He started doing nails at home, for family and friends, at the age of 14. At 16, she entered the aesthetics course at the Barlavento Center for Employment and Vocational Training of the IEFP and, at 21, saw her work and talent distinguished at the World Professions Championship (Worldskills). After winning a Excellence medal, the first ever for Portugal in this area, one of Seomara Cabrita's greatest wishes is for young people to be more valued in their professions.
«Aesthetics was not an area in which I wanted to start working, I confess, because I always wanted to work with special children, but life did not provide me with that. In 2017, I entered the aesthetics course at the IEFP and, since then, I have always been in this area, then I started working with my mother here at the salon [in Armação de Pêra] and I gained a lot of love for everything I do», begins for telling Seomara Cabrita to Sul Informação, while fixing a client's nails.
Focused on her work, the young woman from Silves reveals that nails are one of her favorite things to do, «it gives wings to our imagination». But, with the participation in the Professions Championship, Seomara learned many techniques, in several areas, which she now also wants to start putting into practice.
Before finishing the three years of the aesthetics course – which gave her equivalence to the 12th year and level 4 of the profession – the opportunity arose to participate in the Professions Championship.
«I didn't know what it was, but I felt sorry for my teacher, because nobody ever wanted to participate in anything, so I volunteered, on condition that I received a massage manual», he says, laughing.
After participating in a competition with other young people from the Algarve, Seomara went directly to Nacional, where she competed with 1st competitors.
«At that time, I was very lost, I knew that the other trainers had already been in championships and mine had not, so I was anxious, but there I concentrated. I loved the championship, that's a world. There are 40 and such professions competing, it's brutal, some we know, others we don't, and it's very funny to see young people so young knowing how to do so much», he says, stressing that, unfortunately, «often this talent is not valued».
«I noticed this not so much at the Nationals, but more at the European and World Championships», he continues, lamenting that in other countries young people are given much more value than in Portugal, «where the level of demand is so high, but then that doesn’t happen reflects in nothing beneficial for those who work».
From the national stage, he emerged the winner, then proceeding to the European, «where the level of demand was already much higher».
«There were only seven of us, which becomes more difficult because the eyes of the judges are more focused on us and, at the slightest mistake, they are already there to give us low marks. But I was very happy because there I won the medal of excellence, the first for Portugal in Aesthetics, and I was in fourth place, but very few points behind the third and second places», emphasizes the 21-year-old.
One more level surpassed, the next step was to work for the World Cup, which took place in Helsinki (Finland).
It was "difficult and very demanding" times to get there, confesses the young woman, who had to dedicate almost all of her time to constant training, to which was added, before the World Cup, a make-up course, paid for by the State, and taken in Lisbon, for a month and a half.
«It was a lot of effort and 100% tiring, both psychologically and physically, but it was worth it for everything I learned. I think I've grown a lot on a professional level and that's always good », he says, despite admitting having felt some frustration considering that, with what he did, he could have had a better classification.
Winning the Medal of Excellence was a unique feat for Portugal, but Seomara wanted more.
In this ambition, the young woman is supported by Maria de Lurdes Lopes, a trainer at the IEFP in Portimão, who accompanied Seomara throughout this journey. «I wasn't present, but as far as I know the assessments were not the most correct», she considers.
For Lurdes Lopes, it was «an honor to train Seomara». “I saw a lot of potential in her from the beginning. She is a person with great abilities, learns very easily, is committed and focused, sets her goals very well and works to achieve them in a perfectionist way », explains the professional who has been collaborating with the IEFP for 15 years.
Convinced that Seomara could have even gone further, what the trainer wants now is that the young professional is not forgotten.
«I would really like her not to be forgotten, and that's not exactly what I'm realizing is happening. She has capabilities to go very far. I've been working in aesthetics for 30 years and she is one of the people I know with the most awareness and who knows very well what she does. In our profession, where we work with the human body, we need to be very aware », she stresses.
Asked whether she thinks these distinctions will make people value Seomara's work more, Lurdes Lopes thinks not.
«Unfortunately, in the environment it is in, people do not value professionalism, they value paying less».
If, for the trainer, it was a source of pride to see the young professional reach so far, for the IEFP in Portimão it was also a privilege.
Ao Sul Informação, Ana Isabel Vieira, director of the Barlavento Employment and Professional Training Centre, reveals that Seomara's participation in this competition and the results obtained are «an example for all trainees who now also see an opportunity to get so far».
With the mission of «combating unemployment through professional training measures», the IEFP proudly sees many of its young people entering the job market and others even seeking higher education in these areas.
Regarding the Professional Championships, Ana Vieira stresses their importance, «especially for young people who are entering the 9th or 12th grade, who do not have a very well-structured life and who find a path here».
With a periodicity of every two years, the championships Worldskills they are aimed at young people between the ages of 17 and 25, who have completed or are attending a qualification path in the form of professional training.
To date, Portugal is the only founding member country of the Worldskills International which remains uninterruptedly in the competition, having marked, in 2020, 70 years of participation.
This year, it is Portimão's turn to host the 45th National Championship, which runs from the 7th to the 12th of March, and which will bring close to 400 young people competing in 54 professions.
«In this championship, Seomara will have a prominent place and I would really like her to be our trainer, to pass this experience and taste for the profession on to other young people», emphasizes Ana Vieira, referring that the IEFP intends to support the young woman, in the future, in the possible creation of your own company.
For Seomara, the idea of giving training is not completely out of the question, but, in the near future, what she wants is to «rest a bit» and dedicate herself to her clients.
«I would like to pass on what I know to other young women because, as I already have the experience of three championships, I think I can help. If I have to do more training, I will too, because we always have to learn. Also, I intend to join a brand, but now it's one day at a time».
Despite emphasizing that "it was very worth it" to participate in the championship, the young woman regrets that, after that, she did not have more support.
«When we work and give our best, we would like to be rewarded, namely financially», he says, adding that many young people from other countries even receive «salaries» to participate in the Championships.
«In Portugal, none of that happens: people only care about politics and football. That makes me sad because Portugal has a lot to give. We are at a stage where many young people do not want to do anything, and having others who are so invested in their profession and are not recognized for it, it is bad», he continues.
Despite considering that it is always positive to have seen her work and skills recognized internationally, Seomara regrets that, here, recognition goes "a bit by the side".
After months and months of training and effort to reach the Medal of Excellence, Seomara confesses that one of her greatest wishes is for young people to be more valued in their professions, «in whatever area it may be».
At the age of 21, the young woman from Armação de Pêra has a whole future ahead of her and although she admits that Salão Sayonara, on Rua do Alentejo, will always be her home, she does not put aside the idea of taking her talent and professionalism to other places in the Algarve and the country.
Photos: Mariana Sedge | Sul Informação