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Students got a taste of celebrity Thursday as a popular Binghamton hair salon hosted a meet and greet with a national hair styling superstar.

Fox 40’s Christine Lee was there to listen in on the salon queen’s advice.

Tabatha Coffey, star of hit reality TV series, Tabatha’s Salon Takeover, visited Binghamton’s Hair and Beyond Salon and gave BOCES hair styling students expert advice on how to make it in the hair biz.

“Just to always keep learning, that’s what she told us,” said BOCES student Erica Espe. “That when we graduate we don’t know everything and she’s completely right.”

Tabatha’s visit gave students, like Brittney Mudge, a lot of inspiration.

“There’s a lot of students at BOCES that want to go really far with this, so to meet someone that has gone as far as she has and then just get advice from her is just amazing,” said Brittney.

Local salon co-owner and BOCES graduate, Stacy Birtch, is the reason for all this commotion. She entered and won first place out of 10,000 entries in the 2010 Matrix Mannequin Mania Contest. She designed an elaborate hairstyle on a mannequin called, “The Widower.” Birtch says she put a lot of heart into her creation.

“My dad had passed away in April and we put our feelings on the mannequin so we thought that that was really special,” said Birtch.

For winning the country-wide contest, Birtch received a check for $25,000 dollars plus two days with Tabatha. As a thank you for the community’s support and votes, Birtch invited BOCES students and other hair fans to learn from the best.

And that’s completely fine with Tabatha.

“My philosophy is you give back what you get out,” said Tabatha. “And I’ve gotten a lot out of this industry. You know there’s nothing else I know how to do. And it’s kind of my philosophy in life, you pass it forward.”

Admittedly, some people were nervous to meet the reality star because of her berating persona on television, but Tabatha says she knows the difference between work and play.

“Look it’s like anything, you’re seeing one part of me on TV and that’s the work part, and I take that very seriously. If I can help other business owners through the tough times, answer a few questions, then the so-called celebrity is worth it.”