January 20th 2011. Every January 20th I will wear this pin in memory of Irene Goreham.
As many of you know, I was an educator and platform artist for Matrix Essentials and Loreal International for 10 years, I educated and was passionate enough to make the stage after 3 short years as a Master Colorist and Cutter, and one of the only educators that was cross trained between Matrix and Logics. This was a time in my life when I was very passionate about my education and knowledge as well as creating hair. (Not that I am not now, the traveling just got to be unrealistic with a family at home.)
The first day I met Irene, her daughter Deb had sent her in to me. She was excited to meet me because she had been a platform artist for Helene' Curtis. HELENE' CURTIS!!! I was in awe. She was the first female to hit the stage and demonstrate razor cutting a long time ago. I was so in awe in fact I mixed her perm wrong and the processing solution and neutralizer over flowed all over my counter. She laughed and I couldn't believe it. Here we were talking about doing hair shows and I was mixing perm solution wrong. She was a woman in a man's world. For those of you who understand this, Irene was an Icon to me. She stood on stage as a woman demonstrating cutting while the barbers where demonstrating clipper techniques. I have always been very passionate about my job and kept up with my education because it is so important. I have always been the kind of person to research something if I don't know, because I need details and I have to know why. Over the years I have become very close the Irene's family. I was let into their wonderful lives, watched their children/grandchildren grow up and have babies of their own, and during those 10 years I saw Irene age as well. One day she came in and presented me with the pin I am wearing. I couldn't accept it but she insisted. Helene' Curtis herself presented her with this pin the day she crossed that barrier and brought women into the industry we know today. We are Cosmetologists, Hair Dressers, Beauticians, Beauty Operators, Hair Designers, Hair Cutters. We have been through our clients lives with them, we are there through thick and think, through sickness and health. I learned in beauty college to NEVER get personally attached to clients. That's not who I am. Most hairdressers are very social and sensitive , we are people pleasers. We love, too much sometimes. Over the years, Irene and I shared many stories, a lot of laughter and some tears. I miss her coming in for her perm, we would chat non-stop. What most clients don't know is most hairdressers (myself at least) grow strongly attached to our clients. Our service does become personal. We worry if you miss an appointment and we are sad when you move. Life has changed this industry. Irene paved the way. She was a woman I deeply admired and her family has become very dear to my heart. Next time you meet a 90 year old woman and she says she used to be a hairdresser, realize those times were tough, and it's because they were brave enough to step into an industry that really was a man's world, that you have the hairdresser you have today.
Irene Goreham............I love and miss you. RIP.