In the News
FASHION STUDENTS OFFER UP FREE HUGSby Alan Blank on 7/28/2008
What could Costa Mesaâ��s Paul Mitchell fashion school have done to warrant 150 of its characteristically black-clad students standing outside its building holding signs and banners? What could they be protesting?
Those thoughts must have crossed at least a few motoristsâ�� minds on their morning commute Wednesday as they passed by the spectacle on Adams Avenue â�� at least until they got closer to the building and noticed the students were smiling and the banners they held read â��Free Hugs.â��
â��If you donâ��t get three hugs a day, you canâ��t be sane,â�� said faculty member Janet Payne, who was still on an adrenaline-fueled hugging rampage.
The ebullient motivational coach was so excited about the event that it was hard to get a word in edgewise between repeated bear hugs and rapid-fire banter. The hug statistic she quoted wasnâ��t from a university study but from a book written by the academyâ��s founder, Winn Claybaugh.
Honors student Jacob CedeÃ±o picked up the idea and ran with it earlier in the week, spending a couple of days spray-painting signs.
â��We talked about it and never followed through with it, but over the weekend I decided we should do it,â�� CedeÃ±o said.
He and all of his fellow students and faculty members cleared the halls, more or less spontaneously, and stood in the schoolâ��s parking lot for more than an hour, all donning the schoolâ��s distinctive uniform: a solid black shirt and solid black pants.
Some passersby were a little skittish and didnâ��t take the black-clad mob up on its offer, but many got out of their cars.
â��If they didnâ��t stop they honked,â�� said teacher Jamie McClary.
â��A lot of people were apprehensive at first, like, â��Youâ��re crazy,â�� â�� CedeÃ±o said.
The impromptu celebration was the first of its kind at the hair and makeup academy, but the organizers were so happy with the turnout that they want to make it a monthly ritual.
ALAN BLANK may be reached at (714) 966-4623 or at email@example.com.