• Christopher Hopkins

Finding Your Bliss Unexpected Ways

A bit off topic, perhaps, but I am excited to attend the Minnesota Orchestra this weekend and see my good friend Eiji Oue conducting. I met Eiji when he came in for a haircut many years ago when he was the director of the MInnesota Orchestra. Before entering the beauty business, I started my life journey as a music major at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.

I had entered St. Olaf with excitement and anticipation. FINALLY I’d be out of small town rural farm country Minnesota and in college, where I’d suddenly blend in and find like minded souls. In truth I had only traveled two hours east to another small town in the country. I chose St. Olaf because, aside from it being a stellar music college everyone looked “preppy.” Plaid pleated skirts with peter pan collared blouses and adorable ribbons in their hair the girls were just as I imagined in those Hollywood musicals. Having read the “Preppy Handbook” cover to cover, I had been preparing since my sophomore year in high school the cocksure attitude of the ultimate preppy. Off I went that fall of 1982 in my Kelly green cotton trousers, matching polo (collar up), canary cable knit over my shoulders, and of course, the requisite boat shoes sans socks. Even aptly attired, I didn’t fit in. I felt lonely, isolated, intimidated and uncomfortable and I couldn’t “find my peeps.”

The following summer I finally met my peeps at the Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park. I started my sophomore year determined to be a new man. I grew a beard, permed my mullet and, shocking I know, smoked cigarettes. Players. Black box. I lived off campus and had my own car. A dark brunette shielded with bronzer and bravado, I bore little resemblence to my fellow well-scrubbed Scandinavian student body.

To this day, if you happen to catch on youtube the PBS presentation of the 1983  St. Olaf Christmas Festival you will find me appearing like “Where’s Waldo?” standing out from the mass blonde and fluffy haired chorus like a strangely shiny Afro-Midwesterner with big white teeth.

The point I’m arriving at is I quit and moved to Minneapolis where I was hired as a professional singer/dancer. After a few years I attended beauty school “for something to fall back on.” In my early 30’s, when I began to fear I’d never live my dream to sing on stage (my first mid life crisis, I call it) Eiji was referred to me for a haircut. He heard me sing, had me audition for the decision makers and as a result I had the opportunity to do what I only dreamed could happen while attending St. Olaf.

I was recently interviewed on Minnesota Public Radio and for once it was not about beauty tips. It was a culmination of the part of me I rarely have the opportunity to share. Here’s the interview.

At this juncture I’m happy to say that when you find yourself your people you can’t help but find your bliss. I’m so grateful to you who help me continue to share what I know and continue to learn. I so and appreciate your kind responses.

Isn’t life grand?


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