Poster inspired Wild West Salon

The stylists of the Wild West Salon in Liberty Hill are Christi Ferraro, Hannah Liesmann and Christal Alexander. (Shelly Wilkison Photo)

The stylists of the Wild West Salon in Liberty Hill are Christi Ferraro, Hannah Liesmann and Christal Alexander. (Shelly Wilkison Photo)

By Dana Delgado

When Christal Alexander came across a fascinating framed poster at a thrift store, she jumped at what she thought was a bargain at $11.99. Later she would see that same poster priced at over $100 at another store making her find a real steal. But this was more than just an exciting find. There was something about or in the poster that connected with her.

The self-described “shy” woman has lived all her life in the country and grew up in rural Williamson County as the oldest child with her mother, Carline Schreiber, and her grandmother Francis Schalameus now 88.

“My grandmother is a very strong woman and gave up everything when my dad left us,” she said. It was a simple country life that revolved around the outdoors.

“For entertainment and to pass the time,” she said, “we would do coyote calls.”

Today she finds pleasure in reading and painting walls as well as traveling to exotic places.

Living in the country presented an array of activities like camping and fishing that she still enjoys.

In fact, one of her all-time favorite pastimes is to hang out at “Captain Dan’s,” a modest motel on the beach in Port Aransas where she can take in all of nature’s splendor.

“It’s nothing fancy but I just love going there with friends and my son Haylon Hernandez,” she said. “It’s a tradition.”

Ms. Alexander attended high school in Round Rock and followed a career path in cosmetology that has spanned 26 years with styling stops in Round Rock and Georgetown before landing in Liberty Hill. She has been a stylist locally for the last nine years.

“I really don’t know why I got into this business,” she said. “It’s a bit of a mystery, but maybe because my aunt was a beautician. I started doing only women’s cuts because men intimidated me. Now I cut everyone’s hair but specialize in men’s cuts.”

Over the years, she added haircolor and perms to her repertoire of services after focusing so long on cuts and style.

But that large framed poster, which she had bought two years ago and hangs in the salon behind the chair where her clients sit, still captivates her. The poster’s image and message is very personal to her.

With a deep breath and some emotion while looking at the poster, Ms. Alexander ultimately said, “It reminds me of strength.”

The poster depicts several scenes of women in early-day western garb fearlessly steer roping and bull riding. Under the collage of scenes appear a series of headlines describing the essence of the poster: Beautiful Daring Western Girls, Women of the Wild West Shows, April 6-June 6, 1989, Country Western Heritage Museum.

In many ways, the image and message represented an inner strength that Ms. Alexander felt she didn’t have or had been missing. It has been an awakening.

As difficult as it was, the timid stylist mustered up the strength to convince Hannah Liesmann and Cristi Ferraro, her independent styling colleagues, that the new salon at 15500 W. State Hwy 29 next to the Dollar Store should be called the Wild West Salon. After much discussion, it was agreed upon and the three stylists ran with it by decorating the salon in western motif.

“This is a good team with an easy going atmosphere,” said Ms. Alexander. “We are always learning from each other and helping one another.”

Mrs. Ferraro like Ms. Alexander has been in the salon business for some time. She earned her license while enrolled in a cosmetology program at Leander High School. Her license would be her ticket to a career that is in its 23rd year.

“Cosmetology was always an idea,” she said. “Mom would do hair and I grew up watching her. We are very close. I wasn’t one to want or have dolls, but those that I had growing up definitely had their hair worked on.”

She worked in a nail salon while she was in high school and helped her mother, Gayle Williamson, open a salon in Liberty Hill in 1996. She moved to another salon and then opened her own before joining Wild West. This month she celebrates a significant event that has dramatically changed her life. Mrs. Ferraro has lost 50 pounds since becoming immersed in a CrossFit Program. Her husband Rick Ferraro encouraged her to try the fitness program six months after he had started.

“It was terrifying at first and my body really hurt,” she said. “I wasn’t use to it. That first day was hard. I love it now and don’t see myself stopping. I’ve seen too many results.”

In addition to cuts and styling, Mrs. Ferraro specializes in color including all kinds of highlight techniques that accentuate her clients’ features.

The youngest of the trio at the Wild West Salon is Hannah Liesmann whom Ms. Alexander credits for bringing “enthusiasm and a fresh outlook” to the business. Mrs. Liesmann’s nature is that of a learning sponge, an innovator and artist.

“I’m learning something all the time,” she said. “I love to cut and color hair, but my first love is skin care. I keep up with the latest trends and use only the best products. I believe a face is like a canvas and I love to uplift people, but especially women.”

Mrs. Liesmann raises natural products and manufactures her own line of skin products, “Del Jardin.” It is a joint effort with her mother that was spurred by acne issues that the stylist suffered from while growing up. She said her parents have always been supportive.

“My mother and father, Amy Vickers and Wayne Saur, always encourage me to pursue anything I want and to follow my dreams,” she said.

Mrs. Liesmann said she grew up as cowgirl. She rode horses and participated as a non-professional in cutting competition and used to braid horses’ hair. Her husband, Andy Liesmann, is a cutting trainer.

“I love animals,” she said. “I have two dogs and five horses, but I also love to cook, travel, and meet new people.”

The independent stylists of the Wild West Salon are available by appointment, (512) 778-6501, although walk-ins are also welcome. To reach the individual stylists, contact Mrs. Liesmann at (325) 248-5035, Ms. Alexander at (512) 773-0943 and Mrs. Ferraro at (512) 632-0669