Gloria Ward, Beautician

Photo: Jake Chessum

What do you do?
I style hair and do all kinds of pretty things. I used to play drums in my husband’s band.

What band was that?
A famous group called the Ink Spots. A song called “If I Didn’t Care” made them very famous in 1939. My husband joined the band in the forties.

Were you always a drummer?
My husband taught me! We met at a concert years ago at the Theresa Hotel. He asked me if I do any typing. I do very little typing, but I said, “Oh, yes, I do typing.”

How do you describe your style?
I may be a little flashy today with this short skirt, but basically I’m a conservative dresser. I love blazers. And I usually wear long braids, but I just got this wild hairstyle. It’s actually a wig! I bought it at Mona wig shop, right here in Harlem. I love it. But it’s getting too hot.

How about the rest of your makeup?
I’ve been doing the same thing since I was 25 years old. It’s false eyelashes, and then I line it and then two or three layers of mascara on the lower lash. I don’t know why! I just like it.

Is that a thumb ring?
It’s actually my wedding band, but it’s too big. And it turns out I like a thumb ring.

Do you live in Harlem?
No, I live in midtown, but my salon is up here. There’s a lot of new stores coming to the area, and restaurants. Business is a little better, but not much.

What’s the most popular hairstyle at your salon?
Locks. Seems like everybody wants the dreadlocks, and about fifteen years ago, I took a little course on them.

Gloria Ward, Beautician