Hair has been something that I’ve always loved to do. I enjoy making others feel beautiful and proud of the way they look, whether it be through a new haircut, color, or even a style just for the day. I am inspired by the people and things that I see on a day to day basis, and love trying to recreate or put my own twist on a look that I see.
I recently graduated from The Gene Juarez Academy as a student ambassador, and while in school I also received multiple awards, such as Student of the Month and Featured Student Artist. I can’t wait to take this next step in my career and see where this industry takes me.
Meet Meagan! She has grown up here on the island and has “always had a passion for making people around me feel and look beautiful.” She is constantly looking up the newest trends in fashion and putting her own is twist on things. She is freshly Gene Juarez trained and is looking forward to a fulfilling career in this industry!!
BY KATIE WOODZICK
Whidbey Life Magazine Contributor
November 19, 2014
Second Street Hair Boutique sits across the street from the Star Store in Langley. Guests coming in to get haircuts, colors, special event styles or other services enjoy a delightful view of the center of the town.
The salon is always humming with a mix of walk-in guests and regular clients. Owner Bristol Branson prides herself on providing a warm and welcoming environment with talented stylists. Her outgoing nature and aptitude for conversation come from her experiences as an actress.
Whidbey audiences may remember Branson from her time onstage at Whidbey Island Center for the Arts, where she played Sylvia the dog in “Sylvia,” Brooke/Vicky in “Noises Off,” Maria in “School for Scandal” and Shelby in “Steel Magnolias.”
Branson is a founding company member of Island Shakespeare Festival. With ISF, she has played Celia in “As You Like It,” Lady Capulet in “Romeo and Juliet” and Titania in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” She continues to work with ISF as the company’s Resident Hair Designer.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Bristol in the theatre on a few occasions,” said Eric Mulholland, local actor and ISF Associate Artistic Director. “One thing I love about acting with her is her generosity on stage. Every actor hopes his or her scene partner will meet them with openness and curiosity; Bristol has both qualities in abundance. It’s a real joy to ‘play the play with Bristol.’ I think she’s a very talented actor!”
She was raised on a sixteen-acre farm in Freeland with her incredibly supportive parents William and VonnaLee Branson. “I spent many a summer day braiding my horse’s hair out in the pastures,” she fondly recalled. After high school, Branson left the island to travel the country. Her travels made her realize what a special community Whidbey shelters.
“It gave me perspective and appreciation for the island.”
Returning home, she wanted to find a way to integrate her love of people, the Whidbey community and her artistic expression. She had started doing hair in the dressing rooms backstage at the theater and other actors began coming to her for similar assistance. She delighted in the experience of helping them transform into their characters.
Deciding to capitalize on her skills, Branson started attending the cosmetology school— Gene Juarez Academy—in 2008; while there, she won awards for combining artistic vision with technical skills.
In 2013, Branson heard that Langley Village Bakery was closing. Although she was sad to see the bakery leave, she recognized a great location and an opportunity to expand her business by opening a salon of her own.
Branson has staffed 2nd Street Hair Boutique with three full-time stylists in addition to herself. All of the stylists were raised in the South Whidbey School District. The owner takes pride in her stylists’ artistic and community interests: Natasha Nichols is a local musician, Eva Sherlock has performed with Whidbey Island Dance Theatre and Chava Hill, the Salon Manager, was active in 4-H.
Hill has known Branson since she was six years old. “I’ve always admired her,” she said. “She makes things look effortless, with class and grace.” Although she’s known Branson as a friend for more than twenty years, she said she’s found that working with Branson professionally has highlighted her skills of hard work and dedication.
Branson’s commitment to her craft has created a new, bustling business and she treasures her salon, her family, and her community.
“My heart is in Langley. I love how it makes me feel—our village by the sea. Everyone is so supportive of each other’s art…People appreciate each other, and I love it when members of the community come in and we can give them a truly personalized, genuine experience where they feel welcomed. My hope is to add to the fabric of Whidbey by helping people get the things they need to get done in a really lovely way.”
Learn more about 2nd Street Hair Boutique by visiting www.2ndStreetHairBoutique.com.
Image at top: Bristol Branson near her salon in Langley. (photo courtesy of Branson)
Read other stories about the dual lives of Whidbey’s actors in this series “Acting and the Art of…” by Katie Woodzick see:
Acting and the Art of Communication: George Henny
Acting and the Art of Graphic Design: Morgan Bondelid
Katie Woodzick works at Hedgebrook as an External Relations Manager. She is also an actor and director who can be seen on local stages. Learn more atkatiewoodzick.squarespace.com.
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As the wedding season approaches, let our salon help you look your best on the big day. All our stylists are passionate about wedding styles for the bride, bridesmaids and guests! Chava is our resident Wedding Specialist, her years of experience paired with her eye for style come together in beautiful hair and makeup designs. Call 360-221-7060 to schedule your wedding style!
We are pleased to welcome Natasha Nichols to our team of stylists!
Tell us a little about yourself! Where did you grow up?
I grew up right here on the south end of Whidbey Island. My great grandfather Frank Nichols is actually the man who started Nichols Brothers Boat Builders so my family is pretty much the epitome of an “island family”.
What inspired you to study cosmetology?
Before I decided to attend cosmetology school I was going to go into the medical field, but after attending a few orientations I thought to myself, “why?”. I have always had a passion for beauty and the arts so after much thought, it dawned on me that I needed to do hair. Ridiculously passionate about hair and making people beautiful, I’m so glad that I chose this field of work.
What is your favorite part of working at 2nd Street Hair Boutique?
I absolutely love my co-workers at 2nd Street Hair Boutique! Bristol actually asked me to work for her before I even graduated. She and Chava both know that it takes time to get into the swing of things at a salon and they are so patient and understanding. I can ask any question I need to anytime and they always respond with positive enforcement.
What is your favorite aspect of living on Whidbey Island?
My favorite part is the nature. A lot of people go their whole lives without ever getting to see a place like this. I never take for granted for a second.
Who/what are your beauty and style inspirations?
My beauty/style inspiration is anything from the 20s and 60s eras. I love wearing loose fitting dresses, colorful tights, and vintage shoes. I don’t know why but I have always been drawn to the beauty in those times.
Anything else you’d like us to know?
Thanks for reading and stay beautiful!!
Call us at 360.221.7060 to book an appointment with Natasha!