award Aerial Shot_web “I respectfully thank the Foundation for acknowledging my father and Cosmetologists Chicago leadership in allowing this event to serve as a backdrop to America’s Beauty Show. His legacy will continue to inspire and change lives through tonight’s event and the BCL | Leo Passage Endowment Fund Postgraduate Scholarship. Throughout my father’s life, his sheer determination to see others flourish always preempted his personal desire to succeed,” added Passage.

Lynch praised Pivot Point International and Robert Passage for the company’s creativity and leadership in birthing the event concept and executing the gala event. “Due to the generosity of Robert and his team at Pivot Point, manufacturers, media partners, educators and individual artists are helping inspire the next generation of beauty and wellness talent and pushing licensed hairstylists and teachers to increase the creativity and passion reflected in their work,” Lynch said.

She added that the ABS venue for the Legacy Award escalates the visibility and stature of Beauty Changes Lives. Proceeds from the gala will benefit the Beauty Changes Lives Foundation which awards scholarships and mentoring opportunities to aspiring and licensed beauty and wellness professionals.

To learn more about the NEXTGEN talent and their mentors please visit:

The Beauty Changes Lives Foundation was created by the American Association of Cosmetology Schools to build awareness of the extraordinary career opportunities in the beauty wellness, and massage therapy industries.

Pivot Point International, founded by Leo Passage in 1962, is the global premier provider of hair, tools and beauty educational solutions for
schools, salons, students, individual stylists and distributors.

Media contacts:
Kate Cicela, Vi Nelson & Associates,, 312-944-1262
Susan Miller,, 765-620-2007

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Bellus alum goes to Fashion Week

Posted on March 2nd, 2015 - Written by: Jenn Lyles

10960172_803604596398452_4335070416393465961_o What’s Justine’s Fav?

Adult drink: Mai Tai
Ice cream flavor: Mediterranean Mint
Place to visit: Home
Social Media platform: Instagram
Beauty Service to perform: Color

Bellus alum Justine Werline responded to a post on Instagram and four weeks later she found herself at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. She currently works for Hair Body & Sol. and we’re pretty sure this is just the beginning to the amazing career ahead of her.


Q& A


Q. What led you to a career in cosmetology and choosing Bellus Academy?

A. I have always enjoyed creating. It doesn’t matter what the medium is I just love to create. After receiving so many compliments and repeated encouragement from my own hair stylist, I finally gathered up the courage to be a licensed professional. My neighbor Kathrine Grymonprez was already a student and she recommended Bellus to me. After one tour I was convinced Bellus was the school for me and it was the best decision I could have ever made.

Q. What kind of opportunities did you take advantage of while in school?

A. Every opportunity that was offered I took it. I was on the design team, which allowed me to participate in fashion shows and local charity events. I made sure I participated in every competition the school held which also gave me the courage to seek out national/ professional level competitions while attending Bellus and I haven’t stopped since.

Q. What do you love most about your new career?

A. The best parts about this career are the infinite possibilities you have as a licensed cosmetologist. You can go as far as you let your mind take you and I think that’s pretty amazing. The people I meet through it, the team I work with, and the clients in my chair are just an added bonus.

Q. How did you end up working at Fashion Week?

A. Anyone that knows me well knows that Charlie Price is my “Hair God.” I have been following his accomplishments for several years, so when Charlie posted a photo of Mercedes-Benz Fashion week on his Instagram it got my immediate attention. I figured the worst he could say is to gain more experience and apply later, so 20 minutes after he posted, I sent him my resume and three photos of work I’d done at Bellus Academy and UCSD’s TREND Magazine. Charlie said he had such an overwhelming amount of responses, so I was not only surprised I was chosen, but I nearly lost my dinner from a wave of nerves that were preparing me for the chance to not only meet Charlie but work with him and a team of like minded colleagues at an event that I have always dreamed of working at.

Q. What was the most memorable part of that week?

A. That is a very simple question that requires a complex answer. To choose one moment in particular aside from meeting Charlie Price, Ruth Roche, Lisa Vann, and Jill Leitz would have to be the morning of the Jay Godfrey show. Walking over towards the Lincoln Center’s Pavilion was like the calm before a storm. It was the first time I had ever heard Manhattan so eerily quiet. Maybe it was just me and maybe nothing else mattered, but in that moment everything but the wind was still. I was so nervous but still oddly calm at the same time. At 6:13 I walked into to the entrance to be greeted by Charlie and Lisa Vann, and 15 minutes later the hairstylists, makeup artists, models and photographers came pouring in, and the greatness had begun! It was truly one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever been a part of.

Q. What advice do you have for Bellus students?

A. Bellus Academy will give you the education and tools to achieve your dreams, but it is ultimately up to you to take yourself where you want to go in your career. Push yourselves! Surround yourselves with likeminded people. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, and above all (and this is so important) welcome and embrace your failures because they will end up being some of your greatest discoveries.

Q. What are some other goals you want to accomplish in your career?

A. I honestly don’t want to limit or categorize myself when it comes to goals. I know the endless possibilities of what is out there and I want to do it all! I want to be a platform artist, I want to teach, I hope to someday win my own NAHA award and more, but most of all and what is truly important to me is what I have to do while achieving these things. My end goal is to leave behind a legacy that inspires the men and women in our industry. If I don’t inspire anyone before my time is up then what is it all for?

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Erik Thrane: Wella Instructor of the Year Nominee

Posted on February 26th, 2015 - Written by: Jenn Lyles


What’s Erik’s Fav?

Adult drink: Martini
Ice cream flavor: No sugar for me!
Place to visit: Disneyland
Social media tool: Instagram
Beauty service to do: Color


Erik is a graduate of Bellus Academy and has been teaching at the Poway campus for the past four years. We are honored to not only have him as an educator, but we’re excited to announce that he’s a Wella 2015 Instructor of the Year nominee! Find out at America’s Beauty Show in March if he wins!

10943769_10205526730269295_4277332390183784206_o Q & A

Q. What do you love most about teaching?

A. The ability to shape and influence someone’s path and help them curate their success that they are looking to achieve in their career.

Q. Describe your involvement with this year’s student competition at ABS.

A. My involvement in this years student competition was leading the Sebastian based team — leading them in brainstorming, taking their vision and then bringing it to life in a photo. I also helped them refine their looks and coached individual students on their technical ability to take them to the next level.

Q. What led you to being nominated for Instructor of the Year?

A. The students are really what led me to be nominated for Instructor of the Year. I am extremely grateful and honored that I have the opportunity to work with the next generation of hairstylists.

Q. How does being nominated make you feel?

A. Being nominated for Instructor of the year already makes me feel as if I have won. Having the support of my students and fellow peers have made this an amazing experience.

10917330_10205451501148614_2532841316242695068_n Q. What is your advice to other Bellus students in terms of involvement with competitions?

A. Being involved in competitions is a lot of work, but as equally rewarding. Fears of failing or being inadequate are the biggest obstacle that students face. But I always say “don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” If you have ambition to compete, your educators are there to help guide you and help you grow. Whether you place or not, it is still an irreplaceable experience which helps you grow immensely.

Q. Why do you think Bellus Academy has had such a successful history with ABS student competitions?

A. Bellus Academy has had a successful history with the ABS and TrendVision competitions due to our expectations and standards for impeccable work and motivating our students to do their best and showcase their talent. I believe our culture is to always strive for excellence and revolutionize the beauty and wellness industry. I believe that philosophy is contagious and spreads to our students.


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DJ Muldoon partners with Bellus barbering program

Posted on February 26th, 2015 - Written by: Jenn Lyles

DJ Headshot

What’s DJ’s Fav?


Adult drink: Rum+Coke
Ice cream flavor: Cookies and cream
Band: Queen
Social Media platform: Instagram
Place to visit: Barbados

Bellus Academy recently teamed up with world-renowned hairdresser DJ Muldoon. DJ, owner of San Diego’s trendy salon theFactory, to develop the online video portion to our new barbering program launching March 17. Program leader Manny San Martin has been creating haircuts and videos with DJ for the past couple of months.


Q & A with DJ Muldoon


Q. You’ve won multiple awards, studied under Vidal Sassoon and now run a successful salon. What’s the secret to your success?

A. Knowledge has given me confidence. Vidal said it takes 10 years to master you craft and I think he’s right. Success doesn’t come overnight. It’s important to be patient, learn as much as you can and use your knowledge to empower people.

Q. You’re now working to develop some of the curriculum for our new barbering program. What attracted you to working with Bellus Academy?

A. They’re all about education—not a product. I’ve personally taught a lot of the educators, so I have that relationship with them. I also know the owner Lynelle is heavily involved in the charitable side of the industry, and that impresses me. I mostly wanted to work with them because my number one commitment is fundamental education and Bellus has a high level of integrity.

Q. You’ve mentioned you’ve seen an increase in male clients at your salon, theFactory. How have you seen men’s grooming transform over the course of your career?

A. It’s much more universal now. With social media, we’re exposed to so much more. We see everything. We’re seeing a generation of men who are into trendy cuts and shaving, as well as other services. There’s no longer just one genre of men. It’s important for hairdressers, more so now, to be well rounded.

Q. I know it’s still in the early stages, but can give us any insight into what your hopes are in partnering with Bellus Academy and the barbering program?

A. Manny and I had been around the world doing hair. He’s an exceptional haircutter. We thought it would be cool to collaborate. About a month or two ago we jumped in the studio and started to come up with about nine to 12 different male looks. I’m currently editing the videos for those looks.

Q. Do you think a lot of licensed cosmetologists will benefit from this program Bellus Academy is launching?

A. This program is perfect for someone who is already working in the field. There is a skill set needed to serve male clients. This is such a great opportunity to build knowledge and confidence. Men are spending lots of money today on their hair. This program is a win-win. You’ll come out better than when you went in.

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The Competition is on!

Posted on February 13th, 2015 - Written by: Bellus Academy

$10,000 Scholarships for New Students & Advanced Training for Licensed Cosmetologists

LINDSEY The Spring 2015 Vidal Sassoon Professional Beauty Education Scholarship Competition is accepting applications February 2 through April 13. This will be the program’s fifth competition.

•    The Basic competition is open to students pursuing a career in the professional beauty industry at qualifying schools, which would include Bellus Academy. Winners receive 50 percent of beauty school tuition (up to $10,000).

•    The Advanced competition is open to licensed hairstylists and Bellus Academy alumni and educators are encouraged to enter. In fact, our very own educator Lindsey Washbourne won last fall’s competition. (Check out Lindsey’s entry here!) Winners are awarded a 5-day course at a Sassoon Academy in North America (up to $5,000 including travel, lodging and course fees).



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student testimonial

"I enrolled at Bellus Academy in 2009. I enrolled in the make-up course with Ms. Judy and the Esthetics Program with Miss Larissa and Miss Olga. Since day one the teachers and staff have been amazing. I could not have asked for more out of a school and teaching staff. I feel very fortunate and happy that this school is available and can accommodate such fantastic services."

Ellie Davis, Esthetics & Make-Up Artistry Program

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