Experience: Chrissy Teigen paid my college fees | Life and style

By my late 20s I’d hit a point in my life when I was feeling lost, struggling to find work, and had to move back home with my family. I’d tell all my friends I didn’t know what to do. One of them reminded me that I’d always loved beauty: I spent my childhood listening to my family’s skincare ailments and dispensing what I thought were appropriate lotions. She suggested I do a six-month academy course to get my beauty licence, which would give me the freedom to set up my own business.

It was exactly the direction I needed. The only problem was that tuition fees were $6,000 (£4,634), which was way out of my budget. I wasn’t eligible for scholarships or funding. To help pay the fees, I got a job as a quality control technician at a construction company. I tested the emulsion that went into the asphalt used to pave roads. It was intense, and I knew I’d have to work long hours to pay the fees for the course. To do both at the same time was going to put me under a lot of pressure. But I’m very stubborn, so I was determined to make it happen, one way or another.

People can be uncomfortable about asking for help or financial support; but I knew that even working full-time, my salary wouldn’t cover all the fees. I’d seen others set up crowdfunding pages to help them meet their goals. I thought I’d do the same; I knew if I could get a little help, it would leave me more time to concentrate on learning.

I set up the page at the start of a week in early April and posted about it on Twitter. Within a few days I’d received donations of $300, which I was over the moon about. I couldn’t believe people were being so generous. Then, on the Friday night, while I was at work conducting an experiment, my phone pinged. I checked the notification and saw that a deposit had been made to my PayPal account: a very large amount of money. I had to sit down to read the words properly. There had to be some mistake. I assumed it was a scam.

What I saw next blew me away. A stranger had made a very generous donation to cover all of my remaining fees for the course: $5,605.

The name on the donation was one I instantly recognised: Chrissy Teigen, the model and TV host who is married to the singer John Legend. I read the email once, twice, and still couldn’t take it all in. I lost it. I started screaming and completely messed up the test I was conducting.

Chrissy had left a note alongside the donation: “I’ve seen this be your passion for such a long time now. So excited to see you fulfil your dream!” Immediately, I called my mum and my boyfriend. I was crying and not making much sense. I just

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