What Tabatha did next

Business coach and reality TV royalty Tabatha Coffey is a self-professed B.I.T.C.H. – Brave. Creative. Tenacious. Creative. Honest. Photo: Tabatha Coffey/Facebook.

On her incredible career journey, Australian-born US TV star Tabatha Coffey has been called a ‘bitch’ more times than she can count. Now she’s owning the word with her coaching venture, B.I.T.C.H. Camp – and forging exciting new paths, including partnering in a new clothing label. Interview by Amanda Smith.

Tabatha Coffey was perusing Nordstrom for a pair of new shoes when a woman pointed at her from across the room and shouted, “You’re that bitch on TV!” Shocked and paralysed, she raced home and fell deep into the rabbit hole of reviews. Thousands upon thousands of women were calling her a bitch.

She was only a few weeks into a five-year reality television odyssey, Tabatha’s Salon Takeover (later known as Tabatha Takes Over). The premise of the show was to help turn around failing hairdressing salons in one week. It was wildly successful. It was also a time when language like “bitchin”, “hey bitch” or “hanging out with my bitches” wasn’t cool. It was a stab, intended to cause pain.

To the dying salons, Tabatha was a defibrillator. To the public, a villain – Tabatha was, at best, the ‘necessary evil’. To Tabatha herself, she was just doing what she was good at: making hairdressing salons functional and prosperous.

“I was an education director for salons for over 10 years. I worked as a hairdresser in London for 10 years before moving to America, where I opened my own salon, Industrie Hair Gurus, just outside of New York City in Ridgewood, New Jersey,” Tabatha tells the Sentinel.

“At that time, I was in a rinse-and-repeat cycle, so I wanted to challenge myself. With access to casting calls, I applied to be a contestant on the hair styling show Shear Genius and was chosen. I had no prior experience on-screen. I just wanted to improve my public speaking skills. Thankfully, I was secure in my craft and a little older by then,” she recalls.

“I’ve always identified as a hairdresser … Hands in hair is my therapy, my happy place. Everyone has their thing.”

– Tabatha Coffey
Through her television career, Brisbane-born Tabatha Coffey has become one of the best-known Australians living in the United States. Photo: Tabatha Coffey/Facebook.

Being Australian, outspoken and a strong character, Tabatha was a viewer favourite – Tabatha’s Salon Takeover and Tabatha Takes Over were followed by Relative Success with Tabatha in 2018.

A desire to “do something different” led her to exploring worlds adjacent to hairdressing and makeovers – she appeared on Make Me a Supermodel, The Tyra Banks Show and The Biggest Loser, featured in top beauty magazines, spent time backstage at New York Fashion Week, walked the red carpet at the Oscars, rubbed shoulders with celebrities and published two successful books.

“It’s funny how this all becomes a new normal. But I’ve always identified as a hairdresser; I still do. Hands in hair is my therapy, my happy place. Everyone has their thing.”

Tabatha’s passion for hair helped her stay grounded through the twists and turns, ups and downs. Maybe in the 2007-08, the world wasn’t ready for a fierce truth seeker on their screens, in their homes every week. But upon reflection (lots of it), Tabatha cut through the shallow digs – at her personality, looks and style – to find an audience of women who needed help chasing their dreams, fearlessly. 

“I felt like I wasn’t good enough, which is entirely untrue, and now I help women to reach this point, too.”

– Tabatha Coffey

“For women, the world of business is challenging. There’s endless pressure on us, both externally and internally. Navigating the shame, blame, expectations and imposter syndrome often prevents women from succeeding. I felt like I wasn’t good enough, which is entirely untrue, and now I help women to reach this point, too.”

Not one for labels, Tabatha doesn’t define herself as a motivational speaker. She helps women get out of their own way, while ignoring the haters. Call it life coaching, business coaching, therapy or the tough love BFF. Tabatha empowers women to live their passion, with purpose and power.

Now an accredited coach, master NLP practitioner and certified hypnotherapist, Tabatha’s training is coloured by all she’s learned in the salon, on screen and on stage. B.I.T.C.H. Camp teaches women to be Brave, Intelligent, Tenacious, Creative and Honest– Tabatha’s makeover of that awful word.

The program helps women believe in themselves, find and speak their truth, overcoming insecurities, negative scripts and changing their lives.

With over two million views of her TEDx Talk, ‘Why You Need to be a Bitch’, she sends a powerful message: as women, we must lift each other up, not tear each other down.

Tabatha Coffey’s TEDx Talk, ‘Why You Need to be a Bitch’. Video: TEDx Talks/YouTube.

At 52-years-old, her B.I.T.C.H. business philosophy is leading her to new, exciting pursuits – yet another strong message that it just keeps getting better, even after having your own TV show.

“I chase what lights me up. I’ve partnered with Brooke Jones, a fellow Australian and fashion designer, to create a clothing line for hairdressers and service providers,” she says.

“We met during a charity work trip to Cambodia for Hair Aid. ‘Tabatha by Beau Tex’ is a breathable, bleach-proof, hair repellent clothing collection made from plastic water bottles. We’re redefining workwear apparel to look good, feel comfortable, not be ruined by products and are stylish to grab a drink in. Our line follows sustainable and ethical practices, a planet-conscious spirit, with profits going to fund humanitarian efforts such as supporting rescued sex trade girls.”

These notions of improvement, the before and after and the big makeover of one’s life, are all woven into Tabatha’s career milestones. When asked what’s next for Tabatha, she replies: “More of the same.”

She continues: “I’ve toyed with another book. If the right TV offer came about, I’d consider it, but it would have to be in line with where I am now. I dream of hosting an in-person retreat, to bring together the powerful energy of women who want to transform or makeover their lives.”

One thing’s for certain: “I’ll always be a hairdresser. And I’ll always be Australian.”

Amanda Smith is an Australian-born author, copywriter, cultural commentator and journalist based in New York City. Her website is located at www.amandasmithwriter.com.au.

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