Cosmetology Alum Returns to the Classroom

Cosmetology Alum Returns to the Classroom

What started out as an interest in makeup while she was a teen quickly turned into a deep passion for Ashley Cermele-DiMatteo when she enrolled in the SWBOCES Cosmetology Program at the Center for Career Services 14 years ago.

A 2006 graduate of the program, Ms. Cermele-DiMatteo is now a successful salon owner in her native Tuckahoe.

She returned to the classroom in May to talk to students about carving out a career for themselves in the beauty business and was accompanied by her two of her staff, Gabriella Mancini and Ana Capriano.

“It was awesome to speak to the girls,” she said. “They were interested and asked a lot of questions.”

Her success since leaving BOCES is a combination of business savvy and hard work.

Determined to learn more, she enrolled in Make-up Designory, a Soho-based school that teaches the fundamentals of make-up artistry and prepares students for careers in fashion, entertainment and the retail cosmetic industry.

In addition to the New York State cosmetology license that she received when she graduated from the BOCES program, Ms. Cermele-DiMatteo, a Tuckahoe High School graduate, was, after six months of study in the Manhattan School, armed with a make-up certification that allowed her to start her own freelance business.

After working for various companies, she established Ashley Lauren Makeup Services, a beauty service that took her into clients’ homes.

In 2016, she took the leap to open up a brick and mortar store located on Fisher Avenue in Tuckahoe. Ms. Cermele-DiMatteo describes her business, The Ashley Lauren Beauty Lounge, as a full-service hair salon and make-up studio. It attracts clients from all across Westchester.

In addition, she runs a bridal hair and make-up service from the salon and also brings her services across the country. In the past, she and her team have traveled to Las Vegas, the Bahamas and other popular wedding destinations.

“I absolutely love what I do, and I couldn’t dream of doing anything else besides this,” said this 2017 Wunderkinds award-winner, an initiative from Westchester Magazine that honors the youngest, most successful professionals making a difference in Westchester’s business community.

Both Ms. Cermele-DiMatteo and her salon staff have been recognized multiple times by the magazine. In 2014, she was named “Best Make-up Artist,” in 2017, the salon won “Best Wedding Hair” and “Best Make-up” awards, and this year, the “Best Wedding Hair” award again.  

Grateful for what a BOCES education provided her, Ms. Cermele-DiMatteo said she was thrilled to meet its current crop of students. She is also mindful of the difficulty that young grads experience in securing salon jobs. While she was there, she interviewed several of them, hiring two girls from the program this week, she said.

Looking back on her time in the Cosmetology Program, she said, “BOCES gave me the fundamentals and the basics needed to grow in the beauty industry and I am very grateful for that.”