Howdy! I’m Nicole Chedraoui! If you’re looking at my last name and think that my dog ran across my keyboard you’d be incorrect, my last name does indeed have every single vowel (except sometimes y), and is most of the time mispronounced. However, I’ve grown to love my unique last name because of its heritage. I was named after the village my Dad grew up in Lebanon in the town of Chedra. My Dad’s side of the family is HUGE, even though I consistently visit them up in PA, I couldn’t even tell you all their names because there are so many people, and those are only the people in America, I have relatives on all seven of the continents on my Dad’s side of the family. My direct family, however, is quite small with just my older sister Kate, who is currently attending UNC-Chapel Hill, my Mom, Dad, and the newest addition to the family, our insane dog, Ollie. Ever since I was a toddler, I have absolutely loved animals and have always found such a love and comfort in their presence, so naturally, I nagged my parents for a dog for the next 14 years of my life and eventually by the grace of God I got a dog for my fourteenth birthday.
Today however I am not here to speak on my incessant nagging skills, I’m here to share with you the last 15 years of my life. Our story begins on the sunny morning of July 13th, 2004, that is when little baby fetus Nicole Lynn Chedraoui was born. I was born a little funny, actually having a partially closed heart valve that didn’t work properly, which I’m sure caused great concern at the time, but as I grew I was lucky that the valve grew and opened too. As time went on, flash forward maybe 3 years or so, I started dancing at The Wake Forest Academy of Fine Arts. This hobby is something that I never thought would become such a vast part of my life, but I’m so glad it did. By age 6, I received a phone call being asked to join the competition team, where I was introduced to the incredible art of performing and theatre. I loved the costumes, makeup, backstage jitters, and more than anything that feeling of coming off stage proud of what you just did. This was a pretty big year for me, I found something that made me really happy and without knowing it, I found a new family, who have stuck by me for the past 12 years. Teammates became brothers and sisters, and teachers became like my second parents, and the studio became my sanctuary.
Since I had to wear stage makeup and hair starting at a very young age, it started to become something that I was intrigued by and as I grew older It’s something that I wanted to learn to do myself. So that’s exactly what I did! I would come home from school and watch countless makeup tutorials and spend every last dollar of my money on makeup. At first, I must admit that I was genuinely terrible, but that didn’t hinder my love for the art or the joy that the application brought me. Of course, practice makes perfect, and not to brag but I like to think I am pretty decent at it. However, to me that isn’t what really mattered, what mattered was how doing my makeup could transport me out of all of my outside stress and makes me feel happy. Because of this, I really dream of becoming a cosmetologist; hair, makeup, nails, skincare, the whole package.
Unfortunately, as I got older and my schooling began to intensify in workload, I found myself no longer having any time at all to do anything I enjoy outside schoolwork, like makeup, dance, or even keeping up with a Netflix series, this cycle quickly burnt me out. Picture this: You wake up at 5:45am in the morning, shower, get ready, go to school for 7 hours, then come home and do 5 hours of homework, eat dinner, and go to bed. That was me for my 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade years attending The Magellan Charter School.
Just for some background of the school, it’s painted as a school that targets highly motivated students, seeking an academically challenging journey, and it’s safe to say this school didn’t treat me kindly. With only 400 kids in total from 3rd-8th (60 kids a grade, 17 a class) this school was SMALL and very PERSONAL. I quickly found myself hating this aspect about it in my middle school years. With the cliques, fakeness, and intimacy this school nurtures, I found myself wanting to be somewhere bigger, with more diversity, and more down to earth people. That was only the social aspect too, the biggest hardship of it was that Magellan was such a high pressure, academically intense environment and it consumed all of my time for fun or even sleep, which had a very negative impact on my mental health. Magellan is a great school, no doubting that; however, it’s not for everyone, and it certainly wasn’t for me. Luckily, I soon enough graduated alongside the rest of my class and that brings me to today, where I am now a student at Heritage High School. I can gladly say I feel Heritage is the perfect fit for me and I’m so stoked for the next four years here! Thanks so much for taking the time to read about me!!