Choose Beauty: Shining Star

Favorite Movie: Pretty Woman
Guilty Pleasure: Shopping!
On Getting Wild: “I love getting together with my sisters.”
Style She Wishes She’d Created: The Classic Bob
Fav Adventure: Exploring international cuisine

A can-do attitude and relentless drive make NAHA winner Shirley Gordon a force to be reckoned with.

Shirley Gordon is persistent to the point of indefatigability. Her day starts early with an hour of cardio, followed by an hour of weight training. She owns the Intercoiffure salon Strands Hair Studio in Wheaton, Maryland, where she often works five days a week, from 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. And somehow between it all, she put together photo shoots that made her a 10-time NAHA (North American Hairdressing Awards) nominee, a finalist for six consecutive years and a Texture category winner in 2008.

It’s hardly a surprise then that her latest achievement—Gold winner, Color USA, for the 2011 Wella North American Trend Vision Awards— involved her interpretation of the “Polaris” trend, which celebrates “the power of women and of assertive, audacious femininity.”

“I picked Polaris to interpret because it describes me,” says Gordon. “It’s edgy and dramatic, a force to be reckoned with…like a woman with strong views and a strong work ethic who always pushes herself.”

Polaris, AKA the Northern Star, is also the brightest in its constellation. That, too, could describe Gordon.

Persistence of Vision

Gordon says she got her drive from her hard-working father, a builder who passed on the creative energy of “working with your hands.” She discovered how hers worked best by helping her mother do the hair of her 12 siblings. Her favorite part: creating fingerwaves for her older sisters, which naturally lead to beauty school. From that point on, there was no stopping her.

“I learned to never be late and to avoid salon-hopping,” says Gordon. “Stay in one place and build a clientele! When you’re ready for your own business, start small and grow. Set a goal, meet it, then set another goal. Work hard, never give up, think outside the box and never stop learning. People change and you need deep experience to satisfy every client who comes in the door.”

Choose Beauty: Shining StarRun the World (Girls!)

To keep her own diverse skills on-theedge, Gordon takes several classes a year, reads stockpiles of fashion magazines and is a dedicated follower of educators like Vivienne MacKinder. Just one way her assiduous self-improvement plan paid off: she acted as a top consultant for the development of Clairol’s Texture and Tones hair care line. And, she’s never stopped loving what she does.

Constant as that Polaris Northern Star, Gordon says if she were reincarnated, it would be as Beyonce: “I love her drive.” A fashion maven in her own right, Gordon loves to work (it’s on her fun list!) and travel. Her goals are to do more hair for film and possibly develop a product line. Not much of a stretch for a woman who says hard work is just in her genes.