I started playing with hair at a young age. My mother had a collection of wigs that she used for when she went out on her Aveda selling spree in our hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. My mother didn’t bother doing up her hair because she said it took too much time. And she used to work in a salon, so she would style her wigs. She had four wigs. There was a black one, a blonde one, a brunette and a red one. And they each had names. She felt that giving them names let her embody the character of the wig. The black one was called Amy; the blonde one was Lindsay; the brunette was Jessica, and the red one was Sophia. It was fun to watch because she did really change when she wore the different wigs. It might have been the fact that she enjoyed acting when she was younger. She starred in several school plays, and she wanted to be an actress. But, she had me instead. I sometimes felt bad because I felt like I was the reason she had to stop pursuing her dreams. I told her this once and she told me to never think that way. She gets to live her dream through the characters she embodies on a daily basis, but one thing that doesn’t change is how much I mean to her. I really have the best Mom.
She started teaching me tricks on teasing hair, blow-drying hair and how to use a comb properly. So, she bought me a wig of my own to practice on because she didn’t want me ruining hers. But, what she didn’t know when she left the house was that I would put the wigs on and try to embody the characters she had created. I would put on her pearls and dance around the house to music from Hairspray (our favorite musical). Amy was my favorite wig because it was the big, beehive hair you saw in the 1960s. One day when she went out, I put on a dress of hers, a pair of red high-heels, the hair, the pearl necklace and earrings, and I tried my hand at makeup. I put the blonde wig on this time because I wanted to look like Marilyn Monroe. I even drew the little freckle above my lip to look more like her. I danced around to “I Wanna Be Loved By You.” My mom walked right back into the house about 20 minutes after she had left to find me dressed as Marilyn. And to my surprise she didn’t mind that I was dressed as a girl. She didn’t slap me, hit me or anything. She smiled and told me that I have never looked prettier. She dropped her purse, started the record over and started dancing and lipsyncing with me. That is my fondest memory of my mother. She never once made me feel like an outsider and always accepted me for whatever foolish act I was endeavoring in at the time. She was my rock.
My mother was my inspiration to get a job as a professional stylist. I moved away when I was 18 years old and moved in with my Aunt in Hollywood, Florida. And that’s where she helped me get a job at Allure Hair Salon. She knew the owner and that was my first step to becoming a stylist. I learned everything I know at Allure, and I moved on to starting my own hair salon back in Atlanta after four years with Allure. I moved back in with my Mom because I wanted to help her the way she helped me. About three years later, my mother would pass from breast cancer. And I decided to sell the salon and move. I didn’t want to be in Atlanta anymore. I didn’t want to be on the East Coast anymore. So, I packed up and moved to California. I worked in a high end salon in Beverly Hills, and I met my life and business partner there. We started our own hair salon on Rodeo Drive. It has been 15 years since we opened the salon and I couldn’t be happier. I only wish my mother could be here to see how happy and successful I am. I like to think she knows. But, I miss her wise words. And most of all, I miss dancing with her.