At the annual America’s Beauty Show, Minnesota West Community and Technical College finished third in the Avant-Garde School Team section.

Part of that third place team is St. James’ own Juana Acosta.

The Avant-Garde section looked for an inspirational piece to show. Eventually, the group settled on a “dreamcatcher” theme to submit to the competition.

“It’s huge. It’s awesome,” said Dr. Danylle Espenson, Cosmetology Manager at Minnesota West Community and Technical College. “We’ve participated in this competition before but we’ve never placed this high. I was elated, it was so cool.”

Each team had to draw inspiration and provide a look of their model before and after the makeover. Acosta’s group revised their look numerous times before deciding on a final product for submission.

Some competitions require teams to perform their makeovers and submit their projects live in front of judges. Those adjustments helped Acosta’s team to their third-place finish.

“When I found out I couldn’t believe it,” said Acosta. It was like ‘wow, really?’ Danylle called me to see if I had heard the good news that we had come in the third. I was just really surprised.”

Placing this high in such a large competition is another step in Acosta’s mission to pursue her lifelong dreams in cosmetology.

“Ever since I was little I wanted to join this industry. I don’t have any girls but I love working with hair.”

Acosta’s work ethic has caught the eye of those in the cosmetology department, including Espenson.

“Juana is very excited to learn,” said Espenson. “She’s motivated to learn. She has a lot of things that can potentially hold her back from her education but when she’s here, she’s here to get the job done.” “

My dream is to get experience, work my way up and eventually open my own beauty salon,” said Acosta.

America’s Beauty Show is a mostly nationwide event, with some international submissions as well.