Friday, October 12, 2012

It's Not Really About The Hair

This is the TRUE story of someone with a balls-to-the-wall, don't give a shit outlook. With an in-your-face honesty and the one who that brought you Tabatha's Salon Takeover, here is the story of the one & only Tabatha Coffey.

As someone who has redefined the word/term B.I.T.C.H., someone who Brave, Intelligent, Tenacious, Creative & Honest and has both book smarts and street smarts. Tabatha's parents were strip club owners. She grew up living LaCage aux Folles A.K.A. The Birdcage - so to speak. Growing up in her parents' clubs showed Tabatha the sacrifices one must sometimes make to live an honest an authentic life. Some of the performers that worked for Tabatha's parents were TG (Transgender). These "girls" were just trying to be themselves. With what they were already going through, Tabatha's mum was always there for her and the performers for any kind of support. She was a mother figure to these "girls".

With this life in the background, Tabatha attended a posh private school. Even at a young age, Tabatha knew to distinguish what was real and ersatz. She knew that compared to her classmates, her life was far more genuine. She was also at a young age aware and appreciative of how hard her family had to work to give her the life that she had.

Tabatha was transfixed by the world she lived in. Listening to these women, Tabatha would sit and sew and was captivated by their chatter. Being around these women and their Honesty - From dressing to language to their makeup, it's AUTHENTICITY was what she loved about it. Tabatha's first job doing hair was backstage at these clubs. The drag queens taught her how to make someone look on the outside the way they feel on the inside. Tabatha says it best: Authenticity is the most attractive quality a person can have.

Tabatha states that she was always the fat & obese kid in school. While the kids in school got something from a truck at lunch, Tabatha would receive a homemade meal from her mum. Even w/ her weight and having asthma, she didn't feel stigmatized and didn't care to befriend any kids. Out if the many Tabatha learned from growing up w/ drag queens was that you have to march to the beat of your own drum and fuck anyone who doesn't like the rhythm. One reason why Tabatha didn't love being around her own age group of kids was because she really wasn't one. Even as the baby of the family, she was living in a grown-up world. (Something I can personally understand and sympathize with). Just a few years later, Tabatha spotted a French Vogue and she was enamored & reveled in it. When she was a teenager, instead of trying to fit in w/ everyone, she thought FUCK fitting in.

After a brief hair course in London at 18 yrs old, Tabatha was in love with London when she got back to Australia. She moved to London and had an adventure. Tabatha loved the challenge it brought trying to succeed in another country. Tabatha received training working for Vidal Sassoon. In London, Tabatha was losing any self-consciousness that she had due to expressing herself so freely. When Tabatha was hairdressing, she felt like a rock star. That was what she loved about London. If someone was sharp w/ her, she had no problem giving it right back. It wasn't until she moved to America that Tabatha was serious about exercise and losing weight. She wanted to belong and make friends. Tabatha was liking herself more with the weight she lost. It wasn't so much w/ her looks, but living honestly as who she was.

Tabatha had big balls.  Big balls is about standing up for what you believe in until yo are faced with several directions. That is what Tabatha describes as forming your own moral compass. When the family was in trouble, Tabatha's dad would want to run. Her strong will and confidence is something she gets from her mom. Whatever works to get the job done - even including swearing like a truck driver - if it works. Look at it this way, Tabatha's own moral code is: B.I.T.C.H.

Even though Tabatha does confide that her dad was a drunk, not an abusive one, but someone who would throw furniture or put a fist through a wall. If he was in a drunken rage, her mom would fire right back. When Tabatha's dad would be sober and try to make-up the next morning, Tabatha knew early on not to trust him and fall for it.

After Tabatha's parents closed the strip clubs they opened a sex shop. Prior to that it had gotten to where Tabatha's dad had said to have killed himself. But he didn't. He had really taken all the family money, skipped town and left. After about 18 months after the family moved to Melbourne, Tabatha began to work as an apprentice for a hairdresser, found a girlfriend and began to let go of resentment toward her dad. What's worse was that Tabatha's dad stated that she/Tabatha didn't exist in divorce papers to her mum. While at a mall one day, Tabatha spotted her dad, who tried to ignore her, but Tabatha wouldn't let him do that. She found that she didn't need a dad in order to be whole and she never saw him again.

I can WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree w/ Tabatha personally when it's said that as members of the LGBT community marching to the beat of your own drummer. No pride parades needed. It's about defining yourself in your own way. Even though Tabatha dropped out of school at 16, which bored her anyway, when she made a deal w/ her mum to finish school and began apprenticeship. When Tabatha lived on her own, she spent quality time w/ her first girlfriend, Sandy.

Tabatha never felt the need to have that grandiose coming out entrance  Since she was taught as a kid to accept others, to her it was normal, so screw everyone else. Because of the environment in which she was raised, Tabatha thought her mum would have no reason to object to Tabatha's relationship w/ Sandy - WRONG! Let's just say there were derogatory remarks and pissy comments that said her mum was disgusted! It was shocking & disappointing. Because Tabatha wanted her mum's approval, she dumped her girlfriend and followed the hetero rules just 2 yrs after coming out.

But Tabatha had soon had enough. She put it best: You have to find yourself if you are going to live your own life. There was a period where Tabatha didn't date anyone but herself. She had to build her own identity. Figuring out who she was and how to be herself. When Tabatha was w/ men, she was someone else. When she was w/ women, she was herself. Own who you are and know that that's okay. From the time she was a little girl. Tabatha went with her mum when her mum went to get her hair done.  Tabatha loved the salon, the atmosphere and watching hairdressers work their magic on people. So at the age of 14, her mind was set. Tabatha would be a hairdresser. Tabatha's mum offered her daughter up as a free assistant doing labor & grunt work for the experience. Tabatha loved it. It taught her ALOT including humility and respect. (Something that is lacking and sorely missed in today's youth.) Tabatha didn't see any of it as slave labor, just working toward her goal.

Tabatha was also taught that when you have a love and passion for what you do, people will teach you things and give you opportunities without having to ask. Tabatha LOVED her profession and learning what she could. She knew she had picked the right profession for her and never looked back. When Tabatha worked at a salon in Surfer's Paradise, she got along fairly with the boss, Stephen, but his wife was a bitch, who ran the business.  She was fair and treated the salon employees like family. If you messed up at work, you were fired. She taught Tabatha ALOT about how to be a tough but fair boss. Tabatha then took those lessons into her career.

Tabatha's idol whom she learned from was Vidal Sassoon, the hair maven himself. In 1988, Tony & Guy were shaking things up in the hairdressing world. Tabatha wanted to be apart of that energetic motion, so she quit and left working for Vidal Sassoon. Tony & Guy's way of hair was more edgy and messy that Tabatha needed to to master. The experience at Tony & Guy helped unleash Tabatha's creativity. Her stint w/ Tony & Guy was a key part in the evolution and development as a hairdresser. Tabatha's first opportunity to meet her idol came after finishing the first season of Bravo's Shear Genius. During the show backstage, when Tabatha came in contact w/ her idol, she began to cry. That experience meant ALOT to her. Tabatha states and I personally agree 100% w/ her that just because something may seem small and petty, you should give it your all because it could lead to something huge. Everything she'd done led her to where she is now.

After her places of employment, Tabatha was working at another salon in London when at the time was very laid back and totally unorganized. It was okay to be late to work, being late from lunch to shop and just just relaxing on the job. It became a problem for Tabatha when she would let her standards slip. Because of her salon owner at the time didn't want to be the bad guy who told people what to do, when this man was gone on his annual trip, Tabatha was fed up and couldn't take it. Tabatha had always been the one at the salon early before everyone else and getting the place ready. After taking on extra responsibilities and talking to the owner of this salon, Tabatha was asked to manage the salon for him. It was the beginning of her boot-camp.

Whenever there was arguing and confrontation, Tabatha set them straight. The boss' wife called Tabatha thanking her for the difference that she made. With the boss' support, Tabatha ran the salon more efficiently. After 7 months, Tabatha's efforts were paying off.

In 1992, Tabatha had enough of England and moved to the United States. When clients seen the intensity that Tabatha put into a haircut, they asked for her. Tabatha built up her clientele that way. The way Tabatha seen it, the "more popular American girls" were Barbie dolls - Literally. So Tabatha at one point, tried to fit but no one but herself, she let others' opinions push her into the opposite direction. Through her eyes, she thought America was about the picture that's painted on the outside. Tabatha learned QUICKLY that the whole fitting in thing wasn't for her and it wasn't that simple.

After a BOTCHED surgery of breast augmentation, Tabatha suffered MONSTROUS pain four days later. She kept having NOTHING BUT TROUBLE. After she sued the surgeon and winning the case, Tabatha felt she did the right thing because as a society, if we don't stand up for ourselves, then who will?

Tabatha made a good point when you thoroughly look at when she says that when people are going through shit, they tell their hairdressers secrets they won't tell anyone else, like confessing to a priest. Some times as just an outside person to talk to and reveal to! Sometimes a client comes in wanting an old look they used to have just to feel the way they did during that period. That's why at times it not really about the hair.

After a BOTCHED breast augmentation surgery, that is why it is why  it's so important to feel good about yourself inside/out. One thing Tabatha stresses is that through ANY situation, the BEST thing you can do is to go with your gut. By this time, Tabatha was ready to open her own business. She opened her salon, Industrie Hair Gurus in 2002. It was funny when Tabatha found others who watched the show and are intrigued and ask questions. In 2007, Tabatha was reached for a casting of Bravo's show called 'Shear Genius'. Without telling anyone, once again Tabatha followed her gut and went to the open casting call. Her honesty won them over. Even though Tabatha didn't win 'Shear Genius', she won something more valuable. Due to her competing on the show and due to being voted Fan Favorite, Tabatha won a $10,000 prize and got a call from Bravo for a meeting.

It also led to her own show, Tabatha's Salon Takeover. When Tabatha did 'Shear Genius', one thing you DID SEE was the REAL her. No fluff. No Puff. No Editing. Because of who she was and who she was paired with on the show, Tyson, and the shitty job he did, they were both sent home from the competition.  At least Tabatha was honest! Through hardships in business and life, one thing is TRUE, you must GO W/ YOUR GUT and LEARN THAT YOU'LL SURVIVE.

Tabatha admits that she was surprised when Bravo execs offered her her own show! Tabatha came up w/ the B.I.T.C.H. acronym after viewers assorted her brutal honesty in what they seen  from 'Shear Genius'.

One thing I did learn from this book is that IT'S OKAY TO BE WHO YOU ARE AND TO ALWAYS GO W/ YOUR GUT!   So Here It Is. . . .

In The End Of This Book, one thing I did learn from Tabatha Coffey is to be TRUE!! It got me to answer one seething question: Who am I/Jeremy Carroll? I am a young person with a medical problem who happens to be gay! It's who I am.


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