Last week, I picked the brain of my blonde-as-an-angel friend Jaclyn over lattes in Saint Paul. She’s THE most confident co-worker I ever worked with, which is mind-blowing considering she was only 19 when I first met her!

A couple years into her career as a hair color specialist, Jaclyn made a life-changing decision: she quit her career, bought a one-way ticket to Australia, and ended up traveling city to city in New Zealand, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.  She’s back at work now (in the salon I met her at), but she’s constantly daydreaming of where to go next and what else she can learn from her new adventures!  (Follow her @adventures_of_jac)
In this interview, Jaclyn talks about what makes her tick, her take on beauty and empowerment, and where in the heck she gets all that confidence from…

Her answers surprised me…

S: Let’s begin with, what’s your definition of ‘beauty’?
J: My definition of beauty would be the insides of your soul- I mean, there’s a zillion beautiful people, I see beautiful people EVERYWHERE, but, if you meet them and their personality is shit- they’re immediately not beautiful to me- you could be a model- the moment you suck… I’m done with you.

J:I can find beauty anywhere-

southeast Asia where there’s trash all over the ground and there’s (so much) smoke everywhere that you can’t see because it’s so polluted but there are still beautiful buildings, and people, and how they’re dressed which is so different- it’s like their own type of beauty- it’s insane how different we all are.

S: When do you feel the most beautiful?
J: ‘probably when I’m traveling, when I actually look the ugliest- but I feel the best- because, I think it’s actually really difficult to travel, and when something goes wrong and you’re the only one who has to fix it and make it happen it just gives me confidence- I get so much confidence on the inside that I think shows on the outside too.
A lot of people never experience having to (be the one) to figure it out- I mean, I get lost in Oakdale (small town Minnesota), and I’ve lived there 26 years- my Dad, before I started traveling, he was like, how are you gonna travel when you can’t even get around in the place you grew up in?’ And I was like, perfect, I’ll be lost everywhere, it’ll feel like home.

Wandering is Jac’s happy place.

J: I think- the more you figure stuff out, the more confident and beautiful you’ll feel. People don’t point those things out to you. You have to discover them yourself.

~And when I don’t have acne on my face.

S: When do you feel empowered?
J: I should have used my other answer for this!
Traveling- that’s number one.

And, you know, like after a really hard workout- where you’re thinking, I did that, and I feel freaking amazing- you know how it is!
S:I do- I’m always doing crazy shit just to prove to myself that I can do it!

S: Is there a ‘beautiful’ person in your life that has influenced you?

J: My Aunt Tamera has a heart of gold, wants to help everybody, and is inspiring in a way that even when I suck, she finds something good. I suck a lot! I mean, don’t we all?
We’re just like two peas in a pod (me and Tamera)… she’s a flight attendant- has been for 30 years and she inspired me to travel without realizing it or saying anything, really, it was like, I’d heard of the places she’d been and I wanted to go too.
And, her heart. She’s always been such a church-goer, and God lover, and you know when you’re younger you’re like yeah yeah yeah, whatever, but now she’s inspired me to go back to church and see what I’m into. I get to make a decision as an adult.
She’s always like, strive for whatever you want!
I was struggling after a break-up 5 years ago and she posted the sweetest thing on Facebook:

“Be empowered, take control, you are beautiful inside and out. With your skills you help other women see their own beauty. We are all unique and have our own personal story and strengths to share. When you hear another person’s life or struggles or joys you can learn so much…. Count your blessings, you have many and you are SO loved.”

J:She always inspires me to be whatever I want!!

S: Aunt Tamera knows where it’s at.
J: Right!?

S: What motivates you?
J: Becoming better every day- we’re all just trying to get through this little life and be happy- I try to write down what makes me happy and remind myself- I write things on my mirror- my mirror still says workout 5 times/week, continue writing because I love to write, learn spanish and stuff like that.
I’m very self- motivated.

J: I don’t want to live a mediocre life

J: I don’t want to go through the steps… you know, the ones you’re ‘supposed’ to do. Married super young, house, white picket fence, career, kids- America, we’re in such a box- this is what you should be doing, you should be working 60 hours a week, you should only (have) two weeks off- and everyone I meet (traveling)…. No one lives that way. When you meet people from Europe, their appalled- they think it’s insane- ‘cause it is.
My friends are getting married/having babies or getting drunk at the bar, and I don’t want any of those- right now. I have to do things alone- which sounds sad but not really, it’s kind of empowering to do things myself and be like, yeah, I can do this!! A lot of my friends don’t want to go places alone- I never want to be like that- I never want to depend on anybody else.

S: I mean this in the best way possible- you have a very strong personality. Not in a bad way, but it’s strong!
J: It’s agressive-
S: No, I mean, you say the word aggressive a lot but I don’t think you’re actually aggressive- what gives you the confidence to be you and have you always been that way?

J: Ironically at Juut, when I first started, all of my feedback in training was, ‘you did great hair, but you didn’t have any confidence’ – every single time. ‘Stop questioning yourself’. Every single week for 30 weeks I was talked to about my ‘lack of confidence.’
When I was finally placed out at the Wayzata location (where she and I met), everyone started saying, ‘Wow, I wish I had your confidence at your age’ and I was like, ‘LOL’.

J: I actually didn’t ever have confidence on the inside so I would be overly confident on the outside, just pretend. Fake it ‘til you make it!
I’m constantly trying to get over that (lack of confidence)- which is why I think it’s so funny that my co-workers think that- ‘I was like, OH, God, they think I’m obsessed with myself- …’

J: In some areas I’m stronger with it- like when a client says, ‘OMG I LOVE IT’, I’m like, ‘DUH, I did it!’
Be funny with it, and even if you don’t have the confidence, fake it!
I mean, I just think you should keep trying to be happy- even if you’re not-



THANK YOU Jaclyn. It seems that you continue to know yourself through seeking out new experiences (with your world travels), and always learning, and trying to be better!  You are one of the most beautiful people I know- both inside and out, and I appreciate your perspective- I think we all could benefit from a little of your ‘fake it ’til you make it’ attitude!

Thank you for your story!

Now, it’s your turn. What makes you feel the most beautiful?  Or empowered?  Leave a comment below!!

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