Since last August, Little Hearts has been fortunate to enjoy the hairdressing services of Syna Leang, a professional hairstylist, makeup artist and salon owner in Phnom Penh, free of charge. Syna’s career in hairdressing began when she was a little girl. Born in the Khao-I-Dang refugee camp in Thailand, 20 kilometres north of the Cambodian border, where her parents had fled from the Khmer Rouge, Syna discovered a passion for hairstyling at a very young age. At first, she was obsessed with combing and styling her doll’s hair, then she graduated to cutting the hair of her three sisters, who courageously volunteered to let her test out new styles and techniques on them.
Syna eventually moved back to Cambodia with her family in 1992. She later trained professionally at a French salon in Phnom Penh for a year and a half. Afterwards, she started to work with Sapors Modelling Agency, where her skill set expanded beyond hairdressing to makeup, fashion and modelling. In 2007, Syna first ventured into the entertainment industry. Since then she has rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous on more than one occasion, working on makeup and special effects for the French language film ‘The Sea Wall’, directed by Rithy Panh, and for Angelina Jolie’s ‘First They Killed My Father’, both filmed in Cambodia.
Bolstered by her extensive skills and experience, Syna opened her own beauty salon, Syna Styling, in 2012. The Phnom Penh-based salon offers professional hair and makeup styling for special events such as weddings, modelling shows, films and commercials, centred on a passion for makeup and hair as well as a commitment to high-quality service. Although it started out small, Syna’s business has been successful and grown rapidly over the years, and it now offers professional training for those interested in the beauty industry through the Syna Styling Beauty School. Through her teaching, Syna shares her love and profound knowledge of cosmetology and styling with aspiring young makeup artists and stylists.
Having known Tony since 2012, Syna was delighted when he asked if she was willing to offer haircuts to the kids at Little Hearts. Syna knows the power a good haircut – it can boost one’s confidence and make them feel special, something that every child needs from time to time. She visits Little Hearts every 6 to 8 weeks, as and when her busy schedule allows. With the help of some of her students, she manages to do about 10 or 12 haircuts in one afternoon. The kids are always happy to see her. They like having their hair done, and it helps that she always brings edible treats. She enjoys chatting with the children while cutting their hair, sharing her stories and experiences, and getting to know each one of them.
Syna feels that her visits are important to remind the children that they are valued and deserving of care, respect and a stylish look. She hopes her personal journey, from child refugee to acclaimed stylist, and her love for hairstyling can inspire the kids to find their own passion. In fact, she hopes that one day a youngster from Little Hearts will follow in her footsteps and become a hairdresser by taking advantage of Syna Styling School’s scholarship program.
We are extremely grateful to Syna for being a part of Little Hearts and sharing her talent for beauty and style. We are always open to committed, generous supporters like her and welcome any charitable services that the kids might benefit from.
For more information on Syna’s salon and styling academy, please click here.