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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Campus Spotlight: Bianca Bernardez

Bianca Bernardez has a personal relationship with her hair. A senior business management major and the president of the HAIRitage club, she shares her knowledge about having and maintaining healthy hair.

As a child, Bernardez developed a sense of shame for her hair. At 12 years old, she would beg her mother to get a perm. “I never felt it was good enough, and you always want what you don’t have, especially when it comes to hair,” Bernardez said.  At the time, she found her braided hair paled in comparison to the long, wavy hair of her Spanish classmates.

Bernardez, who is of both African-American and Hispanic descent, feels that hair is an important aspect in African-American culture, though they are not the only ethnic group to be hair conscious. Through experimentation, however, Bernardez became more comfortable with her hair. As she learned how to take care of it, she began to take pride in her natural hair.

“I am a strong believer that you can have long, wavy hair without weaves. It’s going to take work, time and patience but it can happen,” she said. Bernardez believes that healthy, natural hair is possible with a healthy lifestyle. Teaching others to improve the health of their hair and take care of it is as much a goal of the HAIRitage club as it is hers.

Bernardez began styling hair three years ago with her mother as her first client. Since then, her clientele has expanded to include friends. With her love of hair and understanding of business management Bernardez aspires to open her own salon.

Understanding a client’s personality and goals are important to Bernardez, and to the business she aspires to run. She finds that communication between the client and hair dresser is important. “You need to open your chair,” she said. It helps build a sense of trust, which Bernardez wishes to establish with her clients especially with the expansion of her business.

Her business will embody her values about healthy hair, unlike current salons, which focus more on style.

Currently Bernardez is working on a business plan. Her investors are encouraging her to pursue beauty school. Bernardez still intends to own a salon, which she hopes will be an international franchise. “I want to do hair because I want to help people.”

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