Local salon owner helps women achieve their dreams

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March is Women’s History Month and, all month long, we’re sharing stories of New Mexico women who have made and continue to make an impact on our state.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For Priscilla Smith, her work as a salon owner centers around making women feel beautiful.

Years ago, Priscilla found her purpose in the beauty industry during a difficult time. She started doing nails as a hobby but soon it became much more than that.

“It quite literally saved my life,” she said.

It helped Priscilla overcome her own struggles that stemmed from a difficult past. So much so, she became a business owner seven years ago.

Priscilla opened Paixão Nail and Beauty Bar and realized the beauty industry can be a life-saving tool for others.

“I believe that, if you give a girl a chance, she can change the world,” she stated.

Priscilla turned her passion into a mission, working to give many girls a special chance, especially women escaping abuse, homeless and sex trafficking.

She created Passions Story, a registered nonprofit salon.

“At first, we want to put them through beauty school. We have a scholarship fund that we’re raising money for and so we put them through beauty school. Along the way, they’ll have access to councilors and therapists that guide them through that. Then, after they graduate, they would then come and work at Passions Story Salon for 12 months,” Priscilla explained.

During those 12 months, women will get real experience in the industry which will make it easier for them to land a job afterward.

In the end, it’s meant to develop more than just careers for women.

“We create people and I think, if you give a woman an opportunity to elevate her home, that concept and that self-worth are going to then float to her children and that is how you change the generations,” Priscilla Smith said.

Passions Story Salon is a different entity from Priscilla’s original salon. The plan is to open Passions Story Salon by the end of this year.

If you’d like to learn more about their mission, click here.