Azelle Santa Ana, alongside her brother and makeup artist, Patrick, is the proud co-owner of The Maya Salon, an all-inclusive community which offers hair and beauty services to south Pasadena.

But if you her ask—she didn’t set out to be the owner of a salon, at least not initially.

First a professional hair stylist with over ten years of experience, then co-creator of LadyArtLooks and Empower & Pamper, a local charity event catered to all who want to be inspired, “initially I worked at a celebrity salon in old town Pasadena, trying to find my niche because the industry is so diverse,” says Azelle.

Eventually, she met her creative partner and professional makeup artist with a big following on Youtube: Alana Dawn. The two decided to combine their respective online hair and makeup followings under the banner of LadyArtLooks.

A post shared by Empower & Pamper (@ladyartlooks) on

Next they shifted their attention to events.

“We wanted to create a brand that will inspire other people,” says Azelle. “I grew up volunteering and instead of jumping around, trying to figure out where to volunteer, I said, ‘let’s just do our own thing.’”

Azelle and Alana wanted to “not just make people look good but to inspire, support, and motivate them.”

With that premise in mind, the idea for Empower and Pamper was born, an event series structured from the inside out and attended by all types of women in need.

“That could be any type of need,” says Azelle, who has worked with everyone from single moms to recovering addicts to newly-graduated beauty students seeking career guidance. “It could be somebody who is depressed or someone who simply needs a connection.”

The goal of every session is to work toward a happier and healthier life. “We talk about making a promise to yourself to be the best you can be,” says Azelle. “And that means not just focusing on your trade but making time to tend to every facet of your life, knowing your challenges, and what you can do today.”

It’s an important lesson for anybody. According to the curriculum Azelle teaches, following the motivational speaker at each event, there are eight main facets which require attention for a balanced life: friends and family, fun and recreation, health, money, romance, personal growth, physical environment, and career. Rather than a hierarchy of needs each is equally important. For your own edification, it’s best to set goals in every category.

“And most importantly to know why,” says Azelle, although, she also stresses that it’s okay to not know what you want yet—having herself never dreamed she’d be a salon owner one day.

After the talk, it’s time for hair, makeup, and nails.

To learn more about Azelle and Alana’s ongoing event productions, check out LadyArtLooks and check back for the future