When America first met Tabatha Coffey, it was as a sharp-tongued, no-nonsense contestant on Bravo's Shear Genius. While the show, with host Jacqueline Smith, was far from memorable, something about the Australian hairstylist resonated with fans, and she's leveraged her ice-queen persona into a spin-off, the successful Salon Takeover and more recently, a memoir. In It's Not Really About the Hair, Coffey shares personal stories and beauty industry tips for success, something viewers witnessed during a recent episode filmed at Newbury Street's Avanti salon. "They were in such an incredible area," says Coffey. "Compared to other salons I've made over, Avanti really wasn't a mess. They just weren't living up to their potential."

Tabatha's tips were well received, and the salon's improved reputation is to her credit. "Boston is one of my favorite cities," she adds, "The architecture is beautiful." While in town, she also hit up South End hot spot Toro.

Viewers are used to the drama that Coffey's opinions bring, eliciting plenty of harsh responses. "I understand it can be frustrating," she adds. "Everyone calls me a bitch," a term she reclaims in her book. There, it stands for Brave, Intelligent, Tenacious, Creative and Honest. "I go in and start pointing out all the issues. It's hard to change. If you want to call me a bitch, call me a bitch."

The idea for the book came from Coffey's interaction with fans through social media. "Everyone was asking me questions, and they weren't about hair." Many revolved around her confidence and position as a strong gay celebrity. "I wanted to share stories that will be helpful to people," she adds. The result, which Coffey will discuss at Brookline Booksmith on Jan. 28, is a memoir-come-manual about how to tune into your passion and be strong at work and play. "If you're passionate about your job, it doesn't feel like work. Don't ever do anything because someone told you to."

Photo Credit: Ricky Middlesworth