20 Questions: S. Monae Everett, Bubbles Salon on Capitol Hill

This week, 20 Questions profiles S. Monae Everett, a stylist and manager at Bubbles Salon on Capitol Hill. She moved from Brooklyn, N.Y., to be a stylist in D.C. two years ago.

What’s the current “Hill” look?

Blond highlights. A lot of blond highlights. The bob is very popular and the side-swept bangs. Gentlemen are liking the shoulder crop look with a little texture on the top. No one’s doing the spike straight up.

They’re a little more conservative?

No, less. Men used to think of products as just for women — now they’re using them.

So you think they’re more hip?

Where do you get your ideas for new styles?

I ask the client what they like about their hair and what they don’t like. I judge from that.  

What types of people make a fuss about their hair?
I have the most fussy clientele. When they bring in the photo they want a carbon copy.

So you can do a carbon copy?
I guess so. I’ve got a lot of Hill professionals. It’s mostly the new ones who are coming [from] out of town, who are leaving their stylists in Arkansas. I have my New York chair. Everyone either has lived in New York, moved from New York or is moving to New York in my chair.

That’s the story of people in D.C.
I guess so.

Does that make it hard as a business that relies on regulars?
It’s extremely difficult. You want to retain a client.  

Who are your regulars?
A lot of people who live here while Congress is in session. They tend to go away during Congress’s vacations. When people are busier, we’re busier. When people have more time, we’re slow.

Do you compete with the salon in the Capitol?
We don’t like to say anything negative about other businesses.

But you guys are better.
I’d like to think so. But we don’t want to be negative.

So there’s a camaraderie.
Oh, yes. If they don’t know it, we’re letting them know!

Do staffers tip well?
They’re fine. It’s in proportion.

Who was one of your best customers?
I had a pregnant woman come in and she has a bad skin condition. Her skin is very dry. She was sick. She came in with a hat on. When she took it off, she had very large bald spots. I didn’t know what to do. We shaved down her hair, then colored her hair. She just felt really good when she walked out of here. Her head was up and her shoulders were back. It made me feel great.

Who was one of your worst customers?
Bad stories aren’t worth telling.

But don’t you have some?
OK, here’s one. I have one client who will color her hair at home, will wreak havoc on her hair, then will come back and pay us to color-correct it. You’re hoping that the hair can stand it. It’s terrible for the hair. Clients never look at what they do to their hair, but what you do. Many clients aren’t honest, and say they don’t color their hair. One client told me she hadn’t colored her hair, and it turned orange. I said, “You told me you didn’t dye your hair!” And she said, “Oh, I just did it at home.”

So what do you do in that situation?
I have to do a color correction. Color is a very delicate thing; you can’t just pour color on.

Seen some bad color jobs on the Hill?
Oh, yes. Lots of bad blond highlight jobs. They’re very brassy. You can see splotches. You shouldn’t be 28 with gray hair.  

Are expensive haircuts worth it?
It depends on the stylist, not the salon. If I went somewhere else and charged $300, it would be just as good.

What do you think about John Edwards’s $400 cut?
If it made John Edwards happy and he smiles and I didn’t pay for it, go for it. We here at Bubbles could have done it for him.

Should’ve told him.
Exactly. Hell, we could’ve sent somebody to his office and done a great job for less.

What about Hillary’s hairdo?

It must work for her.

Sounds like faint praise.
Well, yeah. I would like to see her a little blonder, but I don’t know if the rest of the country is ready for a really blond president.

It would be too bold?

Yeah, exactly. The hair shouldn’t be the focus of her campaign. You don’t hear about other candidates’ looks.

So we need to talk about Barack’s hair.

Or the gentleman from New Mexico [Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson]. But I’d rather hear about their policies and what they would do in the White House.

Is there a member who you think has really great hair?

[Rep. Louise] Slaughter (D-N.Y.). I love it. She keeps it nicely curled. I love the color, the height. You can tell she didn’t roll right out of bed.

What do you talk about with clients?

They talk about personal things. A lot of them don’t want to talk about politics.

Do you ever breach the subject?
Yeah, I do. Not with new clients. I’ll ask them about their work.

I bet you get some good news.  
They’re pretty tight-lipped. If it’s too juicy I have a better chance hearing it on the news.

Do you have more Dems or GOPers?

The climate is definitely Democratic. There was such a huge turnover; their family and staff came with them.

Do they have a better sense of style than the Republicans?

To match the type of hair I like to do, I would say yes.

Would you ever like to see a TV show about Bubbles? Like “Cheers” or something?
Yeah. I would rather [it be] something more like “Split Ends,” where you take one stylist from one salon and switch with another.  

How did you get into doing hair?
I did hair in high school. I love to make people look good, show them new options. Sometimes people don’t know how they can change their looks.

Who cuts your hair?
A stylist in here, Ophelia. We don’t follow our own rules; sometimes we do it ourselves.

You’ve cut your own hair?

Oh, yeah. It probably looks like it, too.

To recommend a political personality for 20 Questions, call Betsy Rothstein at (202)628-8516 or email at betsyr@thehill.com.