Consumer Advocate

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"Being around the CCD campus, it reminded me of who I was deep down."

Tia Terlaje
Beauty Blogger
Nutrition & Journalism, 2012

The path between two points in life is rarely a straight line. For Tia Terlaje she was well down the path to becoming a dietician when, as a junior at Metropolitan State University of Denver, she realized it wasn’t exactly where her passion and her purpose existed. But exposure to food policies and FDA law sparked something deep inside where her path became clear. With the desire to educate consumers on what she was learning about the harmful ingredients found in cosmetics and personal care products, she retrenched in learning how to tell these stories. And thus begins the story of Tia Terlaje, Beauty Blogger.

The single parent of a toddler and an infant, Terlaje was just 23 when she enrolled at CCD. Despite all the demands on her time as a working single parent, she was energized by the CCD community, “Everyone at CCD seemed to be on a mission. I could see that they were driven and focused, and it was so inspiring, so I kept telling myself that if they could do it, I could do it.”  

“I was a very young single mom I was trying to figure out life and who I was. I was barely old enough to purchase a bottle of wine. Being around the CCD campus, it reminded me of who I was deep down. I loved that when I was there, I was my true authentic self. I would sit in the commons and watch everyone walk by, all different age groups and ethnicities. I recognized everyone had a unique story and that put my ‘hard’ story in perspective. It wasn’t about how easy or hard my story was in comparison, it was about this greater understanding of diversity that was unfolding in front of me. This is something that really impacted me at the time, and something I carry forward in my life today.”

Guided by the steady consistency of Kristi Strother, professor of journalism, Terlaje pressed forward every day to achieve her vision. “Like most people, I learn more when I’m having fun. Kristi had a great sense of humor. I looked forward to her classes and being educated in an entertaining way. The way she taught was so different and created a great mental break from life.  So many of us looked up to her for her professionalism, her caring nature and her ability to do what she was teaching us - to tell stories in way that our readers would connect with,” said Terlaje.

Even at that young age, Terlaje realized that she was in control of her path. She desired a healthy financial future for her family and wanted professional success. “I had very limited options but took advantage of every opportunity. Most people don’t realize what they can do, how institutions like CCD are there to help them change their future and their legacy if they so choose to chase a better tomorrow.”