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Genevieve Thoris

Genevieve Thoris

Brand director | L’Oréal of Paris | Class of 2003

Long before she repped one of the world’s top cosmetics companies in one of the world's most famous cities, Genevieve Carmichael Thoris did hair in Champaign. 

“I spent a lot of time working part-time as a hairdresser at Identity Hair Salon on East John Street, right underneath Bogart’s, to finance my studies at the College of Communications," says the brand director at L’Oréal of Paris, who graduated with high honors and a bachelor's in advertising.

“The salon’s interior walls were painted a rather jarring purple and one of the stylists actually had purple hair. Nonetheless, I spent most of my days performing rather tame services like pale golden highlights and crew cuts. We had a wide range of clientele from the university — kids from the Chicago suburbs, international exchange students and engineering teaching assistants. 

“It was a great place to experience the richly diverse student body of the U of I and to engage in real, albeit quick, conversation with a wide variety of students, cutting through stereotypes and unearthing the shared university experience — the stress, the self-discovery, romantic challenges, anxiety about post-graduation life — in the way that only your hairdresser can.”