Humans of TCGMC: Adam Moore
“I am a stylist, caregiver, therapist, and “good feeler.” Josh talks with our singer, Adam Moore!
Adam: I am a stylist, caregiver, therapist, and “good feeler.” I’ve been a stylist for almost 6 years. I work at a salon called the Hairetic.
Josh: WHAT A CLEVER NAME! HOW DOES ONE BECOME A STYLIST?
Adam: You have to go to school for about 11 months full-time. It’s all based on hours; for the state of Minnesota, it’s 1550 hours. Then you have your cosmetology license. You study everything – hair, skin, and nails — but I was never going to touch anyone’s toenails after school!
Josh: WHAT IS IT LIKE WHEN YOU FINALLY GET TO PRACTICE ON A REAL PERSON? ISN’T THAT TERRIFYING? WHAT KINDS OF SERVICES DO YOU YOURSELF PROVIDE?
Adam: It is terrifying! The instructors in beauty school are like “here you go!” There’s an unspoken fear all the students have. The most important thing about starting out with hair is confidence. When you have someone in your chair, they’re trusting you to do a good job.
I do cutting and coloring, of course, but also perms. What I love about doing hair is that it’s actually science (and math, and mental health). With perms, for example, you’re unraveling the structure of the hair as it’s wrapped around these little rods. You put neutralizer on it and it reforms the hair with chemical bonds. When you take the rod out, it’s curly forever! I get to give someone something they’ve never had before.
Josh: JUST AS LONG AS YOU DON’T GET IT WET. YOU DON’T WANT TO DEACTIVATE THE AMMONIUM THIOGLYCOLATE. WHAT OTHER SERVICES?
Adam: I also do facial waxing – eyebrows, mustaches, and full face for some of my hairier clients. I don’t like doing special events, though! Having a bride on her wedding day is stressful, and one of the things I love about my job is that it’s low stress.
Josh: HOW DID YOU END UP BECOMING A STYLIST?
Adam: I wanted to be an actor. I did a BFA in Theater at Mankato State. And I was pretty damn good! I was getting lead roles. I’m from Lakeville, but I moved directly to the Cities after graduation. I did a bunch of shows at the Bloomington Civic Theater and the Theater in the Round. I loved every second of it, but I was also serving tables. I served tables for 10 years, and eventually I was over it. I wasn’t making enough money doing acting, and I felt kind of lost. One of my best friends from college, who also did her BFA, got her cosmetology license and convinced me to do it.
I’d never done hair, though – never even touched a curling iron – and tuition at Empire Beauty School was $17,000. Fortunately, I ended up getting a scholarship. A distant relative, who passed, has set up a scholarship fund. The universe was telling me it’s what I had to do!
Josh: WELL THE QUESTION I’VE REALLY WANTED TO ASK YOU IS IF PEOPLE REALLY TELL THEIR STYLISTS EVERYTHING. IS IT TRUE?
Adam: It’s true. People tell me about their sexcapades and their nights out; I give them coffee when they’re hungover. They also tell me deeply personal things about themselves and their families. Even though you’re not a licensed psychologist, you’re a third party. I think I’m a really good listener, and I think people read that about me. They trust me.
What was most touching for me was when a client came in and when I asked how she was doing, she broke down bawling. She’d just been diagnosed with breast cancer that morning, and she was figuring out how to tell her family. I was the second person, after her mother. We laughed and cried together. Afterward, she looked great, but she left with more certainty about how to tell her husband and her daughters.
Whether positive – the celebrations – or the hardships and the struggles, people let you in like you’re part of their family.
Josh: WHILE WE AGREE PHYSICAL APPEARANCE ISN’T EVERYTHING, IT IS SO IMPORTANT IN HOW A PERSON FEELS ABOUT THEMSELVES.
Adam: There was an 8-year old girl who came in, and she had hair down to her waist. She wanted hair like her mom’s, which was shorter and curlier and had lots of layers. I kept asking her to make sure she was ready, and she said she was. I cut it off two feet in stages (just in case), and when I finished, she was so excited! She was giddy, and I was so nervous. When it was all done, she looked in the mirror and said, “I do look like my mommy!”
Josh: ALRIGHT, SO I GUESS, SINCE THERE ARE A LOT OF MEN READING… HELL, I’LL JUST SAY IT! I’M A BALDING MAN… HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THEM?
Adam: Well I am one! I always try to make a man feel confident, but I also have to be honest. I could sell someone all these products and make them think that one day they’ll have hair, but ultimately, you can’t fight genetics. There are products, like powders and gels, but at a certain point, there’s no style left. It’s a fine line to ride.
It’s the same with grey hair. I do some coloring, but I try to encourage guys to keep it. For one, I find it sexy, and so do a lot of women.
Josh: MMM. GIRL. YES.
Adam: A hairstylist has an opportunity to create a small community within our large community. What I love about my small community is that we span the whole range of lifestyles. In the moments when I have someone in my chair, I have the opportunity to learn and grow as a person simply by sharing time with that person, and time with someone is priceless.
Josh Elmore (he/him), singer and member of our small ensemble OutLoud!, created Humans of TCGMC in 2018. He graduated from Carleton College with a B.A. in Linguistics and has since worked in sales, higher education, and, most recently, as a bilingual insurance agent (Spanish). Endlessly curious, he has dabbled in improv theater, stand-up comedy, sword fighting, the cello, and modeling for fantasy-themed photo shoots.