When Kate Volyanskiy came to the United States from Russia she was just 9 years old but already had a love for beauty.
“I have been into makeup for as long as I can remember,” says Kate. “I used to take my sisters makeup before I was old enough for my own!”
As she grew into a teenager in New York City, Kate and her friends would spend hours doing each other’s hair and makeup. Kate was often the one styling and creating looks for her friends.
It was a hobby she loved so much she talked to her parents about pursuing a career in the beauty industry.
“They really wanted me to go to a traditional college,” says Kate. “It was important to them, and I enjoyed college. We didn’t really know a lot about the opportunities in the beauty industry, so I tabled that goal and went off to college.”
Eventually, Kate graduated college with a business degree. During her time in school, she made money by doing freelance makeup jobs. However, it was during the planning of her wedding that her love of makeup returned to the spotlight. This time it was her own bridal makeup that guests couldn’t stop commenting on.
“People were just so complimentary of my makeup. It really reassured me and encouraged me that what was a fun hobby for me was something I could do as a profession.”
After her wedding and the birth of her daughter, Kate found herself with another reason to solidify a career she can rely on.
“My husband was diagnosed with a life threatening illness. The reality that I could be the sole provider for my daughter really shook me.” For Kate, it was the one catapult she needed to finally pursue a cosmetology license.
“Thankfully my husband made a full recovery and is just fine, but I followed my true passion this time and enrolled in beauty school.”
This time, she had the full support of her parents, who would even travel from their home in New York City to Philadelphia where Kate now lives to babysit her daughter.
“I went to school part time, which was in the evenings. It was incredibly difficult. My husband was still recovering and my daughter was only a few months old when I started.”
With the part time program taking about 18 months to complete, it was a commitment that at times was a struggle.
“It wasn’t easy committing to a part time evening program with a baby and a sick husband. But I did it.”
In addition, not only did she recently complete the program, she did so with 100% attendance.
“I immediately took my licensing test and passed! I am so excited to move forward with my career. I still want to do bridal and special occasion makeup and hair, but one thing I’d like to do is take continuing education classes to learn advanced nail techniques. It’s amazing what my education at Empire Beauty School taught me and exposed me to. The sky is the limit!”