The Dart: Hair stylist is all smiles at home
Published 12:43 am Monday, March 14, 2016
NATCHEZ — When her husband brought out the doll hair styling chairs, Sharon Jackson found denying her passion for braiding hair a bit difficult.
“Oh, you stop it,” she scolded her husband, Michael, with a laugh, but admitted those chairs were special. “I haven’t been able to find any dolls big enough that will fit in those yet. I’m still looking!”
When The Dart landed on Circle Drive in Natchez Saturday, it found Jackson between clients. After JC Penny’s closed its Natchez store and styling salon, she decided to keep the clients she enjoyed working with at home.
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In the backroom down one step off the kitchen, it looks like a mini salon complete with a big mirror on the wall, a couch if a friend is brought over and a TV set to entertainment news.
Oh, and of course a big styling chair sits right in the center. That chair is for happy people only, so she’s not interested in expanding.
“I’m not looking for new clients,” Jackson said. “You never know who you are going to get.
“No, I am happy with who I have.”
It didn’t take long for a client to show up. Mary Batteaste arrived early to get crochets. She was content to wait in her SUV, as she had been in the neighborhood to get her nails done, but Jackson invited her on in.
“She has been doing my hair for a long time,” Batteaste said. “I don’t have to wait, she knows what I want, and I’m in and out.”
It all started for Jackson when she was 8 years old.
“My Barbies did not look like any other Barbies on the block,” she said. “I had my Barbies hooked up.
“Hairstyling just stayed with me. It’s who I am, just me. I can’t imagine my life without it.”
The satisfaction she gets after she’s done braiding hair is what makes the process special, she said.
“I think it’s when the work is done and they are happy,” she said. “When they look in the mirror with a big smile and say, ‘That’s just what I wanted.’
“And you know you had a hand in making them happy.”
Originally from Dallas, she came to the area 18 years ago, first living on the Louisiana side of the Miss-Lou. Three years later she moved to Natchez, and it took a while to get acclimated.
“It was like starting all over again here,” she said. “But they gave me a chance — I think I warmed a few hearts.”
After getting into it, she decided her favorite part was actually braiding and weaving, not cutting.
“I do a little magic,” she said with a laugh. “I don’t take any hair away. You come in bald and leave with it dragging on the floor.”
Of her clients, she said the males are probably the most particular.
“The women don’t care, they’ll yell out, ‘Yeah, I have a weave,’” she said. “The men get all quiet like, ‘So, this isn’t going to leave the room, right?’”
Jackson said she met her husband in Natchez, and that yes people pick on her about his name. She was considering designing a shirt that said, ‘I married Michael Jackson.’
“He doesn’t dance like Mike, but he tries,” she said. “I met him through his sister, at a cook out. She was like, ‘I want you to meet my brother.’
“At first I was like, ‘Oh, God, no!’ But now he is my Honeykins.”
When she’s not with her clients or her husband, she’s probably spending time with her grandchildren.
“I have five — I call them my five Zs,” Jackson said. “All of their names start with Z. I don’t know why my kids did that to me.”
She likes to play with them, even bringing out the Barbie dolls with the girls, like she did when she was a child. But today it’s more about the electronics.
“They all like to win at games — so I let them beat me on the Wii,” she said. “But we go outside too. I like to take them to the play land at McDonalds and to the park.
“We have a great time.”