Fourth-generation Mexican-American Jake Tafoya was raised in a family of lawyers but yearned for something different from a young age. That curiosity cemented Jake's destiny as a future trailblazing Latina in the Dallas-Fort Worth beauty industry whose team has had the opportunity to work on celebrities like Selena Gomez and Denise Bidot. Meanwhile, her brother and sister followed tradition and became personal injury lawyers. "Maybe it was the middle-child syndrome, but I knew I was different. I didn't see myself behind a desk working from 9-to-5. I wanted to be out doing something artistic," Jake told POPSUGAR.
A proud Latina who identifies as 75 percent indigenous, Jake said her hair immediately gets frizzy when exposed to Texas humidity. She felt like she couldn't go to a salon and feel confident that a hairstylist would meet her hair goals or that a makeup artist would match her skin tone. After identifying a gap in the beauty industry where makeup artists and hairstylists who specialize in women of color's beauty needs is lacking, she set off to close that gap.
Today, she leads The Mod Labb, which provides an environment where all women can be serviced no matter their hair texture and focuses on skin, body, and face services. Her journey to success didn't happen overnight. She started off with two employees in a 400-square-foot suite, and after years of pouring herself into The Mod Labb and cultivating a strong team, she built The Body Labb. This Fall, she is preparing to open The Mod + Body Labb in Arlington, TX, with a new location creating a beauty oasis in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
"Being a Latina has been the driving force behind the diversity in our brand and in our culture," Jake said. "I think being a woman of color is so important right now, especially with everything that's going on with politics. There's a very large separation, and I'm trying to be a beacon of light for the Latina whose parents are immigrants or feels like she can't accomplish anything because of her identity," she added.
She feels strongly that this commitment to diversity separates her brand from others. "What we're doing is to cater to the multifaced woman so she can have a home within our doors," Jake explained.
"The first time I had an African-American woman sit in my chair and me not being able to deliver a service that made her happy and satisfied, it taught me there was more that I needed to learn by educating myself on different textures and hairstyles," Jake said. "My team and I wanted to make sure we were able to service every skin color and hair texture so that we could house people from all around the globe."
Jake initially pursued fashion and merchandising studies at the Art Institute of Dallas, where she soon discovered beauty was her true passion. Next, she set out in pursuit of an esthetics program but ultimately ended up focusing in cosmetology at Ogle School of Hair, Skin and Nails. She graduated in 2010 and built up experience at local salons with the goal of opening her own salon within five years, which she did.
She feels great satisfaction knowing how her services can make other women feel confident and beautiful both internally and externally. Her clients, many of whom traveled up to an hour to the salon before the Fall expansion, often post selfies on Instagram and other social media after getting a new hairstyle or professional makeup done and give public kudos to Jake's team.