The boldly blonde mohawked Gina Rivera is an amalgamation of what many would label contradictory circumstances. Once a high school dropout, Gina’s now a successful entrepreneur, president and hair expert of Phenix Salon Suites, with locations nationwide. She’s worked hard to transform her hair-styling dreams into a beauty empire. Gina’s also a doting mother of two who balances her home life with managing a revolutionary business model that consumes countless hours of dedication and troubleshooting.

Her drive to allow salon professionals to exercise their own forms of style and agency has carried her far, and opened a variety of doors she could have never imagined. Her ever-expanding beauty business has garnered exposure in a variety of forms, from Gina becoming a seasoned columnist to her surprising stardom on “Undercover Boss.” She’s had to tackle a slew of personal and professional challenges, yet never lost her spirit of adventure or faith in God’s greater plan. While humbled by her experiences and at first reluctant to pen them, with the encouragement of her supportive partner Jason and female employees who found her story inspirational, Gina shares an unfiltered account of her journey to success in her autobiography, A Mirror And A Prayer

When I say unfiltered, I really mean it. Gina doesn’t shy away from early anecdotes that present herself in a compromising light. She openly admits to stealing cookie dough and gasoline during a rough financial period as a stylist. One of her boyfriends distributed drugs and was arrested by the FBI. Resulting in a comment she made offhandedly, Gina was almost strangled by a man who committed multiple murders. She was once told by a manager that she didn’t have what it took to make it in the business. Another manager demanded that someone run her rent down right after she gave birth, otherwise, she would lose her booth. Negativity and even hostility loomed over her career, but these experiences shaped Gina’s vision for her own ideal workplace.

The rough patches and the criticism she was dealt only made Gina more focused to thrive. She returned to school to finish her high school degree. Enlisting the emotional support of her mother and partner Jason and the styling expertise of her father, Gina learned what she could in a variety of salons before building her own clientele and striking out to open up her own shop. Encountering insensitivity and inflexibility in her career path made Gina value these attributes in cultivating her own business. Gina promised herself that “I would stay true to my own core values and honor my mission to create a model salon, treat my salon professionals with appreciation and respect, and hold the industry to a higher standard of service.”

The autobiography is peppered with inspirational pieces of advice on running a successful business, informed by Gina’s own experiences. Biblical verses are also placed in strategic locations of the account to further illuminate her story. In leading a new business venture, there is much left to pure passion for the work and a blind leap of faith in executing a vision. In transforming her outward look confidently with a fierce Mohawk, Gina was able to fortify her inner strength and “finally see the authentic me, the me that had always been in there…waiting to break free.” Hopefully reading Gina’s raw story strikes a chord with others harboring their own ambitious dreams and stirs them to reclaim their own authentic selves.

A Mirror And A Prayer is available for purchase.


Gina Rivera is an industry icon, celebrity hairdresser, successful business entrepreneur, mother, daughter and inspirational leader to many. A Mirror and a Prayer gives an in-depth view of Gina’s journey to success detailing out the many trials and tribulations Gina faced in building her beauty empire.  Through unyielding determination, Gina created an extremely successful business after repeatedly being told she would never succeed. Gina didn’t just dare to dream, she created a plan and through sheer strength of will, she made it come to fruition.

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