View the interview on About.com’s Reality TV

By , About.com Guide

Feb 3 2010

It’s rare that a reality TV contestant leaves such a lasting impression, a network thinks it would be a great idea to offer them their own series. But that’s exactly what happened for hairdresser Tabatha Coffey, who went from being the Shear Genius contestant viewers loved to hate, to starring in her own reality show on Bravo, Tabitha’s Salon Takeover. On Takeover, the Australian stylist/salon owner helps struggling hairdressers by offering them sound advice while telling them exactly how it is! Sometimes this leads to confrontation, but it’s all in a day’s work for Tabatha. Here’s what she had to say about her reality show, her reputation, and her rewarding work.Q: What was your reaction when Bravo approached you about doing your own series?
A: I had a million of them…Excited would be the first one—and surprised. It was something that came out of the blue for me. But I’m happy it did.

Q: You had a certain reputation on Shear Genius. Were you worried about how you would forever be portrayed in that light?
A: I never actually thought of that. It’s a great question. It’s something that I actually never thought of. I love Bravo and I think they make great shows. Before I was even on Shear Genius, I was a Bravo watcher. I know the reputation that they have, so I hadn’t even thought of that.

Q: You’ve been called a female Gordon Ramsay. What do you think of that comparison?
A: I don’t think I am, but I understand why people might make the comparison. I mean look, the first thing is that we both obviously have accents. So right there, it kinds of labels you and they put the comparison on you. But I think Gordon and I are probably similar in that we’re both incredibly passionate about our industries. Gordon is incredibly passionate about the restaurant industry and the restaurants that he’s trying to help, and I’m incredibly passionate about hairdressing and the hairdressers that I’m trying to help. So I understand why people make that comparison.

Q: You have a reputation for just telling it like it is. Are you always like that in your everyday life?
A: I am. I just think that it’s better to be honest and to tell people the truth than to not tell them the truth. And with the situations that I’m going through in the salons, it’s important that I do tell them the truth because I really do want to help them. And because I have such a small window of time that I spend in these salons – a week is really not a long period of time to turn a lot of these situations around. So it’s important that I go in there and get to the bottom of what the problems are that they are having in their business, and be honest about the problems so that I can effectively help them and effectively help them turn their business around.

Q: Are there days when you’re like “I’m in a great mood today. I don’t really want to have a confrontation today?”
A: I’ve never gone in wanting to have a confrontation, but for the salons that I’m going into, because I’m going in and being honest with them, I understand that it stirs up a lot of emotion in people. And having things pointed out to you can be really hard. And that’s when confrontation comes, because people don’t really want to hear the things that you are pointing out to them or they don’t really want to hear the truth. Look, I never walk in and say, “I want confrontation, or “I don’t want confrontation,” but it happens and unfortunately, it’s part of life at times.Q: What are you favorite memories from the show?
A: I have a lot. I really do. A lot of people contact me from the salons that I’ve been to. And with every salon, I walk out and feel that I have tried my best to make a difference. Sometimes it’s reached the whole salon and helped collectively the group of people in the business, and sometimes it’s only helped a couple of them and they’ve gotten their start. But being in contact with a lot of the people, and them telling me that they are on the right path and their businesses are improving, and they’re still taking the advice I’ve given them and running with it, that makes me really happy. So any time I walk out and there is some success there, it’s a great memory for me.

Q: And what was the worst experience you can remember from the show?
A: Honestly, there are a lot of those as well. Again with the confrontation…For me it comes from a tough love stance, and trying to help. So when I think that people aren’t taking it seriously, and they don’t really want to change even though they need to change, and they don’t, I get really frustrated. Those moments are hard for me.

Q: What do you like to do when you’re just kicking back and having fun?
A: I wish I had more time to do that! I’m a huge reader. I love to read. I love to cook. I’m a big cook. I like food so I’m a big foodie. For me relaxing, there’s nothing better than cooking a good meal and relaxing and reading a good book. That’s a great relaxation and escape for me.

Q: Tell me about your work on The Biggest Loser this season.
A: It’s the makeover episode of The Biggest Loser and I believe it’s down to six contestants. I really love doing it. I’ve been doing it for the past three seasons onThe Biggest Loser and it’s great because everybody’s story is so inspirational. It’s hard to get to that point. To me, it’s such an honor to get to spend some time with them and help them feel good about themselves in a different way. A lot of these people have worked so hard to lose such a staggering amount of weight but a lot of them haven’t adapted to their new bodies yet. They get hung up with “I want to keep my hair long so I can hide my fat face,” or “I want to do this so people don’t have to look at that.” But they’re so beyond that point, so for me it’s always so motivating for me to spend time with them and contribute to the new person they’ve become.

Q: As far as celebrities, do you look at them with a critical eye as far as hair goes? What do you think was the worst celebrity hairstyle this year?
A: Oh, wow. I don’t even know if she falls into the celebrity category, but I’m not a big fan of Kate Gosselin’s hair.

Q: Have you seen the Real Housewives of Atlanta? Hair was a big theme on that show. Who do you think had the best and worst hair style on that show?
A: I think they all look great. I think Kandi’s hair is fantastic. I liked NeNe’s hair when she had her new do. I thought it looked really good. I think they all look great at times and not so great at other times, like we all do. I’ve made comments about Kim’s wig. I don’t think Kim’s wig is fantastic. I wish that she would change it.

Q: Do you think if you had a chance to do Kim’s hair, she would become a believer in real hair again?
A: I would like to make Kim a believer in real hair again. I have to say, I really would.

Q: Tell us about the new season of your show. What’s in store?
A: There are a lot of great stories. There’s a salon that the owner just declared personal bankruptcy. There’s a salon owner that treats his salon more like a playground than a business and he is in dire need of financial help. But I think the stories have multi layers, which is great.