Tabatha Coffey, star of Shear Genius and Tabatha Takes Over, gave NewNowNext the scoop on the new show, and her parents’ unusual family business.
Q: How is Relative Success different from other reality shows you’ve done?
TC: The real difference is these are families: Family businesses are fascinating and exhausting, and have their own built-in drama. Some are generational, and some are businesses family members work together on. Just imagine working with your family every day, right? We can all understand what that would feel like sometimes.
Q: What’s the biggest upside to being in business with family?
TC: Trust. Most of the time you know your family members have your back. That’s a real benefit, and catalyst for a lot of people going into business.
If it’s generational, the founder wants to build something better and pass that legacy on to their children. When it’s family deciding to create a business together, it’s because your family knows you—and you know them—better than anyone else.
Q: Did you come across any families where someone betrayed that trust?
TC: Probably not as blatantly as you think, but yes. The most fascinating thing was at how much stuff we sometimes don’t let go of as we become so-called grownups.
A lot of the jealousy, pettiness, and insecurity carried into business with siblings and parents or partners. It can be pretty ugly.
It totally went awry sometimes, often [because of] what everyone has seen me do for so long: When I go into a business—and I start poking around and finding out what’s going on, and pointing out the obvious—tempers flare and people get upset.
Q: Growing up, your family ran a business, too—they owned a strip club in Queensland.
TC: Yes, a lot of the girls were [trans and] going through their gender transitions. My parents would lend them money to go have the surgery, Then they would come back and work and carry on with their lives. It was probably the thing that changed and helped me become the person I am.
I would sit in the back room and watch them do their makeup get their costumes together. They put me to work setting their wigs, which was my first foray into hair. But also seeing people be really authentic to who they were, at any cost, was the big life lesson.