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Daily Inspiration: Meet Eugenia Mccall

Today we’d like to introduce you to Eugenia McCall. 

Hi Eugenia, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers?
As a child, I always loved exploring all the Possibilities of hair and makeup. If my dad fell asleep on the couch, he’d wake up to a full makeover, complete with beads, barrettes and lip-gloss. It’s safe to say it wasn’t his aesthetic, but in between laughter he would always tell my mom, “If this must happen, she better be doing something like this when she grows up.” 

In elementary everyone who didn’t have the little plastic tool for the Coveted “topsy tail” Would meet me in the girl’s bathroom with a quarter and since I figured out how achieve the look with my fingers it was a quick lunchtime business. During high school I had a stint in the world of professional modeling… while it was amazing my favorite times were talking with the hair and Makeup artist, asking about products and how they started. I remember once asking, can we trade places? Your job is way more important than mine! They would smile and say if you love it go to school and do it! 

So that’s exactly what I did. My mom being my biggest cheerleader went with me to enroll and was always my smiling Guinea pig until I graduated. Hair school was amazing. I made so many good friends and learned a lot. Especially from my Favorite teacher, Debra Oldham. Sadly, she passed away in 2021 but she made a huge impact on me. She never told me to make myself small to fit into any space. She always said be true to yourself, if you want all the glitter use it! If you want winged eyeliner give it to em big just make sure it’s good! When I was on the floor training and working with clients, I knew if I looked to my left or right, she’d be there with her big sparkling blue eyes, calm demeanor, and sly smile, giving her nod of approval. Later, I would learn that she was also an instructor to one of my favorite celebrity stylist. Creator of the in styler, does hair for American Idol, legendary, and many other shows. Dean Banowitz! 

After graduating and being terrified to take my exam my first job was at Shear Elements. It was a hair salon/modeling agency right in the middle of the downtown club district. All the girls had crazy-colored hair and tattoos. The music selection was always something dance-worthy, the vibe was electric and occasionally you would see a client or two grooving from one side of the salon to the sitting area. My boss Kay was an absolute Angel, after my first year she started booking makeup jobs for me. Which lead to my first production work. 

I’ve done worldwide shoots for John Deere (imagine working 3rd shift in a warehouse at that very same company unbeknownst to them and in the morning kicking off your steel-toed boots, freshening up your makeup, putting on a cute outfit to drive to their pristine personal studio for hair and makeup. Unreal!) I’ve seen my work on a billboards for casinos I’ve also had the pleasure of doing several commercials. I was seriously living my dream for about 7 years. However, being from Davenport, Iowa it’s a small town and I wanted to be in a bigger pond. I remember reaching out to Dean on a whim just googled his email address asking for advice. Shockingly he wrote back and suggested I try the MUD academy in LA. That year for my birthday a few friends and I flew out spent a few weeks there and I interviewed at the school. The campus was beautiful, and I saw why the school is deemed “The Harvard of makeup schools.” 

The woman I spoke with looked at my portfolio and said, “sweetie I’m not going to lie to you, you are very talented, you could come here and we would love to have you but it’s not necessary for your success” very humbling moment. Also, a sigh of relief cause man was it expensive lol. With that extra boost of confidence instead, I moved to Florida, Tampa area. Worked at some great salons that really taught me a lot and put me in the way of wonderful opportunities. 

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Unfortunately, it hasn’t been a smooth road. Nothing is perfect! Before I made the decision to attend hair school my father passed away of lung cancer. It was devastating and it took a long time to find my footing again. 

Hair school was my introduction back to “normal.” 

Another struggle is every time you move you are leaving a clientele that you have cultivated through what you specialize in, not only that they become family! So, when I left my hometown and moved to FL, I encountered something unfamiliar. I wasn’t around all the people who knew me growing up. All unfamiliar faces. 

Most of the salons I’ve worked at have been predominantly Caucasian from the clientele to the employees… I remember working in this beautiful salon and spa, walking up to get my appointment, I’m always smiling so I approach her with my hand extended and introduce myself “Hi, I’m Eugenia, I’ll be your stylist today” she looked me up and down with a very displeased look on her face and sarcastically 

asked me if I was even capable of doing her kind of hair. Certainly taken aback by that response. 

Or having to reiterate that I’m not here to braid hair. 

In the beginning, I would whip out pictures, try to reassure the person or convince them which is exhausting. After I encountered that a few more times I decided that going forward. I would escort them to the front desk so we could get them rescheduled with someone they felt more comfortable with. Convincing others isn’t my responsibility. I’m here for a reason. For every not-so-great experience, there have been so many amazing ones I try not to dwell on those instances even though they are very real. 

All these things are a learning experience. 

Stylist deal with a lot. Between their own life issues, finding the right salon with good business practices, it can be tough to navigate the waters. I think now it’s a bit easier since social media has made our job “cool” there are a lot more resources. Before that you were kind of just trying to find your own way. 

I’ve had clients I really adored who have passed away or moved which is always tough. 

The pandemic not being able to work for a few months and worrying about the safety of my elderly clients was very difficult. I’m so glad that’s over! 

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’m happy that every day I wake up I’m blessed to be able to do what I love. 

Services I specialize in but am not limited to include

Extensions-  I-tip, tape-ins, and hand-tied wefts which are very popular currently.  My clients are fun and fearless with their hair selections… I often refer to them as “Team Rapunzel” since most of them love long hair as much as I do. 

The Brazilian blowout treatment- It’s a game changer for combating the humidity in Florida! It eliminates frizz, adds shine, reduces blow-dry time and can be customized for all hair types.         

Bridal services- It’s no secret that I love weddings. It’s such a joyous occasion so being a part of such a memorable day is an honor, spending time with family members, creating a peaceful environment because sometimes the nervous jitters creep in is all a part of being there. Getting everyone ready from start to finish down to putting on the veil is one of my favorite things. 15 years later I still tear up every time.

Makeup- I offer makeup services for special events like weddings or parties but my personal favorite is anything commercial, photo shoot and fashion related. I just really enjoy the whole process. That and meeting new people. 

What I’m most proud of is what I think sets me apart from others. 

Of course, we have learned skills to execute whatever a guest is asking for, but I really try to handle everyone with my heart. (There are times when it’s hard lol) when I’m with my guest, I’m listening, reading body language. I have learned that a lot of people make hair appointments when something isn’t going right. It’s my desire to be a soft place for however long a person is in my chair. Sometimes it’s nonstop laughing and cracking jokes, other times it’s a much longer hug and sometimes it’s grab the box of tissues while we find a quiet place to sit and just talk. Sometimes it ends in prayer. Sometimes it really is just a haircut. Whatever the case maybe it’s about seeing beyond money, bangs or the 

noise and having a human experience. So many times, people said “oh so you JUST do hair” but there are times when you get a call to visit someone in hospice and you know it’s their last haircut yet seeing them smile in the mirror for that moment means so much. Making a house call to get a family ready for a funeral or the difficult cut for a chemo patient. It’s never been “just hair” for me. I’ve encountered to many touching experiences for it to be condensed to something so small. It’s EVERYTHING and I’m humbled that people trust me. It truly is a blessing. 

What was your favorite childhood memory?
My favorite childhood memory is making gingerbread cookies with my mom. She is equally fashionable, so these gingerbread ladies had. Necklaces And we even fashioned little dough pieces that looked like wigs for them. Now that I think of it we might have made The Supremes!

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Image Credits
Dasha Denger

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