Paying It Forward One Lash at a Time
By Aida Toro
When the month of September hits, many want a new look simply because they want to feel different, yet beautiful for the up and coming season. Some may want to try out microblading on their eyebrows while some may want to remove their cosmetic tattoo. In that case, Rochelle Magno is here to assist. Magno is the founder of The Lash Gallery, a boutique service that offers personalized beauty treatments in semi-permanent lash extension, microblading, permanent makeup, cosmetic tattoo removal, and scar corrections.
“I’m a minority woman and owner of a small business since 2011, with locations in New York City and Central New Jersey,” said Magno. “Though my cosmetic beauty enhancement services can be considered a luxury, I’ve been fortunate and able to pay it forward as a portion of my clientele has come to use my services as somewhat of a self-esteem booster.”
Magno graduated with a degree in Fashion Merchandising, however, she focused on the beauty industry and received her license in Cosmetology and Tattoo. Prior to launching the Lash Gallery, she landed a position with a talented wardrobe designer for a television show called "The Source All Access TV," which is where her start in the film industry came about.
“I have always been very creative and I enjoy the arts,” said Magno. “I didn't know about film, but because it was all creative, I immediately started to become interested in it.”
Working behind the scenes allowed her to work closely with producers, editors and even cameramen, which allowed her to witness how everything came together. At one point, Magno wanted to become a producer.
“I gained more experience working in various reality shows, and obtained a lot of knowledge. Thereafter I advanced in different positions in television. It was during that same time that I started The Lash Gallery,” she said.
Although she was working in television, Magno still had an itch to work in the beauty industry and the creative end. Therefore, she worked on focusing her technique as a Lash Stylist during her downtime between television shows.
“I'm very good with my hands and I certainly have an eye for certain things,” said Magno. “I challenged myself with different techniques, attended more classes, and perfected my application till I could say: ‘now that's a lash application’. I believe in the overall structure, neatness while focusing on cleanliness, hygiene, and design, which allowed me to feed my creativeness.”
Ever since launching The Lash Gallery in 2011, Magno has catered to domestic violence victims, half-way house residences, cancer survivors and to those who have suffered from injuries or other scars and deformation.
“It was approximately four or five years ago when I first encountered my cancer client,” said Magno. “I received a call from a woman named Debi, which mentioned she was just diagnosed with breast cancer.”
Just like any cosmetologist, Magno was taught to work with individuals with hair, as opposed to those who don’t have hair or are simply losing it.
“Hearing the desperateness of her voice, I offered to work with her,” said Magno. “I told her I wouldn't be able to apply lash extensions once her natural lashes fell off. I wasn't too familiar with the stages of how the body reacts after chemo and radiation. I wanted her to understand I couldn't promise her anything, but maybe I could assist in finding other options.
Through the trials and errors of finding brow makeup, temporary tattoos, strip lashes and so forth while working with Debi for a few months, Magno was still unsatisfied. She still had not discovered techniques or solutions for her client. Debi, however, thought the opposite because she felt it was enough for her, even though it was a temporary solution.
“Being the perfectionist I am, I still felt that I failed her,” said Magno. “But her smile assured me otherwise, which was enough satisfaction for me.”
After working with Debi, she started experimenting with other techniques and products. Hopefully, these would be resources other stylists could use to assist those that are ill or have already recovered from their illnesses. The product and tool are still pending, mentioned Magno.
Magno will be opening up another Lash Gallery location in Jersey City, New Jersey this fall.
“I look forward to having a presence in a place that has been great to me,” she said. “I have awesome support from everyone here. What better place could I consider home?”
Although she has locations in Manhattan and Millstone Township in New Jersey, the location in Jersey City will be special, as Magno has been residing in Jersey City for seven years.
“I've resided in Jersey City, and developed more friends by meeting the local folks and business in the area,” she said. “While I have clients, friends, and family that live here as well, it was the catalyst for my decision to open my third location.”