I reached out to Kisa and I asked her to share a little about her story with us. She is a stylist at the only Deaf-friendly salon in Alabama (owned by @hairartiststephanie). However, to my surprise, Kisa is not Deaf. Below is her beautiful story in interview-form.
- Kisa, you mentioned that you are hearing and your parents are deaf and that ASL was/is your first language. Assuming that English is your second language, how was that experience (meaning learning how to speak English)?
I didn't think I was different from any other child. However, my parents experienced some difficulties with educators who called DHR (Department of Human Resources) due to their ignorance. They believed that my parents were not capable of raising a hearing child, considering that my sister and I weren't "speaking" English at the correct language developmental milestones. They believed that we were being deprived of language and communication, which wasn’t the case. It is typical for a bilingual child to talk later than his or her peers because they are learning 2 languages at once.
- What inspired you to pursue a career in the beauty industry?
Funny story. Actually, I wanted to take auto mechanics in high school but my guidance counselor told me that I was too pretty for that and suggested that I go to beauty school. I took a cosmetology course my junior and senior year of high school.
- What are some of your favorite hair products?
- Neuma neustyle texturizer
- Loma fortifying reparative tonic
- Kevin Murphy easy rider
- Your salon is the 1st deaf friendly salon in Alabama. What has been the reaction from both the hearing and deaf community in respects to the salon?
It is slowly starting to build a following. Yayyy! I have had great feedback. I had one customer drive over an hour to see me. I would love to see businesses become more deaf-friendly because it's a huge untapped market.
- What has been the most difficult thing that you have had to deal with?
Having medical professionals mistreating my parents was difficult. I had a doctor refused to see my mom in the office because there was no interpreter provided. She was constantly sent home after waiting multiple times for a doctor's appointment, waiting to be tested for lupus or any other autoimmune disease. Another instance was when my dad was having open heart surgery and there was no interpreter provided and they handcuffed him to the bed for 6 HOURS because he was trying to explain to a nurse that his catheter was put in incorrectly!!
- What has been your most rewarding moment?
When I graduated from basic training. It taught me that I had the strength and perseverance to overcome any obstacles in my mind. It also taught me the life skills on handling stressful situations.
- Do you find that there is more acceptance of the deaf/Deaf community today or do you feel that there is still a great deal of ignorance and misconceptions?
There are huge obstacles that the deaf community need to overcome. Deaf people have been so conditioned to think that they're disabled. Because of this, no one wants to hire them and they can't work. I want deaf people to see that they can be independent and own their own businesses and work for themselves. I would love one day to start a trade school in a deaf school. We need to bring awareness to police brutality, education, and forcing deaf children to become oral/hearing. There are plenty of obstacles to be overcome and all it takes is hard work and perseverance from the deaf community. _\../
- What are some of your pet peeves?
1. When a person at the cash register hands the money to me instead of my parents.
2. When people say sorry when they hear that my parents are deaf.
3. When my mom turns up the volume instead of down in the middle the night and has the TV blaring.
4. And when my mom decides to vacuum and nail pictures on the wall at 2 o'clock in the morning!!
- If you could open another deaf-friendly salon anywhere else in the country, where would it be and why?
Wow I haven't thought of that, yet. I would love to open up something close to Gallaudet in DC. One of my dream goals is to finish my degree there. I was pursuing speech pathology but I might change my major to deaf education.
- What would do you want people in social media to know about the deaf/Deaf community?
I’d like for them to know that if you're willing to learn, it is a very welcoming community. Also, don't be upset if a deaf person corrects your signing. They are only trying to help you and teach you. _\..\
Beauty For Ashes
1830 29th Ave S,
Homewood, Alabama 35209