‘Our time to give back’

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Now, Hawkins and Jennifer Correale, a hairdresser who also handles the salon’s public relations, want to localize anti-bullying efforts with an initiative of their own. Correale, 29, told the Herald about their plans to wear T-shirts at the salon to highlight the cause. Hawkins wants to get other salons involved in an effort to offer free consultations and styling tips to teenagers, and wants to work in conjunction with the Rockville Centre Youth Council to raise awareness.

The salon also joined pop superstar Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation. Last month, Hawkins introduced a whiteboard backdrop — similar to those used at celebrity award shows and fashion runways — to the salon. The backdrop is used in pictures of clients after they get their hair done. There are plans for a red carpet leading up to the backdrop. Pictures of clients’ transformations are posted on the salon’s Facebook website and Instagram account.

“The idea is to celebrate the client,” Hawkins said. “Our job is to make them feel like celebrities. They trust us.”

“In a way, we’re the closest thing to fashion for the clients,” Correale said. “With fame and red carpets, we’re supposed to know all that. So, when we encourage our young clients and tell them that they look beautiful, that means the world to them because it’s coming from us. You don’t realize the impact you can have on somebody. Our clients are loving the pictures. They’re real-life celebrities.”

Hawkins said she is planning to host a community event at the salon on Jan. 7, from 6 to 9 p.m., for children, teenagers and parents, during which the staff will offer tips, to help teenagers feel better about themselves and raise anti-bullying awareness.

“Our industry has so much power that we don’t use,” Hawkins said. “Everybody is after the sexy causes. There are all types of sexy causes, but what about our youth? These are our kids, our friends’ kids, our clients’ kids. Everybody on my staff is on board. It’s time to do something, to get everybody involved and make it happen.”

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