Sep 6, 2021

Posted on:

Determination In The Face Of Adversity


Top image is a flatlay of hair products, shears and a brush, text in the middle reads "determination in the face of adversity with yara de la torre" bottom image is a picture of Yara with blonde curls and a big smile. Her hands are touching her hair

subscribe & listen on your favorite app!



“We can’t control what happens to us in life, but we can control how we react to it”

Welcome back to the Anxious Creative podcast, friend. You might have noticed I took a little hiatus from the show, but I’ve got another great episode for you this week. I have an amazing guest that I have gotten to know very well over the last few months, she is so freakin’ amazing. She’s taking leaps and bounds and is making huge waves in this industry. 

If you haven’t heard of her before she is going to blow you away. I am so excited to introduce you to my wonderful friend Yara de la Torre. This is a good one, friend, let’s dive in!

An Early Start

Yara was born in Costa Rica and lived there until her family relocated to Key Largo, Florida when she was 14. It didn’t take Yara long after arriving in Florida to find her passion. Yara didn’t let a new country and a new language stop her from anything, with her determination she was kicked out of the English as a Second Language classes in her school after 6 months and put into the regular classes because her english was so good. 

She realized early on that she didn’t enjoy schooling or the education system and simply wanted to move onto “what’s next”, so she decided to get her GED and go to college. At first Yara thought she wanted to do nursing, but soon decided that was not the path for her. 

It was a stroke of luck that she ended up working at a salon as the front desk receptionist when she was 16. This was where Yara met some girls who were going to beauty school and it was like the world was handing her a sign. Yara had always loved hair, but she had no idea you could actually become a hairstylist (as crazy as that sounds). 

It didn’t take long before Yara was enrolled in beauty school and graduating. Now she’s 30 years old and the owner of the salon Lashes & Curl Studio for the past 3 years. 

For Yara, the hardest part of being a business owner is the load that comes with it. She says that being a commission stylist or a booth renter is definitely a lot easier than taking on an entire business of your own. She’s had to learn how to wear a lot of different hats. 

Apart from learning all the different roles and learning how to run a business you also have to learn how to create balance, how to juggle everything that comes with your business, stay healthy and make good boundaries. Yara still isn’t entirely sure she’s got the whole “balance” thing figured out. 

Visible Disability

Two years ago, Yara had one of the worst days of her life. She had an accident where she fell off the second story of her house and landed on her back. She shattered one of her vertebrae and was immediately paralyzed from the waist down. 

In a single second her life completely changed. 

The accident happened not even a year after opening her salon. Yara admits that it was very hard at first. But one thing that was always present and top of her mind was that she was not going to stop doing hair. She took the fact that she had full ability to move from the waist up as a sign. 

“At least I have this, the talent that lies in my hands.” Yara shared an emotional story in the immediate aftermath of the accident, when she knew something was wrong but didn’t know what, she tentatively moved her arms and her hands and breathed a sigh of relief that she could still do hair. 

It never crossed her mind for a second that she was going to need to find a new career. 

Recovery and getting back to “normal” was really slow to start, Yara took 5 months off of work and one of her stylists, who was fresh out of beauty school, kept the salon afloat during Yara’s time in the hospital and in recovery. There were times where Yara would FaceTime her staff from her hospital bed to help formulate or explain what to do with the clients. Yara admits that it was definitely a process. 

Little by little Yara started gaining more strength and started setting small goals with dates in which she would return to work and take in one friend (not even a client) that would let her play with their hair and explore her new body and the new way of doing things. She kept building up from there. 

Yara isn’t shy to admit that it was so hard to relearn how to do hair from a wheelchair. She lost a portion of her core muscles and realized just how important your core really is. At the beginning Yara could barely hold her arms up and would topple over to the side, like a bowling pin. There was a lot of adjusting and figuring out what worked and what didn’t. She learned how to adapt to her surroundings and change in order to make her work possible. 

Although she is now thriving, at first it was very scary. Yara found support with her fellow brand educators and their community where she was able to be open and honest about her journey. When sharing about the fact that she was ready to start educating again and wanted to do a class, she got a comment telling her that she could take her accident and turn it into something positive. Yara read this comment when she was still learning to sit up, she hadn’t showered in days and was in a “deep black hole” of depression. Reading that comment she thought: “Yes, she’s right… but I have a really long way to go”

Accepting herself fully took a long time. 

Positive Vulnerability

Yara has always tried to be vulnerable on social media and with her clients because she wants to connect with people. Same with her positivity. She says that her positivity has always been a part of her but it wasn’t always taken seriously, in fact some people used to make fun of her for it. 

Now that she’s gone through her accident and speaks openly about positivity it’s given her a platform for people to be like “wow, she really means that.”

Having a platform like she does, she tries to express her struggles, the hardships and the hassles that she goes through, not just with her disability, but with the other experiences she’s had as well. It’s okay to talk about the struggles and the hurdles. 

Being positive doesn’t mean you don’t have down days. 

Proud to Be Her Authentic Self

Yara and I recorded this podcast back in June, which is Pride month and Yara shared the most beautiful post. She posted about being with her lovely partner. She’s been happily in a relationship with Loresa for 5 years now. 

But Yara hasn’t always been able to be open and honest about her sexuality. When Loresa and her first got together it was the first relationship that Yara was open about to herself, the public and her business. At the time, she was employed at a different salon and she had been seen and perceived in a certain way for a long time.

Yara admits that she did come across some resistance when she publicly came out and wanted to show the world that this was the person she loved and this was the life she wanted to live because it makes her feel the best she’s ever felt. 

There was tension with clients and the amount of communication she could have without it becoming awkward. Although it was weird and uncomfortable in the beginning, things have changed now and she’s very open and honest about who she is and doesn’t care about who gets offended.

Looking back she says it’s ironic that the beautiful hair community that’s so open, so welcoming, so diverse and so okay with gay men is not really that okay with gay women. 

She says this is a common theme she’s seen in the industry, not just herself but other gay women she’s spoken with have experienced similar things in the industry. Many of them keep themselves “professional” and never speak about that part of their lives. 

We are coming into different times now where new things are being talked about and brought to light and Yara thinks it’s time for everyone to feel good about themselves.

“You Can’t Ask That”

Being gay, being disabled and being a hairstylist (where clients think they can ask whatever they want), you might imagine that Yara gets asked a LOT of crazy questions. 

Yara and I laughed about some of the weirdest ones she’s ever been asked. She shared a story about one of the most frequent questions about her sexuality: “didn’t you used to be straight?” 

Although I would probably roll my eyes at these questions Yara seems to handle them with grace, poise and kindness every time. 

Yara says that it helps that she understands human interactions and psychology. She feels that she always has a good way of answering the questions she’s asked in a polite way, even if she sometimes has to dance around the conversation. Although she admits that might not be the healthiest of things and jokes that she maybe “should learn some better boundaries”. 

For Yara, educating people when they ask not-so-polite questions is the biggest thing. She tries to welcome curiosity with a positive outlook and a smile.

If there was one thing she wishes all able-bodied people could understand about disabilities or disabled people is that disabled people still have a lot to offer to the world. A lot of times this is because of the way that society views disabilities. Able-bodied people who have had really good luck not to ever come across these struggles and hurdles in their life need to give people with disabilities a chance and to make a safe space where someone with a disability can come out of their shell and thrive. 

People with disabilities are talented and they may be hiding due to external and internalized ableism. 

Thankfully, society is moving in the right direction.

Holy cow, how amazing is Yara? If you were inspired by her and want to connect you can check her out on Instagram @yaradoeshair, she’s got a ton of free resources in her bio and she shares helpful educational posts nearly every day! Go shoot her a DM and let her know you came from the podcast. 

She’s also got a digital course to help hairstylists who feel confused about lived-in colour (which is Yara’s jam). She’s guiding you through how to effectively and efficiently handle and navigate any lived-in colour that comes your way. The course is called Evolving Stylist Academy and you can check out more here.

I’m so grateful to have her in my life, she seriously motivates and inspires me on a daily basis. 

It’s good to be back, friend, and I’ll see you in the next episode!

Let’s be besties?

Filed Under:

Share with friends:

I am just a small-town, Canadian gal from the prairies who teaches thousands of creatives around the globe how to earn 6-figures stress-free!

Hey, I’m Dawn!

“Rock Your Business” Course Creator, Host of “The Anxious Creative” Podcast. Named by Salon Magazine as Canada’s #1 women of influence.

Get to know me! :-)

Channel Your Inner Squirrel:

Must-Reads for the Creative Mind!

Master Client Communications





Scripts, Templates, and Compassionate Strategies for Every Conversation.

on the wanted list!

I Need This, Let's Go!