Hair expert Tara Copeland is proof that if you’re willing to take a couple risks, you can achieve your goals. The Gainesville, FL, native followed her dreams all the way to Los Angeles. After a brief period living in New York City to learn from big-city professionals, Copeland ended up in L.A. where she got her first big break, a magazine cover shoot with Lisa Bonet. Now she’s had her hands in A-listers’ manes like Keyshia Cole, Keri Hilson, Serayah and Gabourey Sidibe.
HUMBLE BEGINNINGS: “It didn’t happen over night,” Copeland admits (pictured here on set with celebrity client Serayah of Empire TV fame). “There are a lot of times I look back on my life and I’m so glad I did what I did.” At 18 she enrolled in Dudley’s Cosmetology School in Kernersville, NC, and worked her way up from a small town to a bustling city. The stylist truly believes leaving her hometown was the tipping point in expanding her career. “You’ve got to be willing to go somewhere bigger. Sometimes it’s hard working in smaller cities. You might be known there, but you have to go out and see other things and be challenged.”
WISE WORDS: The hair and beauty industry, especially in cities like L.A., is heavily influenced by word-of mouth, referrals and who-knows-who. Copeland reflects on how important it is to always show clients your best self. “It’s all about personality. You have to be humble, and stay professional at all times. Always be polite. Build relationships. And you have to be willing to work,” she shares. Take it from the expert. After all, Copeland did win an Emmy for Best Daytime Hair for her work on The Tyra Banks Show.