Hair Tamer, Warrior Woman, Vixen, 42 Years Old.
Coppery hair shining like nuggets of gold on the hillside and a smile to match. Alis has a vibrancy that is palpable, pulling a smile from your lips even before greetings have been exchanged. She is adorned with colorful tattoos; there is a fox peeking out behind wildflowers on her right forearm, and I find it appropriate that this sassy woman would share some affinity with the vixen. There is a playfulness to her that is very much grounded in the moment. Motivated to capture all the adventures that life has to offer, Alis doesn’t “...float” through life she, “...swims.” She is a woman of action and perhaps the most self-assured confident woman I have ever met. My goal in this interview is to discover her secret for myself, and for all women that struggle with self doubt.
Alis is beautiful, and she makes you feel beautiful just being around her; if you are lucky enough to be one of her clients in the salon, she makes you actually look beautiful too. Her craft is a passionate part of her. She sees women everyday that don’t value themselves, women that don’t see their own beauty, but through action, words, talent and a deep empathy, Alis coaxes a little more self assuredness out of them each time. Being a hair stylist is part analyst, consultant and coach, and each part gets to help people feel beautiful and love themselves. This is perhaps the best gift we can give another person, the ability of self love, “...when you like yourself other people see it.” Alis attributes her positive body image to her dad,
“He would tell me that Greek women can eat and still be beautiful, because curvy women are.”
Her father came to the U.S. from the Village of Hania on the island of Crete. With nothing but a name and a strong work ethic, he raised Alis to be the assertive, big hearted woman she is. Empowered with a strong sense of identity, Alis credits her father with giving her the tools to believe in herself. “I love me, because I was raised to unconditionally love myself, and that there was no one else like me. I was my own, strong, beautiful woman.” Alis is the oldest in a Greek family and traditionally there is a lot of responsibility that comes with this position in life. Her father may have pushed her to be her best, but he knew Alis had the “...strong mindset and strength to do so.” She wasn’t coddled or raised with the feminine stereotypes you might expect from a family deeply rooted in the old country. “My father taught me to throw punches and shoot guns.” This upbringing gave her the strength to start a whole new life when she turned 40.
One of the most difficult life lessons that anyone will ever have to act on, is one that will break a friends heart. Choosing happiness for yourself, knowing that it will cause another pain, is fraught with anxiety, fear and second guesses. It should be, but that doesn’t mean that your own happiness should be sacrificed, because ultimately it does a disservice to you both. There is pain in life; it fuels growth, and done with a sincerity for a better tomorrow, it is a necessity. Too many don’t make the hard choices and find themselves in a lifetime of mediocrity and dissatisfaction. Alis married her best friend in her early twenties. The early years held the shine of youth and the excitement of creating a life together, but as Alis grew into adulthood she gradually came to see that the passion wasn’t there. There was love to be sure, but the spark of chemistry hadn’t ignited, and for a woman so full of zest for life this was a gut wrenching realization. She tried to fix a situation that had no solution, and finally she accepted that the only path to true happiness for both of them was to part ways. It takes a lot of courage to break the heart of someone you have loved and shared a life with for nearly twenty years, but Alis has the fortitude to stand up for her right to happiness. And so, shortly after her 40th birthday she wrote the final chapter for that tale and set in search of the next.
“...we have nothing to lose by being ourselves”
It was time to sling-shot herself into new adventures. Alis had a love for motorcycles, another influence from her father, and one of the first things she did for her ‘new’ life was to sign up for riding classes. She now has two motorcycles: she rides a Kawasaki Vulcan 800cc when she is home in Mill Valley and a Honda Shadow 1100cc when she is visiting her boyfriend in Las Vegas. The two bikes offer up different personalities to suit the environment they live in, but both have a lot of power to send you hurling through space on two wheels. Alis calls it “wind therapy”, losing yourself to the roar of the engine and the smells of the land. You are a very real part of the landscape when you are on a bike, in a way that you can’t experience in a car. The change in temperature from sun to shadow is as drastic as being able to smell wildflowers, bread baking and roadkill. You are immersed fully in the moment. Her life is full of newness, and she has found her twin fire, a man whose passions match her own.
Being out of your comfort zone is an excellent way to empower yourself. Find something that scares you a little, “...like riding a moto for example”, and accomplish it. “You feel strong” when you are engaging in experiences that frightened you before, be it skydiving or a photo shoot. Creating confidence by taking action may be the first step in learning how to “...appreciate our inner and outer beauty”, we learn, “...we have nothing to lose by being ourselves”. We need to celebrate our uniqueness and stop comparing ourselves to others. “We need to embrace every curve, roll, dimple, curl, eye color, foot size, etc., and love ourselves unconditionally.” Do things that make you feel sexy. “Flirt, play up your favorite features, really love yourself, and this will shine to everyone else.” The secret is out.
Alis' Favorite Les Lunes: The Rushed Pencil Skirt in Wine.
"It makes me feel like a vixen."