Upper West Spa
Joanna Kaminska is the driving force behind Upper West Spa. She worked on the Upper West Side as a lead aesthetician helping to manage other spas for over 30 years.
Joanna was originally trained in Poland, where she attended the Warsaw School of Aesthetics. In 1990 she graduated with high honors from their rigorous program, taught by doctors and cosmetic chemists. In 1996, she passed an international exam and obtained the Comite International d’Esthetique et de Cosmetologie (CIDESCO) Diploma: the most prestigious qualiﬁcation in the aesthetics field.
A lifelong student, Joanna is constantly learning the latest research in the aesthetic industry. Over a decade ago she came across the research of Dr. Sheldon Pinnell, a renowned dermatologist at Duke University. Through his work, Dr. Pinnell documented the importance of topical Vitamin C for skin cancer prevention and general skincare: a discovery that led to the formulation of SkinCeuticals.
Joanna fell in love with this science-backed skincare line and introduced it to a few spas where she worked before. It was only natural that her Spa was asked to become an Advanced Skin Clinic soon after opening and in 2020 Upper West Spa was named Top Flagship for SkinCeuticals. In 2022 Joanna was admitted to the most advanced level of the SkinCeuticals Master Aesthetician program. Today, she is one of only a handful of SkinCeuticals Master Aestheticians, who are selected from hundreds of highly accomplished candidates throughout the U.S.
Joanna is driven by a deep love for skincare and enduring commitment to her clients and coworkers – and she’s also generous with her expertise. She regularly attends seminars and conferences on skincare technologies and passes her knowledge to her team, ensuring that spa guests receive the highest quality care.
Joanna holds several certiﬁcations in advanced skincare treatments and has completed master training in the following techniques:
Outside the spa, Joanna is an avid reader and enjoys sailing, horseback riding, traveling, and hiking.
*Joanna accepts new clients for laser hair removal and advanced skin treatments ONLY*.
Karolina joined our team before Upper West Spa was born, and she stood with us when we ﬁrst opened our doors in 2018. Throughout her college years at John Jay College, Karolina worked alongside us and developed a deep knowledge of the skincare industry.
Today, Karolina serves as both our general manager and social media manager. With her remarkable work ethic and undergraduate degrees in Criminal Justice and Homeland Security, Karolina is an invaluable asset to our team. She is creative, thoughtful, and consistently brings new ideas to the table. Karolina is also developing her expertise in the SkinCeuticals line and is preparing to complete her SkinCeuticals Training at the Ambassador level.
Karolina ensures that Upper West Spa runs effectively and promotes our services and products on social media. She approaches every task, client, and coworker with care and kindness, and is a primary force behind the warm, welcoming environment of Upper West Spa.
When she’s not managing the spa or our social media, Karolina loves long walks with her dog and snuggling up with a good book!
Dr. Tae Ho Kim is an accomplished, board-certiﬁed plastic surgeon with more than 16 years of experience. Using both surgical and non-surgical treatments, Dr. Kim works with each patient to create a personalized “game plan” for their skincare goals.
In addition to his impeccable skill, Dr. Kim is known for his caring bedside manner. He delivers personalized service with compassion, ingenuity, and a combination of surgical and non-surgical techniques, depending on the client’s needs and goals.
Plastic surgery requires skill, experience, and an artistic eye – and Dr. Kim checks all the boxes. Guided by his principle of the “Natural Look,” Dr. Kim provides honest, thoughtful recommendations that align with your cosmetic goals. Common treatments include Botox, fillers, and other non-surgical procedures that restore youth and harmony to your face and body.
In the not-so-simple world of cosmetic and plastic surgery, Dr. Kim is a creative and empathetic resource for patients with a range of cosmetic concerns.
In 1987, Marta Marek graduated from Christine Valmy International School of Aesthetics and Cosmetology. After graduation, she began her career at Feline Day Spa, and she’s worked on the Upper West Side ever since. During her tenure at Feline Day Spa, Marta developed close bonds with the current team members of Upper West Spa.
Marta has always been our in house healer, who had the ability to transport everybody to the “seventh heaven”. Her calm personality, incredible massage technique and a caring touch can melt away every issue life throws at you.
During many years of serving Upper West Side community and taking numerous seminars she also became an expert in advanced skin care treatments including all exfoliating techniques, JetPeel, Hydrafacial, microdermabrasion, dermaplaning, microneedling and more.
When she’s not working her magic in the spa, Marta enjoys traveling, learning languages, and tango dancing.
*Marta DOES NOT accept new clients for Basic Facials and Waxing*
Caroline graduated from Jagiellonian University in Krakow, one of the most prestigious universities in Poland. She holds a master’s degree in Skin Science with a concentration in Cosmetic Formulation.
Caroline’s diverse skillset includes European-style facials, microneedling, chemical peels, JetPeel, Hydrafacial,microdermabrasion, and more. Recently, she completed a master certiﬁcation course for Soft Ombre Microblading with one of the top instructors in Europe.
Caroline brings a deep knowledge and understanding of cosmetic formulations, paired with a caring, calming demeanor that relaxes the mind – and refreshes the skin – of every client.
Her interest in formulas does not end with skincare: Caroline also enjoys the chemistry and creativity of artisan baking. When not cooking or caring for clients in the spa, Caroline loves spending time with her Frenchie, Pluto.
Lucyna Bajan has worked as an aesthetician on the Upper West Side for over 30 years. She began medical school in Poland before moving to the United States, where she attended the Christine Valmy School of Esthetics and Cosmetology. After graduating, Lucyna started her career as a skin therapist at Gemayel Salon & Spa, where she ﬁrst met Joanna in early 90s. The two have worked together ever since. When Lucyna and Joanna moved to Feline Day Spa, a large and loyal client group followed.
Today, Lucyna frequently attends new seminars and training sessions, motivated by a remarkable passion for skincare and wellness. She was the reason behind introducing JetPeel to Upper West Spa, a technology she was introduced to while working at Four Seasons Spa. Lucyna became an expert in JetPeel, which she used to prepare celebrity clients for red carpet events.
In addition to JetPeel and European-style facials, Lucyna performs other advanced treatments such as laser hair removal, microneedling and chemical peels. Outside the spa, Lucyna loves to spend time with her family and volunteer at a local animal shelter, where she rescued her two beautiful dogs.
Helena earned her esthetician license from Christine Valmy School of Esthetics and Cosmetology and has been practicing in this field since 1990. She began her career in SoHo at the Ayurvedic Skincare Spa, and relocated to the Upper West Side after expanding her skillset to include a variety of modern techniques.
Helena is an expert at combining the gentle approach of traditional Ayurveda with the beauty industry’s newest and most cutting-edge techniques. Her loving touch and background in holistic healing add something special to her treatments and always leave her clients feeling deeply nourished.
Helena specializes in customized facials, microdermabrasion, peels and waxing. Thanks to her experience as a modern and holistic esthetician, she has superb intuition for selecting individualized skin care regimens for her clients.
She is always motivated toward professional growth and enjoys expanding upon her extensive training by keeping up to date with the latest techniques in beauty so that she can continue to exceed her clients’ expectations.
She believes that staying healthy is the surest way to success and happiness, and always encourages her clients to supplement their beauty routines with excellent self-care!
Magdalena graduated with a master’s degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Josef Pilsudski in Warsaw, Poland, where she received specialized training in both physical and massage therapy. Over the past 11 years, she has continued to hone her skills as a massage therapist.
Magdalena is known for her ability to relieve stress, muscle tension, and promote long-term improvements in musculoskeletal health. She specializes in Swedish, deep tissue, and hot stone massages, and uses both massage and other relaxation techniques to help clients recover from stress and muscular discomfort. During her massages, Magdalena loves to incorporate CBD creams, which ease muscle soreness and induce instant relaxation.
For Magdalena, massage is more than just physical touch: it’s a vehicle for healing the body and the soul. She believes that regular massages – and a thoughtful massage therapist – can prevent injury, chronic pain, and ultimately help people lead healthier lives.
Outside of the spa, Magdalena loves to ski during the winter; in the warmer months, you’ll ﬁnd her on a bike.
Megan graduated from Cortiva Institute of Massage in Seattle, WA in 2009 and has been in practice as a massage therapist ever since. She has honed her skills and sense of touch over the years, working in many settings such as medical offices, pre-natal massage clinics, spas, yoga studios and wellness centers. Her sessions are catered to each individual’s needs.
Megan adopts a holistic, client-oriented approach to massage. Her goal is to help people heal, relax, and become more in tune with their bodies, and she caters her massages sessions to each client’s needs.
Megan specializes in deep tissue massage, chronic pain relief, CBD massages, and Swedish massage. She is also certified in prenatal/postpartum massage through Carole Osborne, one of the leading pregnancy massage educators in the country.
Outside of the spa, Megan enjoys spending time with her family, which includes her two beautiful boys.
Maria graduated from The Massage Therapy School at the New York College of Health Professionals, where she developed skills to treat a wide variety of muscular issues.
Maria grew up in Siberia, where her mother taught her how to make her own skincare and body products. She credits her mother for instilling an early interest in beauty and wellbeing, which ultimately led her to pursue a career in massage therapy. Today, Maria specializes in deep tissue, Swedish, and sport massages, and is also a licensed aesthetician. She loves to incorporate CBD creams into her massages due to it’s anti- inflammatory and calming properties
After interviewing countless candidates, Maria’s outstanding technique impressed the entire team at Upper West Spa. She even wowed both Magdalena and Joanna, who are quite difﬁcult to impress.
Iwona is an alumni of the Swedish Institute, the oldest and most recognized massage institution in the country established in 1916. She has been a licensed massage therapist since early 1990’s and has built a strong client base on Upper West Side.
Her technique reaches far beyond typical Swedish massage. She also specializes in deep tissue, prenatal massage, reflexology and often incorporates myofascial release and stretch into her treatments. Her skills and deep knowledge of musculoskeletal system proved to be essential in her daughter’s incredible progress.
Gaby, her younger daughter was born with severe disability and the family was told she will never walk. Iwona never gave up and after many years of daily massage, stretching and physical therapy Gaby started walking. Our entire team has been able to witness Gaby’s amazing journey over the years and we know that without Iwona’s sacrifice and expertise the outcome would have been totally different.
Iwona is deeply involved in many programs and charities helping children with disabilities.
Mariana is a licensed nail technician and our in-house gel expert. She’s well-versed in manicures and pedicures, but her expertise doesn’t end there: Mariana graduated with a degree in graphic design from her native Venezuela and later completed the Kokoist Japanese Soft Gel Course. She holds an additional certiﬁcation in Therapeutic Dry Manicures and Pedicures, also known as Russian Mani & Pedi.
Mariana introduced the Kokoist and Bevlah product lines to our spa, and she loves using their clean, non-toxic products. When you combine these products with Mariana’s creativity and attention to detail, nail magic ensues!
Mariana specializes in nail art and loves connecting with her clients. With ease and skill, she transforms a standard nail session into a relaxing, stress-free, and artful experience.
During her free time, Mariana loves cooking and taking long walks on the beach.
Marcia is a licensed nail technician with years of experience. She worked with Dazzle Dry for a few years before joining our team and introduced the product line to our spa. Dazzle Dry’s award-winning formula is quick-drying, non-toxic, and hypoallergenic.
Many of our clients fell in love with Dazzle Dry, and all of our clients fell in love with Marcia! She’s known for her sweet, calm demeanor and eye for detail. When you leave a session with Marcia, you’ll feel calm and content – all while flaunting chip-free, beautiful nails. She is also a big enthusiast of our Vital Body Therapeutics CBD line and likes to incorporate CBD scrubs, soak and oils into her Pedicures as she noticed it’s calming and hydrating action.
Marcia is a mother to three children. When she’s not doing nails, she loves spending time and bonding with her family.
Libia is a licensed nail technician with over 20 years of experience. She is best known for her strong-yet-gentle touch, and her hand massages, foot massages, and back rubs are unbeatable. To experience her gift, we recommend her Spa Manicure and Pedicure – especially with the CBD Infusion. With her exceptional technique, she’ll relieve pain, tension, and even put you to sleep.
Libia focuses on every aspect of nail care to ensure a holistic healing experience, and strives to create a calm, relaxing environment for each of her clients.
Fun Fact: Libia is Dolores’ sister.
Dolores is a licensed nail technician, junior aesthetician, and perhaps the sweetest person you’ll ever meet.
She is loved by both clients and co-workers, and for good reason. Dolores is kind, detail-oriented, and driven to perfection, and she provides impeccable, long-lasting manicures and pedicures.
While Dolores has worked as a nail technician for many years, she decided to pursue further education a couple years ago. We are very proud of Dolores’ drive to return to school: between work and motherhood, it was not easy for Dolores to find time to complete aesthetic training.
While working full-time – and as a mother of five!
Domenica joined our team in 2021. She graduated from John Jay College with a pre-law degree and is preparing for law school.
Domenica has all the makings of a future lawyer. She is hardworking, logical, and detail-oriented, and ensures that the front desk runs smoothly and efﬁciently. Above all, she guarantees that our clients leave the salon feeling content, pampered, and revitalized.
In her free time, Domenica helps with her three adorable siblings. She also frequents the gym and loves reading books.