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Meet East Los Angeles Hairstylist: Regina Rodriguez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Regina Rodriguez. She’s an incredibly strong, determined woman who has made a name for herself in LA and we couldn’t be more proud to feature her.

Regina, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was always more on the creative side of things but I learned early on that being an “artist” isn’t something you can really make a living off of. You see, I needed to make a living off something. I grew up poor by a single mother and I had to make something of myself.. at least I saw it that way. I didn’t want to be a statistic and I knew I had the ability to hustle. So I had to make a living somehow but still be an artist. When I was 13, I told my mom I wanted to be a hairdresser. I think it may have disappointed her, she had a friend who was a hairstylist and didn’t make any money doing it and kinda fell outta love with it so she thought, naturally, that the same thing would happen to me. so I got a lot of slack about this life choice I made for myself but I knew there had to be so much more to beauty industry then what people told me and I was right! I’m glad that I stuck with my gut and knew my calling. After a few bumps in the road, I started working for a stylist in Pasadena who really pointed me in the right direction and gave the motivation I needed to take the first step. The first step was hardest for me… I think because I still carried so much doubt and was afraid to fail. I finally got over it. I had to or else I would never be where I am now. I have been so fortunate to have been guided and led into the right direction by all the stylists I have crossed passed with and worked with and learned from. I have always believed in my work ethic. I knew if I just worked and worked and out worked everyone that the right people would pay attention and the right people would appreciate it. When I was 18, I met one of the most important people that have ever come into my life. George, he gave me my shot. He was one of those special people I knew I would meet some day in my life that would appreciate my work ethic. He introduced me to Patty who is the department head of the young and the restless and after the birth of my twins, they gave me the life-changing opportunity of not only going to work on the show but being apart of one the last remaining unions in the country. I am forever grateful and never take for granted the gift I was granted. My life and my girls’ life could have been utterly different. I mean no matter what I would have found my place somewhere working my butt off but just not a part of something bigger than me. 3 Emmys, 5 Emmy nominations, 1 hair and makeup guild nomination later… I still think about little 13-year-old Regina, lost with no direction but knowing that if I worked hard something would happen I just never knew or could have even dreamed that so early in my career that it would be this!

Has it been a smooth road?
I think once in a while you will hear a success story that starts and ends pretty smooth but all great success stories always have twists, turns, potholes and even sinkholes on the road to success.

I think as soon as I knew I wanted to be a hairdresser school didn’t really matter to me anymore. I think at the time I was too worried about adult problems and couldn’t focus on high school and I couldn’t relate to any of my friends. I was moving from place to place all around Northeast Los Angeles and East Los Angeles with my family and my priorities were to take care of my little brothers so that my mom could find a job and maybe we could finally get ahead. Our dads never participated in our lives so I was depended on by my mom. I basically dropped out of high school in 9th grade and was pretty much lost for a few years. Really depressed and didn’t feel like I had anyone to talk to… All the adults in my life were dealing with their own problems… Poverty, jail, alcoholism , unemployment and a bunch of things that are typical in poor neighborhoods. my mom finally found a job in a city east of Los Angeles called Montebello and we had a stable studio apartment for me and my brothers to live in. I started a continuation high school which I felt was more relatable to me, everyone was just trying to graduate and there wasn’t any kind of drama I was talked to like an adult and I appreciated it. I think it was the first time a teacher told me (well anyone ever told me) that I have the control of my life, that any choice I make shapes what will happen in the future and I didn’t have to live the life I thought I was accustom to living.

I didn’t get a chance to finish school because my mom lost the studio back room and we had to move again. This time, we went our separate ways, she moved into a place she couldn’t take me so I was just free. at the time I thought it was SO COOL!… like I was an instant adult… but when you’re a kid being an adult seems cool until you really see what it actual means and you want to run back into the opposite direction.

So I hoped from friends couch to, family members couch, to park, to bench, to wherever actually. I had no job, no idea what was in store for me. I think at this time in my life I questioned a lot of things that life had brought me… I just thought….will my suffering ever end? Will I ever be happy?

I had to find happiness for myself and I thought about the last goal I ever had…..which was to become a hairdresser. my mom eventually got a place and I moved in with her got odd jobs including working at a salon where the hairstylist I worked for guided me, felt sorry for me, but mostly wanted to be the mentor I never had as a kid. he inspired me to think of more of myself… to keep on my goal and focus on what made me happy and build self-confidence. I started working at a hairstylist at a salon in Pasadena and also in west Hollywood. when my girls were born I started working ( as a single mother) in west Hollywood and with the help of some friends I got the call for a trial to work on the young and the restless. I think becoming a young single mother really made me look at myself and the choices I made for myself… and that teachers message came back to be about taking life into my control. I didn’t want to be a statistic and I didn’t want my children to be one either. It’s a really amazing feeling for me to know that my girls will never know what its like to not have a bed to sleep on, to have to share small space with 4 other people, to have no stability, to not have goals, to not have a refrigerator, to not have money to buy food, to not know where you’re going to sleep. I worked harder for them and now that I have reached all the goals I and set for myself a long time ago I have brand new goals now as a professional. I will never stop reaching new goals, overcoming my fears, learning new things and pushing myself to the limit to always overcome to odds.

What is the most difficult part of what you do?
I think for me, and also a lot of other people out there its time management with a combination of heavy guilt. haha. let me explain… I try my best all the time but always feel guilty like I’m not trying my hardest. I constantly question if I’m making enough time for my girls for my relationship… for my friendships. I can work all day and all night I won’t stop, I think that’s why I always get hard on myself because I wish there was more time and I force myself to find time so I could keep working hahaha if that makes any sense. I see a lot of people in my industry early on question if this job is for them… about a hand full of people I went to beauty school ( 250+ students) don’t work in the beauty industry only a handful of them went on to still work in my industry. It’s hard work, I think sometimes people think that they can make their own schedules and make money but it’s not like that in the beginning… It’s tough you have to hustle and some people don’t have it in them or don’t want to do what it takes to become a true professional, knowledgeable, creative, skilled, passionate, and MOST OF ALL patient, stylist.

What are you striving for, what criteria or markers have you set as indicators of success?
I think everyone defines success differently. For me, I think the idea of success has changed every few years that I get older, I kinda pair success and my goals together. It has worked for me because it always pushes myself to grow and keep myself excited about my career. When I was a teenager I thought if I just finished beauty school and worked that was success. When I worked at a salon I thought if I had a three day work week that would be successful… I learned that true success doesn’t really happen that way. Well, at least the success that I wanted to be learned that I had to keep pushing myself. I had to get out of my comfort zones ..even in certain areas…I never lived in the westside of Los Angeles but I knew talented stylist worked over there and I wanted to learn from them even if that sacrificed a hand full of my clientele. I had total those risks when I was young and didn’t have a family. I’m thankful everyday that I did that, that I kept pushing myself and refocusing on my goals and ideals of what I thought success was at the time. I thought if I could get into the entertainment industry that would be a level of success… if I reached that goal… I would 100% feel successful and 100% okay to finally settle down and give myself a break. Now that I have a family… and I think now that I have also matured and REALLY no myself I realized that I’m not the kind of person that takes breaks… Everytime I told myself that I needed to, it felt unnatural… I learned that I’m gonna keep trying and pushing… I mean 3 Emmys, 2 Emmy nominations, 1 makeup and hair guild nomination later I’m still pushing forward to find new levels of success.

What are your plans for the future?
I have SO MANY PLANS!!! but one step at a time. I’m always continuing to learn new things and try out new skills. I have been working on a Bridal Business where my main focus is brides. I think working with celebrities and brides are very similar and would love to be a go- to name for any bride that wants to feel like a star on their special day. I am so lucky to work as a union member in the entertainment industry where there is always a challenge waiting for you around the corner. As I get older and my girls are less demanding of my time I want to work on more film and one day do some Oscar worthy work.

Pricing:

  • Weddings & Special Events – $500+

Contact Info:

  • Website: Hairbyreginarodriguez.com
  • Phone: 6262525803
  • Email: hairbyregina@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @hairbyregina
  • Facebook: @hairandwhatever
  • Other: twitter- @hairbyregina

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2 Comments

  1. Orly Sustaeta

    October 25, 2016 at 14:37

    I’m so proud of you Gina !!!! Since you were little and having our conversations at Carrows , I new your were going to be special .

  2. Wendy Sosa

    October 26, 2016 at 03:09

    Awesomeness! Keep reaching for the best Gina!

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