By: Nina Clevinger
When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. When life hands you trimming shears and a shit-ton of incredible opportunities, you break off your engagement, move to a new city, and start working as an alchemist – an alchemist of hair, that is.
Theresa Coggiola, 29, had it all figured out. She was engaged to be married, working her ass off at a high-end salon, Mario Tricoci. She was seven years deep at the salon – an incredible stylist, working day-in and day-out in the fast-paced environment of an upper class Chicago suburb. But there was one thing missing. One huge, monumental, extremely important thing: Coggiola’s happiness. It just wasn’t really there.
Coggiola found herself searching more and more for the cure to her disdain. She had a kickass career, her life was pretty much figured out – but it just didn’t feel right. And to Coggiola, the feeling of incompleteness was not something she wanted to continue living with. So she began searching. Searching for something new, something different – anything, really. That’s when she found The Ruby Room.
The Ruby Room is a beautiful salon located in Wicker Park, Chicago. It functions as a space for people to cleanse their minds, their bodies, as well as their souls. The Ruby Room offers a huge array of services: spiritual cleansing, aromatherapy, hair and makeup, spa services, and more. The goal is to make the customer feel beautiful, both inside and out. And that goal is one that is completed time and time again.
“I really think I manifested this place,” said Coggiola, thinking back on when she first discovered her new place of employment. “I didn’t ever think I was going to leave the professional corporate world… but it’s like, I had this artist in me that wanted to come out.”
Coggiola remembers feeling very stuck in the wormhole that is corporate America. She wanted change, but didn’t really know how to find it. One day, she found herself searching the Internet for random words and phrases of things she is super into: spirituality, crystals, hair, salon, Chicago. After some research and contemplation, she decided to interview with The Ruby Room. It’s been about two years since that day, and Coggiola hasn’t looked back since.
“A lot of my creativity, and my hard work and dedication… I think it stems from chaos,” said Coggiola. “Like, I have to kind of destroy things to create.”
After breaking off her engagement and moving to the city to work at a new salon, Coggiola met the love of her life and began branching out into other realms of art, such as painting and dance. She believes that none of these things would have happened; none of these opportunities would have come to her, if it hadn’t been for the destruction of the life path she was originally on.
For a majority of her life, Coggiola has been extremely in-tune with her spirituality.
“When I was little, I thought witchcraft was so cool,” she said. “I never realized it could be something that I actually practiced.”
Coggiola finds herself drawn to Goddess-power and feminine magic. She considers `her spiritual practices very genuine, close-to-heart, and inspired by the strength of women.
“[My spiritual journey] is one that transmutes and transforms a lot, but stays pretty steady with Goddess work.”
Coggiola goes so far as to compare herself to Kali, a Goddess who is known to battle chaos and evil head on – something Coggiola herself does each and every day.
When she was just 19-years-old, Coggiola’s best friend passed away. She recalls how she felt in that time, how she tried to force herself to only feel positive things for years and years afterwards – and how she learned that it’s okay to feel negatively, and oftentimes, encouraged. There’s no good without bad, and vice versa. Coggiola learned to embrace the chaos instead of run from it, and now she is strong as hell and ready to rule each day.
“I’ve always been the crazy, creative one in my family – a little off kilter, if you may,” said Theresa, laughing a little. “Losing [my friend] made me realize… I don’t give a shit. I’m going to do what I want… she’s what made me choose to go to beauty school.”
If Coggiola hadn’t faced such dismal days in her youth, she wouldn’t be the talented, spunky, bright woman she is today.
In the future, Coggiola plans to get deeper and deeper into her spirituality. So much so, that she wants to eventually make a career out of it – she and her boyfriend plan to start providing healing services, when they feel the time is right.
“For the past year, I’ve been trying to heal myself,” she said. “I think when that’s done, I can start to heal other people. And I really think that’s where I’ll end up.”
Coggiola plans to continue in the beauty industry for the rest of her life, but she also sees herself expanding into other realms of art and spiritual services. She even wants to have a gallery of her artwork on display one day.
Dreams are always achievable, no matter what the circumstance. Coggiola is just further proof of making shit happen, and making it happen in the most magical way possible.