The Hairdresser's Blog: An Immigrant Story
It seems like only yesterday that I arrived in the United States, fresh-faced, nervous, and excited—but without two words of English. Fortunately, I had the number of a friend from Paris named Ricardo Gomez who had come to the D.C. area a year earlier. Ricardo was one of those super-suave hairdressers who'd landed in America and become an instant sensation with the D.C. crowd.
Ricardo invited me to the Georgetown Salon where he worked. I was in awe. I looked around at the Americans in the bright salon. They all smiled at me, happy, and welcoming. I nodded to the conservatively-dressed crowd like I knew what they were saying through their strange chatter and smiles.
At the end of the day, Ricardo's boss, acclaimed French-Moroccan hairstylists named Sylvain Melloul, offered me a job. I was stunned. I'd only come for a two-week vacation.
I left to go back to Paris only long enough to pack a small suitcase.
Twenty years later, I have my own salon in the heart of Washington D.C.
Just after it opened, I got a call from a French friend in Annapolis. She knew a hairdresser from the South of France who had just arrived with her husband and had a work visa from his company.
When Roxanne arrived, she didn't speak English, but she had come with the most amazing skill set. In her mid-20s, she had already owned her own Salon in the South of France and was incredibly successful.
Within two months, Roxanne learned English, figured out the labyrinth of getting a professional license in Washington, D.C., and has now become a top stylist at Alex Provenzano Salon.
I feel very luck to be able to share the gifts that America has given me with a new immigrant from France, and I feel very fortunate to have Roxanne in my Salon. She is the best colorist in the District and is incredibly skilled at cuts and styles. Call and make an appointment today!
There is a cohesiveness about being an immigrant. Always having one foot in each country. But there is a bond between those of us that find our way into new countries. It's a special bond, and I feel very lucky to be able to experience it and to have people like Roxane, Luc Foquet, David Rios, and of course, Ricardo Gomez, in my life.