AE: From one bitch to another, do you think that playing the “bitch” role has played into your success?
TC: I don’t play a bitch; I just am who I am. I think in the world, if I were a guy, they’d say: “Oh he’s such a go-getter. He’s such a strong man and he’s motivated and he’s climbing the ladder.” [But] when you’re a woman, they just default to “bitch.”
I think I really am what I am, and I found that everyone wanted to call me a bitch, so I turned it around and instead of making it a bad thing, (because it sounds like such a negative word) I made my own acronym for bitch which is: Brave. Independent Tenacious. Creative. And Honest. I believe we all have a bit of bitch in us.
AE: That’s fantastic. I love that. What was the most difficult situation you’ve encountered since starting Takeover?
TC: I can’t really pick one because they’re all really difficult for me. I take it all on board and take it all really seriously. Every time I walk into these people’s places, I truly look at it as if it were my own, and I go into survival mode.
I find that sometimes, I go home at night and will sit up all night, trying to piece the puzzle together and solve everything.
There are definitely some people that are more challenging than others – it’s usually the close-minded people. But they’re all challenging in that I really want them to succeed and I want them all to get better.
AE: A lot of the times, these people are in dire financial situations. Do you ever feel too much pressure in trying to help them?
TC: Yeah, it’s definitely where part of the pressure comes from because I really do want to help them. And then I have someone who is telling me their marriage is failing, and they’re losing money, and they’re about to lose everything.
This season, I have someone who has been doing this for 30 years and her parents both got really sick at the same time. It made her step away from her business to take care of them, but then it all went to hell in a hand basket. She hasn’t been able to recover.
That’s why I take it so seriously. I truly feel for them and want to give them advice and tools to help turn it all around.
AE: That’s a lot more responsibility than I would ever want. On a lighter note, have you had to threaten to punch anyone in the face this season, like you’ve had to before?
TC: Yeah, I lose my temper. Look, I care about what I do, I’m passionate about it. When I feel like I’m taking it more seriously than anyone else is, and I’m sitting up at night worrying if I’m able to help you, and worrying if I’ve gotten through to you, and people are mocking me or not taking it seriously – it makes me lose my temper.
AE: That happens to me on a daily basis. No one even has to mock me for that to happen. What’s your biggest pet peeve when it comes to a salon? I can tell you as someone walking in, for me; it’s seeing hair on the floor. But I just don’t like hair in general.
TC: It always pissed me off when people don’t clean. The fact that people think it’s okay to have their salon filthy is mind-blowing to me. I think the biggest peeve for me is laziness and complacency, because that’s all encompassing. If you’re lazy, you won’t care that the place is filthy, or how you take care of yourself, or how you treat a client.
AE: Have you ever arrived at a salon that was prepped for a makeover and thought, “Eh, you know, this really isn’t too bad”?
TC: You know, this season there were a couple of salons where the makeover wasn’t the issue. There’s one salon I go to in California that was totally refurbished maybe four or five months before I got there. The owners were so delusional; they spent something like $3,000 on shampoo chairs. Like, each chair was $3,000, because they thought that was important.
They put a lot of money into the aesthetic of the salon but it wasn’t about the makeover. Their issues were about how they ran their business and how they treated their staff.
AE: What else is going on with you these days?
TC: I’ve got a book coming out January 25th and it’s called It’s Not Really About The Hair, and it’s the honest truth about life, love and the business of beauty. It’s a memoir with life lessons. I find that I get a ton of emails from people and tweets and things asking me how I stand up for myself and how do I do these things.
A lot of young gay people write to me, asking how I came out. So this book is about my life experiences, for what they’re worth, and how those experiences shaped who I am. The lessons I’ve learned along the way taught me it’s OK to stand up for yourself and be who you are – whoever that person is.
Tabatha Coffey will appear in My Big Gay Italian Wedding! Dec. 2 – 4 at St. Luke’s Theatre, 308 West 46th Street.(ticket info here), and Season 3 of Tabatha’s Salon Takeover premieres Monday, Dec. 6 at 10/9 c on Bravo. Check out the preview of the first episode of the new season: