A Portage la Prairie hairstylist has been named Manitoba's highest achieving new journeyperson in the Trade of Hairstylist.

Patry Trandafir received the award on behalf of Apprenticeship Manitoba and the Apprenticeship and Certification Board and says this was not something she expected!

"I was a little bit in shock. It was kind of surreal. They knew about it for a while. They kept it a secret from me," says Trandafir. "By they, I mean everybody else in my life!"

She currently serves as Assistant Manager at Styled With Meraki, where she works with her inspiration, Adrienne Mekkes, who owns the salon. Trandafir says Mekkes encouraged her to complete the hairstyling course at Portage Collegiate Institute, after she showed interest in the industry. Mekkes says she has been following along with her journey.

"Oh, I am so incredibly proud of her. I've watched her succeed. I've known her for so long, but she's worked specifically by my side going on four years now, and I've just seen her develop into this beautiful person. She is just amazing at what she does," says Mekkes. "She's way too humble. She needs to brag way more about herself, because there's only a specific percentage of people that could do what she did."

Trandafir did end up going back to school after receiving that encouragement, and with the help of instructor Brenda Hinch, Trandafir accomplished her goal.

"I had to basically get everything sorted. I had to do both of my exams," says Trandafir. "There is an on-hands exam and then a written exam. Yeah, I basically just had to go get those figured out and keep pushing. I had an amazing support system, Adrienne and Miss Hinch and everybody else really just pushed me forward. So, I think that's what helped a lot, too."

She credits her friends, her family, her boyfriend, and her mentors for helping her get where she is today. Mekkes notes that Transafir has grown a lot over the past few years.

"She's been doing hair for three years and she's already at the same level as I am, with clientele, and all of our targets that we hit in our salon company," says Mekkes. "Not only is she an assistant manager, she's also a leader and coaches our other stylists who are also high achievers. It's really awesome to see her taking what I'm teaching her and then doing it better than me."

Patry and Adrienne at the salonPatry and Adrienne have been together at the salon for 3+ years.

Mekkes says she has been in the industry for eleven years and she loves how quickly Trandafir has learned. Trandafir says her success isn't an accident as she enjoys studying and learning about the business.

"I call myself a little bit of a hairstylist nerd because I know way too many facts about hair," laughs Trandafir. "If you want the science version or the fun version, I got it."