Posters of glam girls and guys with sultry eyes and lush hair line the walls of JC Penney Salon. Health worker Marcia Aceveda of Kake, a Tlingit village about 100 air miles southwest of Juneau, didn't need anything that exotic. She was just happy not to have to cut off her own hair.
"Just even it out," she told her stylist, settling into the black, plastic-covered chair.
There are no professional hair stylists in Kake, although once Aceveda traded some fish and Indian food for an "all right" cut from a visiting beautician.
A stop at the brightly lit, yet soothing Penney Salon was high on the to-do list for her trip to Anchorage this week for the Alaska Federation of Natives convention.
Lots of AFN women had the same idea, said salon manager Debbie Brooker, who put out cookies and doughnuts and a welcome sign. A normal Wednesday brings maybe $2,000 in sales. This past Wednesday, AFN participants jacked up the volume to about $5,500, she said. Some other days were even busier.
"It's nice to be working hard," said Aceveda's hairdresser, Esther Karasch, who planned to work seven days this week instead of the usual five.
Beverly Ryder, an eight-year Penney stylist, said it's a fun time.
"A lot of people know each other" and see fellow villagers or family in the salon, she said.
Renee Douglas from Kotzebue said she hadn't had her hair done in a year.
How big a deal is it?
"It's big," she said. "I'm traveling with a group of elders. They're in conference now. I snuck out to get my hair done."
With strands of hair wrapped in silver foils, she was ready to drop about $135 for a cut and her first professional highlights -- caramel coloring blended into her natural rich brown tones.
Holly Nayakik of Wainwright, on the Arctic Ocean west of Barrow, sat Thursday morning in Ryder's chair while daughter Molly, 8, got her first pro cut from Karasch. Molly went for a simple, soft shoulder-length style. Mom planned something more elaborate for herself.
Nayakik, her six children and her husband, McRidge Nayakik, were part of the entertainment Wednesday night. They performed a dance together. The next morning, Holly Nayakik came in to the salon with her hair woven into a single braid.
Once unleashed, the hair flowed down to her hips. She hadn't had it cut since before Molly was born. So why now?
"It got too heavy," she said.
A foot of hair hit the floor. Nayakik planned to donate it to "Locks of Love," an organization that makes wigs for young cancer patients.
New bangs appeared. The stylist added layers for shape. Next: a curly perm.
"My husband said, 'You need a new look.' He may whistle when I come back," she joked.
One thing for sure: JC Penney will be whistling all the way to the bank.
Daily News reporter Rosemary Shinohara can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4340.