For some time now, I have been promoting cultural initiatives aimed at supporting the Made in Italy Beauty sector, and young students, because I believe in the value of Italian professionalism and that talent should be cultivated and rewarded from an early age.
My family has been working in this field for over 60 years and I have been able to see for myself the contradiction to which the beauty industry is subjected. On one hand, it represents the backbone of our country, as well as the fastest-growing sector in the economy for over 100 years and an icon of ‘Made in Italy’ all over the world. On the other hand, it is perceived as the ‘repository of youth training waste’. This distorted view of reality is inevitably reflected in the future of young people who choose career paths as beauty or wellness operators. Feeling labelled as less talented, they fail to grasp the real opportunities for their personal and professional growth and the prosperity that the sector offers.
This negative, alienating and destructive approach to young people’s self-esteem gave me the need to create a project of pride and awareness that I called PROUD TO BE, strongly supported by my non-profit organisation BEAUTY FORCE. The objective I have set myself is to overturn the current paradigms that block the evolution of the Wellness professions. I absolutely really want to recover the social, economic and ethical value of the Beauty industry and I believe in the need to establish integrated communication between the academic, institutional and professional training worlds at all levels. Teachers, managers, students, professionals, companies and institutions must all be involved in the creation of a New Professional Vanguard.
The mission of the project is socio-psycho-pedagogical and it is based on values linked to the strengthening of the professional identity. This is not only because Beauty is a fundamental dimension of human life, but also because it is precisely these young people in training who, one day, will have to take care of the beauty of others. We will ask them for advice on how to improve our well-being, and we will rely on them to help us choose the products that best suit our needs.
This is why we need to change the technical-scientific educational tools, through a humanistic deepening of every related aspect. Humanistic Pedagogy must begin to penetrate our educational realities by placing the human being at the centre of attention in order to give man back his due dignity as a unique being in relation to the other and in relation to the other’s trust.
In Italy alone, there are more than 400 CFP Professional Training Centres in DDIF, Right to Education and Training, i.e., in compulsory schooling, accredited in the Wellness sector, which welcome about 40,000 young people in training. These are the young people with whom I have had the privilege of working in internship projects: talented, sensitive young people, but misunderstood and misjudged by their families, institutions and by society.
The general discouragement that follows is expressed in repeated disconfirmation, in negative frustrations that lead to the atrophy of social feeling: this does not encourage the maturation of the personality, indeed it prevents them from overcoming their state of induced inferiority.
With the PROUD TO BE project, I want to encourage these talented young people, who are unfortunately underestimated and misguided, to be fulfilled both personally and professionally, making them perceive school and themselves positively, motivating themselves to take active control over the course of their education, so as to support the construction of their professional identity.
For some time now, I have dreamed of the creation of a Liceo della Bellezza, a Beauty Highschool, capable of transferring not only technical skills but also humanistic ones, through a didactic that converges Knowledge, Knowing How to Be, Knowing How to Do, restoring dignity to students who enter professional training and that can also give access to higher university education.
I am already moving in this direction.
On Wednesday 31 March, I held a zoom meeting with the managers of 80 Italian CFPs that have joined the PROUD TO BE project. The meeting is part of a series of monthly meetings during which we discuss and analyse the progress of the project. In the month of March that just ended, many initiatives were carried out, starting with the involvement of middle school guidance counsellors by sending them a letter that accompanied my book La Cosmetica Umanistica (Humanistic Cosmetics), which contains all my thoughts on the humanistic development of the cosmetic world. But that’s not all, talking about training means touching on all the areas that affect the lives of managers, teachers and students in schools. In this regard, I have started at the BBA Academy in Paderno Dugnano (MI), the project’s first model school, with scheduled meetings every Thursday with managers, students and teaching staff to encourage alignment between market demands and training. I met with the mayor of Paderno Dugnano and sent a letter to the town councillors proposing initiatives to involve the community and institutions at various levels. The projects that have finally taken shape in this period also concern working environments and tools. We shared the studies on epigenetic spaces because it is important to move in a human-scale place, which promotes Wellbeing, Creativity and Health, both at school and at work.
The idea, with the help of the architect Mr Bigogno, is to create a 360° epigenetic school structure by intervening in the classrooms, the laboratories, the training company and the entrances. We started designing the epigenetic dress code using special uniforms designed with organic materials and colours, and created ergonomic footwear with Dr Pacini, Postural Ergonomist, which guarantees the comfort of beauty workers by preventing disorders of the muscular-skeletal system linked to poor posture.
Among the ground-breaking educational tools, we presented the book written with Prof. Alex Gezzi, dermatologist and university lecturer, which talks about dermatology, anatomy and the physiology of the skin through a harmonious informative and artistic balance of drawings, explained by significant fragments of text. A true work of art, capable of making it an easy to learn complex, but with fundamental concepts such as the structure of the skin.
Following Prof. Borellini’s suggestion, we also introduced a skin cross-section anatomical model as a teaching tool.
Moreover, we included the “Farnsworth-Munsell Hundred Tints” test, which is used to assess the individual predisposition to fine colour discernment, to evaluate the colour perception of each student and any alterations such as colour blindness.
We have placed the UNIMIX Technology within the laboratories and the training enterprise.
We created a YouTube channel: PBC Professional Beauty Channel to give voice to the science behind cosmetics, a container capable of collecting all the knowledge related to the universe of Beauty and bringing together the perspectives of the humanistic vision with those of the scientific disciplines. A genuine library of professional videos where scientists, researchers and university professors talk in different formats about their own areas of expertise. Among the protagonists of the many videos are prestigious names such as Professor Borellini, Prof. Gezzi, Dr. Pacini, Mr. Bigogno and Mr Sangineto.
I am certain that these initiatives will bring about changes in the school environment and in relations within the community and institutions. The school must accompany students to get in touch with their inner world, promoting and helping them realise their self-esteem and self-efficacy, which vary in relation to school results, visibility in the classroom, recognition of their own value and the way they are part of it. This is possible by restructuring the school system and equipping it with new efficient and effective tools.
The road is long, but the dream has already begun to materialise. I firmly believe in it!