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Exploring Beauty with Tara Murphy

October 14, 2020

Tara Murphy Owner and Stylist at Estrella Collective Santa Cruz, Ca.

About five years ago when the idea for “The Beauty Project” hit me like a ton of bricks, the original idea was to create a space that encompassed all of the things that I love -- dance, meditation, workshops, art, and all things inner and outer beauty. The idea is to create this magical combination under one roof because it takes a stand for it's synchronicity within the human body. I have not been in a place to make such a commitment in my life. However, when I found out about a salon/yoga/dance studio opening up not too far from me in Santa Cruz, California, I had to know more and go check it out!

Tara Murphy is the mastermind behind a wonderful place called Estrella Collective and when she is asked about how she came up with the idea, she recalls that she simply combined the things she loves -- teaching yoga, doing hair, and running a business.

Tara gave me chills in our interview because she expressed so much that I relate to. It was wild to hear someone talk about things they believe in, how they got there, and how they feel around other hairstylists in the same way I have felt my entire life. Tara's intentions for creating Estrella Collective are to use inner and outer beauty to create balance and to form a different kind of community in Santa Cruz for those who want something unique.

Beauty to Tara is the irony of what can't be seen but can't hide... The inner light, the sparkle that people, nature, and music have.

She says, "It's those chills that you get, the fire that you feel on the inside when you see another person because it's not just about the outside-- it's that inside that is so attractive." Adding it's what your senses experience. It's reflection and perception.

I can't tell you enough how much I love asking people what beauty is (I mean, obviously, I've created a whole research project about it). I love witnessing the moments after that question. Sometimes, it happens immediately and sometimes it takes a minute for them to grasp their answer, but people come alive when they are asked and have a chance to talk about all of what beauty encompasses for them. It's a mysterious, magical thing that is hard to put into words... so complex, and yet, is so simple because it just is.

Tara and I talked about the importance and impact of the beauty industry itself because when I saw people protesting for haircuts many months ago I was like, “Oh woah! This is something. This is big. This is an incredible sign for those who know there is much more to a haircut than it just being a haircut.”

Tara gave an example of her older clients telling her that they don’t have family and they come to get haircuts with her because they get so much out of it and so does Tara. She says it’s a whole experience when the hairstylist sees the depth in them, and has love and passion for people. That’s something that is priceless and when it’s taken away, of course people are going to respond in a big way.

As I am writing this and listening back on our interview, I can’t help but think about all the people I have talked with about the magic of beauty and when I ask about the beauty industry itself, it gets a bit sticky or tricky to answer. I often take a step back to look at what human beings create with their ideas and where the ideas were rooted. Tara talked about how so many people have conflicting ideas about what the beauty industry is. It is full of vanity, ego, and layers of gnarly stuff. Yet, we all have this common thread of the love of beauty. All of these people that are so different across the board that work in the beauty industry love to appreciate beauty and make people feel good.

So I wonder, how can the beauty industry stand for beauty yet be so ugly?

Does every moon have to have a dark, shadowy side? The duality and dichotomy of this burns my insides, lights me up, and is the fuel to my fire of discovery of truth, and perhaps uncovering what's gone so wrong or, maybe, what’s gone so right. Tara is one of those people, like me, that being a hairstylist is what she was put on earth to be; it was ingrained in the deep depths of her. She had her special journey of discovering how to trust her intuition in getting her on this path. Whether we like it or not, the dark shadows are a part of what makes up the industry and I LOVE when people, like Tara, are able to find a way that works for them to light up the darkness and make it a happier, brighter, more wholesome place.

Tara saying ‘YES’ to her dream of bringing together all the different parts of herself, she is a great example of a woman, a human being, that isn’t putting any of her talents or gifts on the backburner. And, for me, as someone that loves art, dance, movement, and fun and deep gatherings, I often feel like there is something missing to some businesses or spaces… like they aren’t being used to their full potential and there are missed opportunities. But, Tara has made such good use of her space and I love learning about how dynamic people say ‘YES’ to their full expression of self. It helps me know that I am NOT and never have been too much.

Let me say that again because it’s very important…

I am NOT and never have been too much.

Whether you have the story of being a ‘too much woman’ or a ‘not enough man’, or any version or combination of that like many of us do, please know you are the perfect amount of “much” and “enough.” Your unique gifts are everything that makes the world better, fuller, richer. Feel into that.

Thank you Tara for teaching us this and leading by example. You make the beauty industry beautiful. You inspire me to keep following my nose and my heart on this path of wholesome beauty.

Love and gratitude,


Creator/ Founder of The Beauty Project

Tara's Beauty Statement: "Beauty to me is what you cannot see but it is how it makes you feel. That sparkle, shine, the inner and outer glow. That intangible thing that can be very tangible. Beauty is honesty and authenticity.

The Beauty Industry means to me an ever changing and dynamic community that we belong to that really needs to come together as a whole right now.

What I would like people to know about the beauty industry is there are some of us where its not just about vanity or just about getting your haircut.

I am beautiful because I care less than ever and I care more than ever (at the same time.) I feel the most comfortable in my body. I feel strong and secure. And my inner beauty… I am willing to face challenges, face uncomfortability and take it on. Scars are beautiful. I am willing to show my scars."

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