Meet Ali McQueen. She is a hair stylist at Shear Art Salon. She’s originally from Fort Washington, Maryland and moved to North Tampa since her parents have a vacation house here.
She is someone who always follows her gut feeling in every decision she makes in her life. She’s a mom of an adorable 3-year old boy named Ellis.
Thank you, Ali, for making everyone confident and beautiful and for your love for North Tampa.
Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
A: I never knew or it was never on my list plan that when I grew up I would do hair. I got out of the Navy, I was bar tending and then my friend said: “Let’s go to hair school!” and I was like I guess because I had the GI Bill so school was for free whenever I decided to go. I was like, I’m going to hair school. My friend dropped out and stayed with it because I liked it so I kind of fell in to it.
Q: What is something you most like your job and what is something you like the least?
A: What I like the most is being able to connect with people. I’m like their confidant, their friend, their therapist and especially with women and their birth stories, talking about shopping and little things that make them feel good.
Q: Is there any type of hair that you find the most challenging?
A: Honestly, fine hair is the most challenging. Like people get nervous when texture becomes involved but I think because I have textured hair it’s second nature to me so for me the opposite side of the spectrum would be fine straight hair. It terrifies me, it sees everything and it requires more precision to cut.
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in North Tampa, and what do you love there?
A: I literally just found one, I went there like a week ago and I think about it every single day, it’s called Alvarez Authentic Latin Food 2. The family struggles because the father got deported to Mexico after being here forever. His wife and five daughters runs the restaurant right now and they’re trying to get money to get a lawyer and get him back here.
Q: How long have you lived or worked in North Tampa?
A: I’ve lived in Safety Harbor when I first came down here and it was too far so I just moved to Carrollwood 6 months ago.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: It’s been on my mind to see the Northern Lights and there’s a couple of places where you can see it but I found a place where you can literally stay up at night and see them from a glass igloo tucked into the snow at the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Finland.
Q: What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?
A: My favorite movie is The Color Purple. Me and my best friend used to watch it every single day to the point we can talk the whole movie. I love that movie. She was obsessed with it first and then there was a hurricane one night and I stayed over at her house and we watched it first and died laughing because that’s all we did and then we kept watching it and every time we see each other, we watch the Color Purple.
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people about life?
A: Follow your gut. Everybody has advice for everybody else but their life is not like yours.
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: I would like to visit every country with my friend Josie Allen. I am part of this Facebook Group, Girls loves to travel, and Single Mothers Love to Travel. This is just to see the places that people go and figure out that way, where to go and how to get cheaper flights. My cousin is stationed in Belgium and I said that will be the place to go because it’s free since I have a place to stay. Then I think about being on a plane with a 3-year old for that long and it kind of freaks me out.
Q: What is your favorite music band (dead or alive)?
A: I like Beyonce. When I’m happy, I like Beyonce. When I’m sad, I like Beyonce. And when I have to be a G in my car and get out of traffic, then I’ll play Beyonce and Jay Z.
Q: Is there anyone who has the biggest positive impact in your life?
A: Both of my aunts, my dad’s sisters. Both of them got pregnant at 15 and my Grandmother refused to let them become a statistic and drop out of school so she made them work, go to school and take care of their kids. Both of them graduated college, and one of them went to medical school and the one that’s like my favorite, she actually went from high school straight to entry level position for construction some type of big company and she actually made it to CEO. So from 15-year old single mother and now she doesn’t work anymore, she lives in Florida and doesn’t have to do anything anymore. She’s really unstoppable.
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about North Tampa?
A: I like that if I want to do family-oriented activities with my son, they got Lake Park down there and someone’s told me about the park in Carrollwood village but I haven’t been there yet but it’s on my list. Chuck E. Cheese or whenever I want to do something with him there are plenty of choices. If I drop him off and his grandparent’s to do something fun with friends, it won’t take me long to get downtown.
Q: (Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: I’m kind of open book. Or not all people know that I can spin my arm around like ALL the way and when I do it people freak out about it.
Q: What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A: I still call my home the one that I grew up in Maryland. My parent’s condo in Safety Harbor is home and I feel home anywhere my parents are because I can go there for anything.
Q: If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
A: Issa Rae. She’s in the series-Insecure and the movie-The Photograph. She’s amazing.
Q: Do you think it is still important to meet people face-to-face or not important anymore because of social media and internet?
A: I’m old school in trying to get to know someone or friends, it has to be more in person or it has to be more pick up the phone. On the internet or social media, you never really know who you’re talking to and that freaks me out.