By MIKE CHAIKEN
Dozens and dozens of students of the International Institute Cosmetology entered the professional world of hairdressing following graduation exercises held at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville Sunday afternoon.
The activities included a bevy of awards, certifications, and diplomas for the students from the IIC, which has campuses in Plainville and Wethersfield. There also was a hair fashion show with models that highlighted the skills of the soon-to-be graduates.
Additionally, students heard many words of wisdom and advice, such as take pride in their new career, from special guests such as Sonya Dove, the Global Ambassador for Wella Professionals.
The importance of being proud of their new profession was driven home by television personality Tabatha Coffey. Coffey, an Australian, has worked as a hairdresser since she was 14. She has worked on magazine editorials and worked with celebrities. She has her own salon. She travels the globe. She was the star of the reality series, “Tabatha Takes Over,” and is getting ready for a new series.
“It’s the most amazing profession in the world,” said Coffey to the students and their families gathered for graduation. “Grab it by both hands, and with an open heart. Do it with honesty… with love and passion and just ride the wave because it will take you many, many places you never expected. They will all be miraculous and wonderful.”
Asked by a student how sge would address those who say choosing to be a hairdresser wasn’t a real career path, Coffey said, “I don’t address that. I just tell them to shut up.”
Coffey shared a story to illustrate why the students should be proud of their new profession in the world of hair.
“The other day I was sitting at the Newark (N.J.) airport… I was in the bar… waiting for a flight… There was this really obnoxious man sitting next to me. He was super loud and really noisy,” Coffey explained.
Coffey said the man was talking about how he got back from Italy, where he tried a court case.
“No one cared,” said Coffey.
“I was sitting next to him and he asks, ‘What do you do?’” I said to him, ‘I’m a hairdresser,’” said Coffey.
“He looks at me with this look of utter disgust and disdain on his face,” said Coffey. “He went, ‘You can’t just be a hairdresser.’”
“As God would have it— and karma… miraculously, someone went, ‘Tabitha!’ from across the United Club. I was like, ‘Thank you, God.’ Perfect timing,” said Coffey.
It was a former client of Coffey’s. “She just raved about her hair. How much she loved the experience in my salon and how never found anyone like me to do her hair,” said Coffey.
The annoying man, said Coffey, just looked at her. “No one wants to listen to my Italian law story, but you you’re a rock star.”
And for the students, Coffey explained in her commencement address, such opportunities exist for them as well.