Missi Collela

Time to Soar

When a baby bird leaves the nest, the mama bird has two options: she can either stay with the nest, or take off into the sky and find her own wings again. Missi Colella has chosen to soar.

On August 18, Missi's daughter, Jaden, will start classes as a freshman at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. On the same day, Missi will begin a new chapter in her own life by beginning cosmetology classes at the Technical College of the Lowcountry in Beaufort. 

Although to many, Missi's decision to go back to school may seem like the result of "Empty Nest Syndrome", the truth is it was more of a decision based on good timing and a little bad luck turned good. A few months ago Missi backed into Lorane Clark's car in the parking lot of Hilton Head Christian Academy. As the two ladies began talking, they realized they were long lost acquaintances from 25 years ago in Delaware. To make the story even quirkier, they now worked right next door to each other on Hilton Head-Lorane as co-owner of Fringe Salon and Missi as a personal assistant at Stratton Securities. This reacquaintance led to friendship, and eventually a job opportunity for Missi.

"I started working at Fringe Salon to help them out. I thought it would be fun to do for a little bit, but it turns out a little bit's not enough. The girls at Fringe are some of the coolest girl's ever and they have been my biggest cheerleaders and teachers. It didn't take long for me to realize that cosmetology was something I wanted to pursue further. It's a lot of work to get things organized in life so you can go back to school, but I just did what I had to do to make it happen," said Missi.

Missi began working at Fringe in March, and by May she had started the general education classes she needed as prerequisites to the cosmetology classes. Although starting back to school was nerve-racking, especially to someone who had never gone to college, she was relieved and encouraged that she wasn't the oldest in her classes. She is still nervous about the cosmetology classes, because she knows how picky women can be about their hair, but Fringe co-owner Maggie Lucchesi consistently reminds her that being nervous is a good thing because it shows that she cares.

With her career change, Missi will have to make some immediate changes and sacrifices to her personal and professional life as well. For the last five years her job has offered her extreme flexibility and availability to be there for her friends and family. Over the next year her schedule will have to change to accommodate a structured five-days-a-week, eight-hour-days of classes, combined with a two-hour, round-trip drive to and from Beaufort. In addition, she is planning on keeping her job at Stratton, which will mean more evening work and much less free time. "I will have less money and less free time which means I'll have to curb my shopping addiction. Also, Thursdays have always been my night to go out with friends, and I imagine that will come to an abrupt halt if I have to be at class in Beaufort at eight in the morning."

These changes will not only affect her life, but her family and friends as well. She jokes that her husband will have to learn to make his own dinners at night, but laments that she may not be able to drop everything to make it to Columbia if her daughter needs her, or spontaneously drive to Maryland to see her mother. Despite the sacrifices that will come with her decision, Missi remains nothing but optimistic about her new life change. "I don't see any negatives. I'm too excited to see anything but positives right now!"
Being a hairstylist is something Missi has always wanted to do, but has never had the chance to actively pursue her desire. Because of perfect timing and a spirit of determination and optimism she is finally taking the chance to make her dreams come true. If we can learn anything from Missi, it's that it is never too late to follow your dreams, as long as you are willing to take that first step out of the nest.

Up Close:

As a child, she wanted to be: An auto mechanic!
What motivates her: Being happy in whatever she does.
Favorite Disney princess: Rapunzel.because she has great hair!
Family: Husband, Mike; Daughter, Jaden (18); Stepsons, AJ (31) and Mike (28); Grandchildren, Brooke (10), Reese (5), Chase (3), and Gage (2 months)
Motto to live by: "For every action there is a reaction, so always think things through."