Career Readiness for Students →Peggy Loakim
artist, Karma by Erwin Gomez
Springbrook HS, Edison HS of Technology (Cosmetology Program), Montgomery College
Your list of clients includes Claire Danes, Jennifer Garner, Rosario
Dawson, Ellen Page, Paris Hilton, and America Ferrera, among others. Is there more pressure working with
Not really. They've
all been phenomenal to work with and less picky than some of my regular
clients! I try to be relatable and warm to everyone, and the celebrities I’ve
worked with have all treated me with respect and like an old friend from high
Do you have any experiences that are particularly memorable?
There are so many but two, in particular, have been very
special. I met Gabby Giffords when she was
recovering from being shot and have watched her incredible transformation. She’s
truly an inspiration and is not only my client but also a friend. The second
highlight in my career was when I was asked to be the stylist for Michelle
Obama’s sister-in-law, Kelly Robinson, during the first inauguration. I was called
to the White House and worked in the
Lincoln bedroom! I met the First Lady, chatted with her brother Craig, and
watched Malia and Sasha jump on the bed. They were all just so humbled to be in
the White House, and it was a thrill for me to be there for such an historic
You give a lot of credit for your success to the Edison High School of
I found out about the Cosmetology program as a 9th
grader at Springbrook and immediately knew it's where I needed to be. There
was definitely some stigma attached to going to Edison, but I blossomed there
and felt part of a team. I learned how to be a professional in the workplace,
gained skills in biology and anatomy, and obtained the 1,500 hours required
before taking the test for a Maryland license.
And it was all free! Edison completed me and opened me up to
opportunities I could never have imagined.
One of those opportunities was starting your own business at 21. How did that happen?
I had my license right out of high school, so I had been
working in salons while earning an associate’s degree at Montgomery College. When
an opportunity came up for me to open a salon, I jumped at the chance. My sister and I were partners and ran it
successfully for 10 years until someone made an offer to buy it from us. It was
a difficult decision but I needed more balance to my life and it’s worked out
for the best in the long run.
You’re in a very competitive industry. Why do you think you’ve been so
My parents emigrated from Greece and worked very hard to build
a comfortable life here for my sisters and me. They’ve been my biggest
supporters and have instilled in me important values that have helped to shape
who I am. I took a chance by going to Edison and I’ve continued to take risks
throughout my career. That philosophy – go for it, give it your
all, and stay positive – has helped me through the ups and downs of 28 years in
this profession. Edison literally changed my future and I went from being the
girl who cut my friends’ hair in my bedroom to living my dream of being a
stylist to the stars.