A 70-year-old woman is marking her 50th year as a hairstylist in Homestead. Patricia Abreu was first issued her cosmetology license in 1971 and is still far from retiring.
“I can’t believe it has been this long since I started working as a cosmetologist,” she said. “Everything has changed from the techniques to the technology. It’s unbelievable.”
Abreu has been working at Hair Cuttery in the Homestead Towne Square for the past 25 years. One of her longtime customers is Sonia Viksoring.
“I met Patricia at the Seminole Theater during a Miss Homestead pageant back in 1999,” said Viksoring. “She did my hair that time when I was running for the title and since then I haven’t stopped going to her for the past 20 years.”
Abreu has helped beautify sick people in the comfort of their homes. She has also worked with those living in homeless shelters across South Florida.
“I’m thankful that I’m healthy and physically capable to do as much as I can,” she said, speaking in a mix of Spanish and English. “I enjoy giving back to my community and seeing the smiles in their faces after looking at themselves in the mirror. It’s gratifying and that’s one thing I love about my job.”
Her co-workers, Heyky Pugh, 36, and Susana de Leon, 61, said Abreu likes to constantly try new things.
“When I’m working with modern techniques or doing hairs that she is not used to, she stands by me and observes,” said Pugh. “She doesn’t want to stop learning and I admire that.’’
De Leon, who has been working with Abreu for the past 13 years, agreed.
“She’s constantly asking us questions and watching us as we do our work,” she said. “Her work ethic is admirable, but her energy even more.”
Abreu has received multiple awards over the years, but the one she remembers the most is her 20-year award given by Hair Cuttery.
“I remember that day. I was about to quit and start a full-time job as a music appreciation professor at the University of Miami,” she said. “But something inside of me told me not to do so, so I listened to my intuition.”
She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in musical arts in Puerto Rico.
Abreu said city officials will be giving her an award for her dedication at the end of the year.
“I feel honored,” she said.