Beauty Changes Lives: Kate Korpi Academy


Image Credit: Modern Salon

Beauty Changes Lives. This is something I’ve always believed in and preached since I started my career in the Beauty Industry 7-ish years ago. Along the way, I’ve met some incredible Hairstylists, Fashion Designers and Estheticians who are using their career to make a difference in the community.

A few months ago, I stopped procrastinating and finally crossed the number one item on my bucket list: visit the Mother Land…Cambodia! From Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and Takeo Province, I met family for the first time, visited Angkor Wat, learned more about the Khmer Rouge regime, bargained like a local at Orussey Market, and celebrated Khmer New Year in the country side, and much more. The trip was a complete culture shock and it was hard to turn a blind eye to the level of poverty. But, as a second-generation immigrant, it was a humbling experience as it could have easily been my life.

You’re probably wondering…how are the Beauty Industry and Cambodia related?
When I had returned from the trip, I read an article in the April Issue of Salon Today about 2 Stylists, Matthew Fairfax and Lauren Enbright, and their work in Cambodia. In 2009, they took a trip to Cambodia after hearing stories about the sex trafficking industry. “After 10 days of meetings, visiting with survivors of sex trafficking and pushing through the culture shock of third world poverty, our plan to change the world had begun” says Matthew (via Salon Today).

Instructing at KK

Image credit: Modern Salon

After raising $120,000, they opened Kate Korpi Salon and Training Academy in Phnom Penh. The school teaches Hairstyling to the survivors and those at risk of the sex trafficking industry. All of the students at the school are awarded a full tuition scholarship and are given 2 years of training from Hairstylists (aka: Guest Artists) from around the world. When they graduate, they are given the opportunity to work at Kate Korpi Salon with Matthew and his Team. The students have assisted with hair and make up for the Cambodian Drama, “Little Miss Vengeance” and at Phnom Penh Fashion Week 2015.


Image credit: Kate Korpi Salon Facebook page

“What’s really special is that all of a sudden, I realized our students in Cambodia were truly changed. Now, they have vocational skills, business skills and a sense of belonging, hope and laughter” says Matthew (via Salon Today).


How can you help?
They are currently looking for Guests Artists and Advocates to volunteer a minimum of 3 weeks to teach Hairstyling and build confidence in the students. The Guest Artists come from around the world and are important in adding variety to the students’ education. If you are interested, please visit:

Read about Kate Korpi Academy here:

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