(Photo by Veterans Beauty Professionals Organization)

In the vibrant tapestry of Seoul, South Korea, on Dec. 12, 1979, Mihyon Cha embarked on her life’s journey. In a nation pulsating with the zeal for advancement, her mother stood out not just as a figure of maternal care but as a pioneering force in the male-dominated echelon of corporate leadership. Steering a company that laid underground wires, her mother’s role as a female entrepreneur in the construction sector was not just remarkable; it was revolutionary, embodying the indomitable spirit of progress. This resilience and drive were Mihyon’s guiding lights from her earliest days.

The quest for a brighter future led the Cha family to the United States in 1986, immersing themselves in the multifaceted society of New York City. This move was a leap into a world brimming with possibilities yet laden with challenges, marking the beginning of a journey filled with both promise and adversity.

Mihyon found herself at the crossroads of youth and responsibility at 15, managing a family restaurant amid financial turmoil. The weight of these challenges curtailed her aspirations for the Fashion Institute of Technology, propelling her into a relentless pursuit of stability through various jobs. Yet, it was this path that shaped her resilience, forging a spirit ready to embrace change.

(Photo by Veterans Beauty Professionals Organization)

Joining the United States Navy Seabees, Mihyon sought refuge and purpose, stepping into a realm that offered both a departure from past tribulations and a foundation for future endeavors. Her military service was marked by commendable achievements and acts of kindness, laying the groundwork for her entrepreneurial spirit.

The end of her military tenure due to an injury signified not an end but the dawn of a new chapter. Transitioning to civilian life brought uncertainty, yet Mihyon’s unwavering resolve led her to the world of aesthetics, where she found her calling.

Empowering through education by founding the International School of Permanent Makeup (ISPMU) in New York, Mihyon set new standards in the beauty industry, championing excellence and professionalism. Her dedication to education and skill development underscored her commitment to empowering others.

Reflecting on her own transitions and challenges, Mihyon established the Veterans Beauty Professionals Organization (VBPO) as a way to serve those who served. Her intimate understanding of veterans’ experiences and her passion for beauty fueled a mission to support military personnel, offering training, mentorship, and opportunities in the thriving beauty industry.

(Photo by Veterans Beauty Professionals Organization)

How to get started

Mihyon D. Cha’s narrative is a testament to the transformative power of resilience, innovation, and service. From navigating the trials of immigration and early responsibility to illuminating paths of empowerment and success for veterans, her journey encapsulates a profound commitment to making a difference. Through the VBPO and ISPMU, Mihyon continues to shine as a beacon of hope, inspiring veterans and their families to discover new purposes and horizons in their post-military lives. Her legacy is a vivid reminder that within every challenge lies the seed of opportunity, nurturing the potential for remarkable achievements and fulfilling lives of success and fulfillment are within reach.

This profession is highly rewarding financially; on average, a permanent makeup (PMU) artist can earn approximately $250 per hour. By working 5 hours a day and 5 days a week, this equates to $6,250 weekly. With 52 weeks in a year, this schedule would result in an annual income of $325,000. It’s for this reason that PMU artists are often referred to as members of the “100k club,” as their earnings significantly surpass the six-figure mark.

At the VBPO, our commitment is to guide you towards the best educational institution and connect you with the perfect mentor for one-on-one sessions. VBPO serves as a nurturing ground for active duty military members, their spouses, and veterans, offering complimentary education, mentorship, and sponsorship opportunities in the beauty industry. Embark on your new career journey with us. Visit our website for more information: or

(Photo by Veterans Beauty Professionals Organization)

The best stories from the Pacific, in your inbox

Sign up for our weekly newsletter of articles from Japan, Korea, Guam, and Okinawa with travel tips, restaurant reviews, recipes, community and event news, and more.

Sign Up Now