Stranger 79, Day 79 – Meet Dmitri, the “One Stop Stylist”

Stranger 79, Day 79 - Meet Dmitri

Continuing on on not just 100 Strangers, 100 Days, but also on the journey to meet the many Strangers with familiar faces! Today, I got a chance to meet one of the baristas I encounter oh-so-often at Starbucks. He’s always cheery, always friendly. As just as he always is with me and every other Starbucks guest, he happily accepted to be today’s Stranger. And that cheerfulness continued throughout our meet.

Meet Dmitri, 28

Who are you?

“As… what do you mean? Like, as a person?” He smiles. “Hmm, that’s a good question.”

“I’m a lot of things. I am… I could make just one-big word — a multi-talented…” he thinks some more. As he does, he’s smiling and his eyes are going back and forth everywhere except me. “A multi-talented, passionate, entrepreneur!”

So, you say entrepreneur. Your email includes “one stop stylist”. What is that?

“I have a license in cosmetology, and I’ve have that for three years. I’m now working on my Bachelors in fashion marketing. So, I sew as well. I’ll be graduating in June of 20-17. So, it’s kind of pretty much saying it — it’s like a one-stop shop. Pretty much where the email derived from. It’s pretty much someone who can do everything when it comes to the fashion industry — hair and beauty. It’s all in one.”

What do you love about the fashion industry? Why are you pursuing this?

“I love dolling people up!” He laughs. “It’s an art, you know what I mean? It’s not really a career. It’s more so an art. You have to have an eye for it. It excites me to see other people happy.”

“It’s usually what I’m about, so. I like to be happy. I like other people to be happy.”

I’m thinking about these examples where you’ve dolled someone up. Have you ever dolled someone up, and you did it because you wanted to make that person happy?

“Absolutely. I’ve have a couple events of people who just did not feel pretty, you know what I mean? It’s kind of sad to see because everyone should have some kind of confidence level. When I interned at Nordstrom, there was a lot of people who came there who just did not like their figures. Or who didn’t like anything about themselves. I worked in the dress department. It was kind of hard. It was kind of hard to convince someone that they are pretty when they don’t believe you.”

“… And it takes a lot of dedication. You have to actually be dedicated to that person. Like, trust me, and it’ll all be fine. I’ve even invited some of them to my house afterwards for hair and make-up as long as they bought a dress that I knew would fit for them. I had this specific lady who was getting ready for her daughter’s wedding — ‘I was just too big!'” Dmitri tried to portray the woman’s voice as a little frantic and discouraged.

“Umm, it’s crazy because she ended up buying a dress. It’s on my Instagram. So, she ended up buying a dress. Did her hair and makeup. The photographer took photos of the wedding, and she looked PHE-NOMINAL.” He laughed and smiled about this. I could see him reliving the moment and just being proud.

“She cried, and she sent me this long text message. Kind of warmed me, you know? You just don’t find this on an everyday basis.”

How do you also help some of these people (men and women, I’m guessing)… how do you help them find confidence? Is it purely through styling?

“Yeah… I feel like everyone, you can always look at someone and find beauty in something about them. Focus on their eye colors. Whether they have beautiful lashes. Or they have perfect eyebrows, or you know… beautiful skin. It’s just enhancing what’s already there, and not doing too much.”

“We had to study a lot in cosmetology and in dresses. You had to have a dress that fits someone’s figure. You don’t want them to look box-shaped. You don’t want them to look bigger than what they look like, or makeup. I have this book at home called the art of cosmetics through makeup. Tells you how to reconstruct someone’s face. And, you know, it’s just a lot of… it really takes a lot of studying to really learn people. Someone can say I really don’t like this about me. You have to know how to fix it. If I don’t know how to fix it, I just say I don’t know. But I’m still willing to help. I research it, and help you get that confidence level up.”

“I’ve had a lot of people who never wore makeup before. Got them into makeup, and I can’t get them to stop!” He laughs. “So, you know what I mean? So now, they’re like shopaholics when it comes to makeup. But that’s a good thing. Everyone needs a push. Everyone needs that one push that says, ‘okay, maybe I can do this’. Because I don’t believe anyone alive did everything alone.”

So to that, who’s been someone who has been there for you?

“The most, my grandmother and my mom. And my best friends. I have three solid best friends. Known them since I was 15. Without them, I’d probably be like a… shipwreck!” He laughs.

“… probably.”

I imagine being an entrepreneur (I’m one, too), there’s ups and downs, right? So what have some of these support cast members done to continue to help you realize your shine, your confidence?

“I would say whenever they do something as far as… yesterday, I had a tag on Facebook. Someone was getting better at doing their own makeup. I had taught her her skills, and she tagged me, and it’s like, ‘I bet you’re so proud of me’. Things like that that keeps you going. To know that people remember that you helped them. They don’t forget where they came from. Or they don’t forget whoever helped them turn their life around. That kind of thing. That’s very inspiring to me. That’s what keeps me going.”

What’s something that you’re very confident of, that you love, and that you’re proud of about yourself?

“Umm,” he thinks.

“I would say my intelligence. I’m very intelligent. A lot of people don’t see. A lot of people think I’m ditzy!” he laughs. “That’s just a personality thing. It’s just not. But I’m very serious of the things that I do. I play a lot, but it’s just my personality. It’s how I am. But that doesn’t mean I don’t take everything seriously. I don’t think you have to be serious in order to conquer something. You can still play. It’s okay to play around. But instantly serious at the same time. You don’t have to be so dead-serious that nobody wants to work with you, or that kind of deal.”

“I would definitely say my intelligence. My sense of art. Definitely. Where it comes to interior colors, or whatever has to do with art. Period. Think those are my best assets.”

Is there anything else that people can do to be more confident about themselves? To love themselves more?

“Umm, yeah, I think there’s always room for improvement for anybody. My mom used to tell me all the time. I used to say, ‘oh my gosh, I’m so fat. I need to workout!” he laughs and has a big smile.

“She goes, ‘well, you know, if you don’t do anything about it, you really don’t want it’. I go with that all the time. When someone tells me that they feel like they’re too thin, they need to workout. They need to eat healthy. They’re really just whining and complaining. If you really want to change, you will. And, you’re boost of confidence, yeah, someone else can help you become confident in yourself, but it has to start with you first. You have to actually believe that you can do it, you know what I mean? You believe yourself, so you can believe in other people.”

“So, yeah.”

Describe a time when you were truly happy. (Thanks to Zach, Stranger 78)

“Wow… umm…” his eye pace back and forth above me and behind me. He’s thinking.

“… like truly happy. That is hard.”

“That’s a really, really good question.”

“I don’t know. I don’t really know if I actually hit the truly happy stage, yet. If I was truly happy, I would’ve remembered. It’s almost like been in love. If you’re in love with someone, you’d know. So I’ve been very happy. But truly happy? I don’t think I’ve hit that yet.”

“Like, it’s coming, you know what I mean? It’s right around the corner, but you know… But I don’t think… yeah. I don’t think I’ve ever been legit, truly, truly happy. Happy? Yes. Truly happy? No. Not yet.”

So what is it going to take to get to truly happy?

“A sense of self. I feel like I just need to learn more of who I am as a person before I can be truly happy. That’s with anything. That’s with careers, or relationships, or just life itself. I’m a people-pleaser, so… a lot of people that are close to me would come before I did. You know, it’s kind of changing. I’m getting more into myself, and more of what do I like to do, and things I love and all that kind of stuff.”

“So I feel like once I’m happy, I can make everyone else happy.”

Your turn! What would you like to ask, effectively, tomorrow’s Stranger?

“I would like to ask who inspired you to do what you love to do?”

“I feel like everyone’s inspiration comes from different things. It’s interesting to know who that person is, and why.”

“It’s really deep!” he laughs again.

After the handshake.

This was great. I knew Dmitri was a nice, friendly guy. However, I was really captivated with how happy he was throughout this meet. He admitted later that it was a little nerve-racking, so perhaps that smile disguised it. Disguised it well, indeed. He was just constantly smiling, and constantly looking everywhere except for me until he was listening to my question. It was fascinating to watch him piece his story together, just like some other Strangers. Dmitri was just that much more excited. It was great.

When he said he had never experienced true happiness, I admit I was a little sad. Like he feels everyone should have something to be confident in, I feel everyone should have several, let alone one, moment of true happiness. I was hoping Dmitri had that one moment where he basked in the glow of the present… perhaps a proud moment, and he did nothing other than revel in how he made someone smile and confident about him/ herself. I can say, honestly, that even for a few seconds as he gleefully welcome me at Starbucks or someone does something nice for me, I feel a sense of true happiness. I felt connected to another, and I felt that someone was nice just to be nice. Sure, the moment may be “fleeting” or may last just a few seconds. However, they’re the few second that offers and brief respite and offers that ray of sunshine — that little piece of true happiness.

Though, it’s nice to hear Dmitri was confident that his moment was coming. I hope it comes soon and frequently.

Meet Dmitri. No longer a Stranger.

1 reply
  1. Mike C.
    Mike C. says:

    I’ve know Mitri “Dimitri” for several years…and one thing I will say is that he’s NEVER changed! Although we don’t talk as often as I would like since he moved, every time he’s back in the QC he definitely reaches out to me! Great person, great spirit and most of all great soul. Awesome interview


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