Born May 17, 1969 in Surfers Paradise, Australia, hairstylist Tabatha Coffey grew to prominence after her stint in the Bravo reality show Sheer Genius, which pits hair professionals against each other. She got her start, however, in her hometown, where she started as an assistant in a local salon at age 14. Realizing she wanted to learn more, she eventually took a four-year apprenticeship program a year later, and then moved to London to continue her training for the next three years.
Coffey has since opened her own salon, Industrie Hair Gurus in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Having fallen in love with hairstyling’s ability to transform people, she has set out to do just that to her clients, creating a special look for each individual, unlike other stylists who specialize in a certain look. She also works as a platform artist for hair care product company Joico International. She tours different countries doing hair shows—6-12 a year—for the company, both to showcase her talent and to train other aspiring hairdressers. “My favorite thing is to do work with other professionals and teaching,” she said in an interview. “I love giving and getting back from other professionals.”
She was a contestant in the Bravo reality show Sheer Genius, hosted by actress Jaclyn Smith. Trying out because of sheer curiosity, she quickly earned a reputation for her outspokenness and intensity. She was a frontrunner in the competition, winning most of the challenges during her stay, but she was eliminated in the sixth episode, along with her teammate for the day Tyson. She hasn’t made secret of her objections to Tyson’s methods, thinking his ego got in the way of his work. The judges eliminated them for their poor teamwork.
Coffey, however, maintained her high profile. She continued getting major styling gigs, notably working on New York Fashion Week as well as in shoots for Seventeen, Marie Claire and Mademoiselle. In 2008, she appeared in her own reality series, Tabatha’s Salon Takeover, which also aired on Bravo. The program demonstrated her passion for hair styling further, as she visits struggling salons in Los Angeles and New York and takes them over for a week in an attempt to get them back to shape and turn them around.