She refuses to be hugged, only wears black and has a reputation for being one of the toughest women on TV, but Tabatha Takes Over star Tabatha Coffey has a soft side that comes from an unexpected heartbreak.
The outspoken 44-year-old’s popular US reality TV show sees her saving struggling hair salons and small businesses from bankruptcy, and season five of the TV2 series has been the toughest yet.
In one episode, the Queensland-born hairstylist visits her former colleague Chris Smith, whose hairdressing business had turned to disarray after her struggle with breast cancer. The experience was emotional for Tabatha, as she confronted memories of her own mother’s year-long battle with cancer, which eventually took her life in 2010.
“I’ve come across more women than I want to count that have been diagnosed with cancer,” says Tabatha.
“I’ve been the person who has shaved their heads and seen some of them pass away later, so cancer is something I’ve always been around.
“But when it affects someone close to you, it definitely makes you approach things in another way. That meant working with Chris on this project affected me more than ever.”