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Phenix Salon Suites to be Featured in Undercover Boss on CBS

Lauren Quick | January 6, 2015 | 1:00 PM
Left: Gina Rivera || Right: Rivera as "Ashley"

On Friday, January 9 at 8 p.m./7 p.m. CST, Phenix Salon Suites and its founder, Gina Rivera, will be featured on CBS' Undercover Boss show. 

The Emmy Award-winning reality series puts high-level corporate executives in the shoes of those working for them by disguising them to work at their own businesses. The idea is to expose what really goes on in their business on a non-corporate level and give the boss a feel for what it's like to be one of his or her employees. 

"It was an honor to meet and see the salon professionals working in Phenix Salons," Rivera says. "Like most everyone else in America, I'd seen Undercover Boss before, but getting into my disguise and meeting these members of the Phenix family was life-changing for me."

In the episode, Rivera ditches her platinum-blonde faux hawk and signature cat-eye liner for a mousy brown wig, glasses and little makeup. As "Ashley," she faces the challenges her employees face in their day-to-day, including a straight-edge shave (relatively new to her), less-than-ideal pedicure and more. Rivera is a licensed cosmetologist and grew up in her parents' salon; she still styles alongside her father two to three days per week.

"I think we always know how [our employees] are with us, but to be with them and see their lives was truly a gift to me," Rivera says. "Some of them have some serious challenges in their lives, but they were still working hard, taking care of their families, following dreams. They were an inspiration to me."

Phenix was named in Entrepreneur magazine's 2014 Top 500 Franchise List for its success in the salon suite industry—a success Phenix attributes to putting "the needs of the salon professionals first in making every business decision."

"We truly strive to put the salon professionals first in our business model," Rivera says. "I'm the president of my company, and I still style hair every week, but this got me even closer to the people who work in our salons, and that was invaluable."

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