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RCC classmates open hair and lash lounge

Photo of two people sitting in styling charis.
Randolph Community College graduates Sonia Perez Gobellan and Tiffany England opened Bella Vita Hair & Lash Lounge on April 1.

Both Sonia Perez Gobellan and Tiffany England had full-time jobs when they enrolled in Randolph Community College’s Cosmetology Program. Both had kids. Both had dreams. The only thing, or, to be more exact, things missing were each other.

“We got really close in school,” England said. “We were closer in age; we had a lot of younger classmates. We always used to joke and say, ‘You know, we’re going to have our own salon.’ Since the program we were in was an apprenticeship, we knew we would both be going to salons for six months coming right out of the program. At the end of six months, we decided to open our own salon.”

Thirty days later, on April 1, Bella Vita Hair & Lash Lounge was born.

“Our Cosmetology Program has achieved remarkable success, making it a shining example of excellence in vocational education,” RCC President/CEO Dr. Shah Ardalan said. “The program boasts a team of dedicated and experienced instructors who bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the classroom. Their commitment to training the next generation of cosmetologists is evident in the program's consistently high standards. The program's curriculum is thoughtfully designed to provide students with a well-rounded education in cosmetology, access to modern, state-of-the-art facilities that mimic real salon environments, and numerous opportunities for students to practice their skills on actual clients.”

England and Perez Gobellan started their cosmetology journey during the COVID-19 pandemic, wearing masks and not being able to get in much practice.

“It was very difficult,” Perez Gobellan said. “The worst part was not being able to practice because of COVID. We were really scared. Whenever we started to take walk-ins again, we were very nervous because we didn’t want to mess up.”

“You have the mannequins for practice, but that’s nothing like live clients,” England added. “We couldn’t even practice on each other because of COVID. So, it was very nerve-wracking.”

Still, they graduated in 2022 as the top two in their class.

“We both had kids, so we were both of the mindset, ‘We’ve got to make this work,’ ” England said.

Both agreed that Cosmetology Department Head Dean Brewer and Instructor Gena Trogdon were instrumental in getting them to the finish line, making sure they were ready for the N.C. State Board Exam.

Bella Vita has recently taken on three more workers — two from RCC. Included in the three are a nail technician and a massage therapist.

“We’ve been trying to think of what Asheboro needs,” England said.

Which might include a second Bella Vita.

“We’ve got big dreams,” England said. “We just want to keep growing.”

For more information on RCC’s Cosmetology Program, visit For more on Bella Vita Hair & Lash Lounge, visit

Randolph Community College (RCC), under the leadership of President/CEO Dr. Shah Ardalan, is committed to providing relevant career training and educational opportunities. Affordable degrees and short-term certificate programs start throughout the year, both in person and online. For more information, call 336-633-0200 or visit and expect to engage with the most competent and compassionate team of faculty and staff.

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