• Mary MacCarthy

L.A. hairstylist says she'll have to do illegal house calls, to get by

Updated: May 7, 2020

Welcome to Day 1 of "How are you getting by? Stories from the economic front lines of COVID-19"...

Today we hear from Tracy, an independent hairstylist in East Los Angeles (she rents a spot at a hair studio). Her husband is still working - for now - but like most California families, they need two incomes in order to survive. We chatted via text message on March 20, 2020 - the day after L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti called for all non-essential businesses to shut down.

HOW AM I GETTING BY? To be honest, I’m not in the best mood to talk LOL. I’m just anxiety-ridden. As of yesterday I had to stop seeing clients. I hate to depend on men. But for now, that is how I’m getting by - my husband will be paying all the bills. Because I’m using what’s remaining of my own earnings to continue paying my lease at my spot at the hair studio. Where I now have to just close up, until all this is over.

I’m going to have to get some sort of job if this lasts longer than a month… just to keep paying rent on the space I’m no longer using! And I’m going to have to start doing house calls illegally. In California with a cosmetology license, you are not allowed to do house calls. Actually you can, but it’s only for people who are bedridden. I’m so frustrated - because a lot of other stylists are doing house calls. But I get it. We have to risk losing our professional cosmetology licenses just to make ends meet. We can get caught if a client gets mad - if they’re unhappy with their hair for whatever reason, they can report us.

I’m also taking care of my kids who are out of school, and I’m going to have to start bringing them with me on house calls. I’m concerned about the virus, of course, but to be honest I’m just over it.

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