CECU Success Stories

MaryRose Leivas

MaryRose Leivas

Graduate and Educator at Bellus Academy 

Finding Her Voice Through Skincare
By Shaira Barnette, Marketing Manager, Bellus Academy

Think about Women’s History Month, and what comes to mind? Suffragette campaigners working tirelessly for the vote? Me Too marchers saying enough is enough? Often, it’s a quiet voice that changes the lives of individuals and those in the world around them. 

MaryRose Leivas, an educator at Bellus Academy in Poway, CA (IG @RosieCheeksPoway) and licensed esthetician who has worked at one of the world’s most elite spas found her calling and her voice – not by speaking out, but through the power of touch! Growing up, MaryRose was so shy her family nicknamed her “Mouse.” But despite her shyness, MaryRose had a powerful desire to find her voice and help others. She just didn’t know how to go about making her voice heard.

After attending community college, MaryRose was uncertain about what path she would take in pursuing a career. But look around and listen long enough to that inner voice; eventually, you’ll have that ”aha” moment. In MaryRose’s case, she looked at the powerful example set by another woman – a former boyfriend’s mother. This woman, an immigrant from Eastern Europe, had built a powerful skincare business and crafted her own American success story. MaryRose was intrigued and decided to take a tour of Bellus Academy, where she had an “aha” moment.

“I remember walking around the school and seeing all the students so engaged in their program,” says MaryRose. “I wanted to learn everything I could about skin, and having struggled with cystic acne, I wanted to help other people feel good in their own skin.” Although she’d never had a facial or visited a spa, MaryRose sensed that the esthetic area was the safe space place where she could find her voice and fulfill her purpose. “We always say that beauty changes lives, and that tour of Bellus Academy helped change my life,” she says.

Flash forward ten years, and MaryRose is an educator at the very school that changed her life. She’s working alongside some of the educators who changed her career trajectory. The desire to give back to the next generation of estheticians was inspired by the generosity of mentors who coached her as an esthetics student. “I owe so much to Miss Larissa and Miss Olga, who continue to inspire me and challenge me to help the next generation of estheticians help their clients – whether it’s issues with pigmentation, acne, anti-aging- etc.,” MaryRose says.

While the esthetic space may be the quietest area in a salon or spa, MaryRose heard a clear calling that she could make a real difference through the power of connection. “Esthetics is all about trust and relationships,” she says. “When I’m giving someone a facial, I’m not just infusing their skin with a treatment; I’m helping them feel safe, connected, and celebrating all they are.”

Since finishing her esthetics program, MaryRose’s career has enriched her life in ways that range from the quiet joy of spirituality to the fun of interacting with celebrities at globally renowned spas. Early in her career, she served as a lead esthetician at Massage Envy before being hired at the world-renowned Golden Door Spa, where she learned more about the integration that exists between body, mind, and soul. Coming out of the pandemic period, MaryRose wanted to find a way to give back and help others who had been through so much trauma and grief. She opened a boutique esthetics business and returned to pay her success forward as an educator at Bellus Academy. 

But MaryRose says the greatest reward comes from making a difference in the lives of her students. “Seeing my beautiful students smiling back at me continually makes me want to transfer what I’ve learned to others,” she says. “In the classroom, I feel so engaged, so connected, and with a sense of child-like joy.”

Life is a process of continued growth and change. Considering her future, MaryRose is excited to take her career to the next level by earning the CIDESO license – a renowned standard in skincare. And where will that license take this California girl? “I’ve traveled to Ireland and would love to spend more time in that beautiful country,” she says. “But first, I’ll need to make sure I can trade in California weather for a much colder climate!”