I-TEAM: On the other side of the ugly side of beauty

“I won’t forget but I definitely forgive her.” Andrea Williams waited a year for this moment.
Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 5:42 PM EDT
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MARTINEZ, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - State investigators are looking for the owners of a local beauty school after the owners abruptly close up shop.

The owners of Bryan Sexton Esthetics Institute moved from their Martinez location after the I-TEAM exposed uncertified instructors providing subpar education to students and retaliation tactics used by the owners to keep students quiet.

The State Board of Cosmetology was aware of the problems at the school even before last summer, yet here we are nearly a year later and students and others in the beauty business are still waiting on the state to take action.

“I won’t forget but I definitely forgive her.” Andrea Williams waited a year for this moment.

A series of roadblocks kept her from opening Skin Invy Wellness and Aesthetics until this past weekend.

“I am thankful to be on the other side at this point. Truly.”

Williams spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars at Bryan Sexton Esthetics Institute to become a licensed esthetician in the state of Georgia. Only after completing the program did the owner, Liz Bryan or Liz Sexton, demand more money from Andrea before she would send approval to the state for her to take her board exam.

When Andrea said no, Sexton filed a complaint with the state against her former student.

“We were just trying to get a new skill a new career something we were passionate about, and it was just taken full advantage of.”

Andrea wasn’t the only former student stuck in licensing limbo after spending time and money at Bryan Sexton Esthetics Institute. The I-TEAM also uncovered clients scarred by the ugly side of beauty after receiving services on the spa side of the school.

“I would say possibly two weeks after the first story aired… whatever hold was on my account was released, and I was able to take my test. I took my test February 1st, and that’s when I got my license,” Andrea says relieved.

The I-TEAM tracked down the owners loading up a U-HAUL outside of the school the same day the state cleared the complaint Liz Sexton made against Andrea.

“Sometimes politics plays in a lot of things, and sometimes it’s just a process..”

The I-TEAM witnessed it is a very slow process in Georgia.

The Board of Cosmetology began investigating the owners’ last summer after the I-TEAM raised questions about the owners’ use of unlicensed instructors and holding transcript hostage.

The chairman of the board told us they sent their findings to the Attorney General and expected the case to go before Georgia’s Administrative court in early fall. But half a year later, and a long paper trail exposed by the I-TEAM, the case has still not gone to court, and the sextons are now gone from their location on Washington Road.

The I-TEAM reached out to the chairman of the Board of Cosmetology. She told us the board met behind closed doors to discuss the sextons this month discuss.

She said in an email with Liz Owens, “We still have an ongoing case. We are waiting on a court date. We will not let this slide, even if they left town…”

The I-TEAM doesn’t know where the Sextons moved but we did confirm the Division of Family and Children’s Services is also looking for them.

We also learned Liz Sexton can no longer teach in South Carolina. Her license expired this month. Sexton received her license in Georgia based on that now-expired license across the river.

The chairman of the Board of Cosmetology told us via email: “We cannot do anything until the court is done. We are as ready for justice as anyone.

Andrea is now able to move on but other former students are still stuck in licensing limbo…waiting on justice.

Sexton’s instructor license in Georgia is still showing active despite no longer holding a valid license in South Carolina.