Tabatha Coffey Spends a Day with Matrix Mannequin Mania Winner and First Chair

Wow, what a truly amazing experience I had at The Beauty Schools of America in Miami Beach, FL, visiting Matrix's Student Mannequin Mania winner Terell Gardner at his academy's member school. Not only is this facility incredibly beautiful, it's packed with energetic, enthusiastic and highly motivated students who couldn't wait for Terrell to claim his prize. Not only did he win $25,000 (OMG!!!), but he also won the chance to spend a full day with industry star Tabatha Coffey! How did he choose to spend his time? By sharing her with his school!

It was a very exciting day and I was thrilled that Matrix asked me to be a part of it. In addition to interviewing Terrell, I also got some one-on-one time with Tabatha. She has a lot of valuable information to offer students and new professionals, and here is a sampling of some of her wise words. (Yes, I stutter over "Matrix Mannequin Mania," but it is kind of a tongue twister! Ignore, k thanks!)

Tabatha Coffey Spends a Day with Matrix Mannequin Mania Winner and First Chair"Go earn as much money as you can to make yourself a nice living, and get up every morning and think to yourself, 'I really want to go to work, I really love what I do,' because that's a great thing to have," Tabatha said to the students. "Look you can go a million different ways-you can be a stylist behind the chair, that's amazing. You can be a platform artist, you can be an editorial stylist, you can have a TV show, you can work for a product company and travel the world and educate other hairdressers and motivate other hairdressers. You can be an educator in a beauty school and shape the future of young professionals-there are so many different things you can do that are avail to you, and none of them are wrong. It's just amazing to me that we have an industry that offers so much and sometimes people don't realize it."

Tabatha continued by saying: "When I talk to young students and people coming out, there's this thing that hairdressers do and they say 'I'm just a hairdresser' and they always say 'just.' I've never in my life met any other profession where they say 'just.' I've never heard a doctor say 'I'm just a doctor, I'm just a lawyer, I'm just an accountant.' But hairdressers feel the need to say 'I'm just a hairdresser.' You need to stop the 'just' now while you're young. I don't mean young in youth, I'm not being disrespectful, I mean young in your career. Get rid of the 'just' and say 'I'm a hairdresser' because it's a very noble profession, and we change peoples' lives. We truly can help people feel better about themselves-there are very few industries out there that have the power to touch the volume of people that we touch, in the way that we touch them, that is in a positive way, and make them feel god about themselves... very, very few."

After Tabatha spoke to the students and gave some insight into her own success story, Tabatha gave out personalized autographed images of herself to all the students (talk about writer's cramp!) and took a picture with each one of them! The students were so excited! Here's me, Tabatha and Terrell in our image.

Then, Matrix hosted a mini Mannequin Mania competition among four teams, with Terrell and Tabatha as judges. Everyone in the crowd went wild watching, rooting for their academy's representatives!

It was such an exciting day to be a part of and Tabatha did such a fabulous job motivating the students (and me!) to continue to work hard, push boundaries and explore this industry for all it has to offer! A HUGE congrats to Terrell, and thanks for sharing your special day with us!

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