MODERN met “Journeyman Hairstylist” Alicia Hergott when she tagged us as a traveling hairdresser on instagram (#travelinghairdresser). The photo is so special we had to get the backstory.
Hergott, of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, began her career 4 years ago, and has been working in unique locations this past year. “I guess what makes me different from the rest of hairstylists is that I have dwarfism and am only 4' tall,” she tells MODERN. “My father built a platform for me that fits around my cutting chair that allows me to stand tall enough. A lot of clients and others are very intrigued in how I go about being a hairstylist and I feel I have overcome a lot of the typical stereotypes for people with dwarfism.”
Hergott believes that her passion prevents her from seeing obstacles. “It wasn't the easiest going through beauty school as I sensed that fellow students didn't believe I would become successful in this industry.” But Hergott earned her license in 2010 and after working as an all around hairdresser at Untangled Hair Group in Saskatoon, left to cut for “my family and friends wherever needed, as long as they agree to sit on a stool or even the floor!”
Of course there are challenges for Hergott. “Along the way I realized that the blowdryer and shears were becoming an issue,” she says. “The handle and weight of the blowdryer were too wide for my small hands to fit around. Most were too heavy for me to maneuver.” Hergott experimented and ended up with the Sam Villa blowdryer, “which does the trick.” Concerning shears, Hergott adds “I need the smallest length or else I am cutting my knuckles!”
As far as every other part of the salon world in concerned, Hergott makes great use of common objects. “I keep a stool beside the sink and I make myself adapt to everything in the salon myself. While growing up I knew that if I wanted to get somewhere in this world I had to adapt to it because it wasn't going to adapt to me. If I had a big enough dream for something then I should do it.”
When asked if there is a special clientele that is drawn to her, Hergott says “When I first started it took a lot of guts to prove people wrong. I knew in the back of their minds they were second guessing me. But then I had the clients that would get tears of joy because they were so happy with my work. Of course there were clients that took one look at me and refused to have their hair cut by me. It hit me differently each time. Sometimes I got over it but sometimes my self-esteem went down.”
Ultimately the challenge has made Hergott stronger. “Little children think I am the coolest girl they know. Not only am I their height and can see them eye to eye, but I also have a cool platform stand for cutting their hair. As for men and women, most of them never have an issue with my size. They are just more interested in knowing more about me and my dwarfism.” The greatest client challenge has been senior clients. “They seem to just not understand and most of them think I am about 10 years old,” she says. In the salon Hergott got the occasional: "What made you choose hairstyling when you’re not tall enough?” and “You should be at a desk job which would be more convenient." Hergott is always armed with a reply: "It has always been a dream of mine to help people find the beauty in themselves.”
Known as the "little person with the sweet platform who cuts hair", Hergott is celebrated to those who know her as "little snips". Her instagram feed (@lil_snips) says “Small enough to fit in your pocket. Sweet enough to rot your teeth.” We are fans.