Cal Bigari, Owner
Cal first met a trans man in 2010. Only then did he realize transition was possible. He began a journey of challenging society’s gender norms to discover his own gender identity. Cal was not the girl his parents raised and pursued his transition. Hustling to find resources and
community, he made his way from conservative Colorado Springs to liberal California. Cal suddenly found himself in second puberty, not knowing how to groom a beard or navigate a barber shop. Fortunately, he found an amazing tribe of trans brothers that taught him the art of being a self-made man, complete with DIY haircuts and living room testosterone injections. From living room to classroom, Cal pursued a career as an innovative educator for the last decade, transitioning openly within his community: "I want the kids that I teach and the families that I serve to courageously step into their true identities, reaching their full power and potential."
Working while openly transgender facilitated conversations about important gender issues.
Each one of us is on a journey of discovery and expression, regardless of gender. None of us was born a man or a woman. Instead, we must each endure the process of becoming and growing into one’s identity. Cal firmly believes we must take an active role in our destinies, embracing the good, the bad, and the awkward of growing up. He is grateful to provide a space for all to play with our gender expression and feel FABULOUS.
Jessica ( Jessie) Santiago, Owner
Jessie is no stranger to queerness. She was born and raised in Virginia, an eccentric person of color with lesbian parents. Queerness was normal, safe, and loving as a child. But stepping into the "real world" as a young adult changed everything. She desperately wanted to fit in with her peers, experimenting with identity after identity without success. She never found that place and decided to create a world of her own: ~BENDERS'~
Jessie has been working in the beauty industry for over 16 years as a teacher and stylist alongside some of the industry's finest (Paul Mitchell, "THE SCHOOL," and The Aved Institute, Los Angeles). She established a strong foundation and practice, specializing in cuts, color, and natural hair textures. Studying special effects makeup in 2008 opened Jessie’s eyes to the infinite possibilities of presentation. Her final project in this male-dominated industry involved performing a physical gender change using only household items and cosmetics. Jessie gained recognition as a strong player in the industry while falling in love with transformation and transition. She began incorporating her knowledge of hair, makeup, gender
presentation, and queerness into everyday life and work. She noticed drastic differences in how people were treated based on their gender presentations.
Jessie has long been appalled by salon cultures that encourage gender and body shaming. Her mission is to eliminate "superficiality" from the hair industry, one person at a time. She likens her work to shining up a rusty penny, bringing out and accentuating one’s natural beauty. Jessie LOVES teaching people how to recreate looks at home. She is determined to work in an environment that promotes beauty, authenticity, and REALNESS .