As the official hair and makeup guru for the cheerleading squad, pageants and proms in high school, Columbus County native Ashlynn Dickerson knew the world of cosmetology was for her. However, the 2018 West Columbus High School graduate did not have the full support of her family to pursue cosmetology, and Dickerson was encouraged to put her hair stylist dreams on hold to enter the medical field.
Dickerson attended Johnston Community College in Smithfield to major in medical sonography. She realized her dislike for biology and the medical field, and she moved to Lumberton to attend cosmetology classes at Robeson Community College. Dickerson received her associate degree in cosmetology in December 2020.
“When I finally did it and my family saw my dislike for the medical field, they finally understood what I was trying to say,” Dickerson said. “Then they were behind my back 100% when I went into cosmetology.”
Dickerson started working as a hair stylist in January 2021, and she reentered the classroom in August that year to earn her instructor certificate from Bladen Community College. After graduating in May 2022, Dickerson continued to work as a hair stylist. In June that year, she met with lead cosmetology instructor Eli High at SCC to inquire about a part-time instructor position. Having completed the application and interview process, Dickerson started as a part-time cosmetology instructor in July 2022.
Dickerson was promoted to full-time cosmetology instructor in June 2023. Her favorite part about the promotion to full-time is having a voice in the curriculum and feeling like being part of a team.
“I think my favorite thing with the students is teaching them an advanced color technique, seeing them use it on a live client and seeing the full result,” Dickerson said. “Because let’s be honest, mannequins and live clients are two different things. Being able to see the final product is my favorite part.”
While in the classroom, Dickerson has learned that “age is nothing but a number.” Even as a young instructor, Dickerson feels like she has an abundance of knowledge and experience to offer students and clients. She said she can learn just as much from her clients as they can learn from her.
“This semester, I can tell a lot about myself,” Dickerson said. “I’ve evolved into a better teacher with being able to listen to my students, give feedback and tweak things along the way from the way I did it the first time.”
While not in class, Dickerson rents a chair from Chandler’s Backstreet Beauty Shop in Bladenboro. She enjoys being her own boss and working with her own clients. Outside of the salon, Dickerson is a competition dance instructor at Amy’s Academy of Dance Arts in Lumberton. When she is not working, Dickerson likes to spend time with her fiancé and go fishing and hunting and more recently bow hunting for deer season.
Dickerson is a member of New Light Church in Bladenboro and has recently started helping with the Kids Point Center at the church.