Dyeing for a Job: Never Underestimate a Hairdresser

by Sara Jane Richter, Ph. D.

1971 Hennessey High School Graduate

After 50 years of plying her craft, intuition, knowledge, and humor, Laura  (yes, “Laura” is her first name!) Diane Miller Hawk continues to make the world a more beautiful place every day.  Don’t let the faded paint of the front window of Chez la Femme Hair Salon on Hennessey’s Main Street fool you, for this shop is alive and full hot curling irons; friendly gossipy chatter; infectious rowdy laughter; soft country music; lush, leafy plants, and well-read books.  

Diane felt the pull of a hairdressing career when she was quite young and never looked back.  During her senior year of high school, she attended beauty school even though she was too young to attend “officially.”  She admits that she has been inspired and guided by wonderful mentors during her life.  She never really thought that she’d become a practicing beautician, for she just wanted to learn about the field as it fascinated her.  At age 16, she got her first job—procured for her by her beauty school mentor—at Salon DeVille in Oklahoma City.  She soon returned to Hennessey due to family circumstances, and in doing so, many of her Oklahoma City ladies followed her to Hennessey.  She was just too good for them to lose.

Through the years, she worked in Enid and St. Louis besides in Hennessey, so she has had her share of “doing heads,” but she no longer works on Saturday.  There is a limit!  Nowadays, she enjoys the company of her children and grandchildren and lives with a daughter and son-in-law in Enid.  Hawk says that she always comes to her shop with a glad heart and suggests that young people find a career where they can be happy on the way to work each day.  A Bible believer, Diane says that the Lord guides her in making decisions.  As for her chosen profession, she claims that she is never bored as “each head is different.” She looks forward to each client, and her clients’ differences make each day an adventure.  Two days are never the same.  She said that the worst part of her job is not being able to find someone else to share her shop space with her.  Through the years, maybe 15 people have worked with her, but none stayed for very long.  Now, however, she does not mind working by herself, and she enjoys the quiet and controlled chaos of a single-station salon.  She is content to be a solo hairdresser, and in this way, she can set her own schedule.  She often works late at night and will fit a client “into” her tight schedule if need be.

Diane plays no favorites and fixes hair for women and for men, young and old.  She works her intuition magic and can design the perfect hairstyle based on face size and shape and age.  A fifty-year anniversary proves that she is good at what she does.  Even though she does not see retiring from the hairdressing profession anytime soon, she has found a new passion—animals.

By the end of May, Diane’s daughter April, her husband Zach, and Diane will operate A to Z Therapeutic Petting Zoo on the south side of Enid.  This dream has finally come to fruition as April’s therapeutic wallaby started this wild dream.

April noted that difficult grade school children behaved much better if they had the opportunity to interact with a wallaby named Wally.  Time passed, and April acquired more animals, and with her husband’s and Mother’s help, they offer tours and hands-on experiences with animals such as chinchillas, kinkajou, birds, and miniature farm animals like goats, horses, and cows—and Wally.  By the beginning of the summer, they hope that the petting zoo will become a self-sustaining enterprise for students, church groups, special needs individuals, nursing home residents.  Enid has officially blessed the zoo with all the correct permits and licenses.  Landscaping for the facility will be completed this week.

The future looks good for Diane Hawk and Chez la Femme and the A to Z 

Therapeutic Petting Zoo.  The shop and the zoo started as modest dreams, and given Diane’s track record of gumption, tenacity, and kind spirit, they will continue to impact the people of Kingfisher and Garfield counties.  To outsiders, Diane might just appear as the typical hairdresser, but there’s much more to Diane Hawk than bobby pins and electric clippers.  There hasn’t been much of anything that has prevented her from being successful, and that luck will certainly carry over into whatever she decides to tackle next.  Diane does much more than just giving a crew cut or applying lowlights or shaping a pair of eyebrows.  Whatever it is, rest assured that she’ll get the job done—and enjoy it along the way.