About Deborah

When I was fifteen, it seemed natural to follow in my mother's foot steps, so off to beauty school I went. I saw how hard my mom worked and the endless hours on her feet, and I realized I didn't want to be a hairdresser, I wanted to be singing and performing on stage. After I graduated from beauty school, I decided to follow my dreams and go to the university for vocal performance. I loved school, and I sang my heart and my vocal cords out, thus putting and end to my singing career. Feeling a bit defeated but proud I had the guts to try, I headed back to Michigan and my original plan of becoming a full time hairdresser. I love being a hairdresser. Hairdressing and motherhood are the two best choices I made in my life.

Reaching for something more

I have restless feet. When they have been in one place too long, they demand to walk on new soil. I started making time for travel. I loved it, but I’d quickly found myself bored with the tourist destinations, and after my fill of jet skis and margaritas on the beach in the manicured resort compound, I would wander off and see how the real people lived. My explorations were always fascinating, and I would see a country that was not accessible from my fancy resort.

On a memorable trip to Jamaica, I grabbed a bus into town and met a twenty-year old mother with five kids. She invited me to her home where we ate soup made with not much more than fish bones. I spent the week visiting her, bringing diapers and groceries—and that’s where I felt content.

This was the moment that I decided to "vacation with a purpose."

With a little bit of planning and huge suitcases full of medical supplies, I was able to satisfy my lust for travel and feed the compassion of my heart. I could experience the world and not hide from those less fortunate.

Years of traveling around the world prepared me for the biggest and most pivotal moment of my life. After training in disaster relief and volunteering at ground zero in New York City, I deployed with a team to Afghanistan in May 2002. I felt like I had stepped back in time, everything seemed broken - buildings, roads, homes, families and individuals but I fell in love with a people and a country. I had no idea I’d still be there five years later doing spiral perms and introducing the art of hairdressing. Thus began the most unlikely story of a Western hairdresser in Kabul, who helped build a beauty school for women and a life of her own amidst the rubble.


I was stunned when Random House said they would buy my story of The Kabul Beauty School! A new dimension of my life was unfolding. The funds from writing The Kabul Beauty School book allowed me to become a partner in founding a coffee shop in Kabul, in addition to the beauty school. May 2007, security became a huge problem for my son Noah and I. I was forced to flee the country.

Oasis Rescue

I was heart broken after leaving Afghanistan so I help found Oasis Rescue, a non-partisan, non-profit organization that aims to educate and empower women in Afghanistan, Iraq and other middle eastern countries in the art and commerce of the beauty industry.

Oasis Rescue is opening a new beauty school in Pakistan. The crisis in Afghanistan has driven hundreds of thousands of people over the border to Pakistan. The Afghan families suffer due to the volume of Afghans in Pakistan and their inability to find work. The situation is stressful mentally and emotionally. We believe the Beauty School will make a difference for the Afghan families in Pakistan and continue to do so if they can safely return to Afghanistan. This skill will benefit women and their families for years to come. They will teach their daughter(s) this skill, and they can provide services out of their home, in a salon, or the client's home. This safe female-driven business is a tool for survival.

Tippy Toes

Really I had no intentions of ever opening another salon. I thought I would just drink Margaritas on the beach, write and live happily ever after. But each time I went into a local salon, I longed for my own gathering place. Some people get their warm fuzzys when they smell a food their mom used to make or they hear a special song, but my warm fuzzys are triggered by the aroma of perm solution and nail polish remover! Feeling reborn as a beautician, I created the Tippy Toes salon as a fun-filled, community gathering place for everyone to enjoy.
A craftsman and a storyteller, Rodriguez captures place and people wholeheartedly, unveiling the faces of Afghanistan's women through a wealth of memorable characters who light up the page.
Publisher's Weekly
You must do the things you think you cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Copyright 2017 Deborah Rodriguez. All rights Reserved.
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