With the Costa Maya Festival just around the corner, there is no doubt the party-goers will be decked out in their finest. The festival is synonymous with fashion and the latest designs and hairstyles can be observed there. If we go back in time, "dressing up" in San Pedro was simple, yet elegant. Today, the latest fashion trends are easily accessible and the hairstyling experts help to achieve the desired look. With the introduction of the "perm" many years ago, also came new "hairdos" and people's interest in pursuing this profession. This week, we are happy to feature one of San Pedro's first professional cosmetologists - Ms. Ilna Nuñez.
Ilna was born in San Pedro and grew up with four sisters, one brother, three stepsisters and two stepbrothers. She attended San Pedro Roman Catholic School and shortly after, went to work at various hotels on the island. At a very young age though, Ilna had made up her mind to become a hairdresser and started out by practicing on her dollies.
The chance of making her dreams a reality came when her close friend from Belize City invited her to travel to New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. Ilna did not think twice about taking this opportunity and soon after found herself in the land of Mardi Gras. She worked as a waitress at her friend's restaurant and attended cosmetology school in the evenings. After completing the required 1,500 hours, Ilna was certified by Eve's College of Hairstyling Incorporated as a Cosmetologist in December of 1987. In addition, she was presented with a certificate for utilizing scientific educational systems by Redken, a leading hair product company. Immediately after achieving her desired goal, she came back to her hometown of San Pedro to put her skills to the test.
Upon her return, she partnered with another cosmetologist who had recently arrived on the island and together they started Island Magic Beauty Salon on Tarpon Street. Just a year into this new business, Ilna bought out her partner's shares, becoming the sole proprietor of Island Magic. Ilna Nuñez soon became a popular personality in San Pedro for the variety of services she offered. The residents of La Isla Bonita welcomed Ilna and Island Magic for services such as haircuts, perms, hair coloring and styling, waxing, pedicures and manicures.
Today, Ilna is the proud mother of nine year-old Erick Santizo, a Standard II student at San Pedro Roman Catholic School. She continues to give "new looks" to her customers from her shop, now located on Pescador Drive. Led by her talents, Ilna became one of the first organizers of the Miss Chiquitita Pageant for young girls, introduced to the island in 1996. Because of her professional skills, she has also been working behind the scenes for the Miss San Pedro and Reina de la Costa Maya Pageants, enhancing the beauty of the contestants for many years.
When asked about her profession as a cosmetologist, she commented, "I am definitely contented with my work. This is what I had always dreamt of and I have been doing it for thirteen years now. Since 1987, when I opened Island Magic, I have had the pleasure of working with so many wonderful people and have established several loyal customers. Life is great."
Ilna Nuñez brings out the beauty of clients with her magical scissors and creative mind. Her hairstyles and "finishing touches" adorn the people of San Pedro at countless social gathering and festivities throughout the year. Through Island Magic, Ilna Nuñez is making the residents of "La Isla - Muy Bonita," providing a wonderful service to "Our Community."