News & Updates

May 4: Gina Rivera

Amelia Fulgentes

PHENIX FOUNDER & BEAUTY EXPERT GINA RIVERA’s TIP OF THE WEEK: This week I discuss what the letter “O” stands for in the word “COLOUR” as I continue my “Colour Your Life” series. For me “O” stands for “Out of your box”.

Three years ago I was a busy mom working behind the chair three days per week. I was doing what I loved and I had an established clientele of 25 plus years. At the same time, I was opening more Phenix Salon Suite locations. I was extremely content, I liked my life and I felt good about how things were going.

Then suddenly things began to take a turn. I will never forget the day that we had our initial conference call with the Emmy award winning television show UNDERCOVER BOSS. I had never seen the show and I had absolutely no interest in being on TV, whatsoever. I really wasn’t taking it very seriously as I knew they considered over a thousand companies for each season and Phenix Salon Suites being on the show was a long shot.

Following the phone interview, we received a second call from the producers of the show informing us that we had been selected to move to the next level in the selection process. It was just a short time later that the producers and a camera crew showed up at our corporate office to interview me and my husband, Jason. The interview went well, however, I still didn’t truly believe we would be selected as multiple companies were being considered.

Then the call came. I was at work, like many other afternoons, when my husband called to tell me that Phenix Salon Suites had been chosen to be featured on the upcoming season. Being the jokester that he is, I initially thought he was kidding. When I finally figured out that he was serious, I became excited thinking “I can’t wait to see how they disguise him”. Him, meaning “Jason”. It was at that point Jason told me that I had been selected to go undercover.

I think my first reaction was shock which quickly turned to fear. I didn’t know how to feel about it. After all, I wasn’t a television personality. I was a Mom and a hairstylist, a business owner and certainly not a person that ever had a desire to be in the limelight. I remember hanging up the phone that day. I said absolutely nothing and got directly back to work.

Well, before I knew it, I was on a fast moving train. At times it was very overwhelming. I remember getting down on my knees in tears. Every single minute of the day I would be internally begging the Lord “Please don’t make me do this. There are hundreds of people who have spent their whole lives wanting to be on TV”. There were times that I even prayed that the show would get cancelled. I was miserable and I was certain that I didn’t want to be in front of millions of people exposing my life.

Then one night as I was praying, the Lord spoke to me and said “Gina, this isn’t about you. This is about me and the job that I have called you to do for me. This is about my works!” Well, the Lord is someone that I will never argue with, so, I made up my mind to embrace the experience and to appear on the show.

The time that followed was a whirlwind. I had to leave my husband and my boys for 10 days which was heart wrenching for me. I had never been away from them before for any length of time. In addition to this, my name was immediately changed to Ashley and in an instant I didn’t look remotely like myself. Talk about an identity crisis!

I was beyond worried and stressed. I thought that the Salon Professionals were sure to recognize me because I had on a wig and I was going into salons to work with people who knew hair. To add to the stress, I traveled 8,000 miles in six days working 12-15 hour shifts behind the camera. During this time, I cried every single night because I just wanted to go home.

Funny how time can change your perspective. Now, looking back, it scares me to think of what I would have missed out on if I hadn’t gone through the experience. I may have never met the amazing Salon Professionals in our Phenix locations that have suffered and conquered adversity. It deeply moved me to see how they put their grief into something they were passionate about, their work.

I also have many new friends at CBS who made a long term impression on me. Watching them and seeing how they worked as an organization inspired me to go back to my Executive Team with the goal of developing strategies geared at making us a better company.

This experience changed me. It made me realize that, yes, getting out of your box can be very uncomfortable. It can be really scary. But, I also learned that you grow the most when you are uncomfortable. If you stay in a box that you create, yes, you will feel safe. However, you may miss out on some of the greatest experiences in your life.

I had a unique circumstance where I was fortunate to bless a lot of lives and that meant a great deal to me. More importantly though, my life was blessed, and I am not talking about appearing on TV. I am referring to the amazing Salon Professionals that I came in contact with who touched my heart. So, if you have the chance to step out of your box and do something new, do it and be open to new experiences. You never know when they will be life changing.