Bess Zowarka, Owner/ Stylist

Heights the Salon and SpaSpotlight-Zowarka

What do you do?  I make the world a more beautiful place through my clients.  When people look good, they take their best self out into the world.

Length of time on job:  14 years.

What is it that you like best about your job?  Every day, I have the pleasure of interacting with San Antonio’s most fascinating people.

Education/Major: Art history — only because civil engineering had way too much math, and business seemed like a second skin based on all the entrepreneurs in my family.

What career path led you to where you are today? Truthfully, because I was an athlete in high school, I was unable to have an off-campus lunch.  A counselor informed me of a cosmetology program offered on another campus … needless to say, I fell in love with the art form.

When did you know that you were in the right place in your career? Every time someone sits down and says they have heard or read such great things about me.

Who were your mentors?  I consider myself a pupil of life.   Coaches, teachers, clients, family and friends have taught me so many positive lessons.  Sadly, I have also had “mentors” that taught me what not to be.  For all, I am truly thankful.

What did you want to be when growing up? A veterinarian.  I guess that’s why we have two dogs (Kip and Bertie), one guinea pig (Bev), two turtles (Spike and Jewels) and three fish (identity unknown).

What person do you most admire? My husband, Philip Martin.  He joined the Army after 9/11 and did multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.  We met, married and merged our family.  A year ago I found out I was pregnant, and two weeks later Phil was diagnosed with cancer.  His oncologist ordered one of the most radical treatments of chemo and radiation for over 10 months.  All the while, he maintained his full-time job, his Army Reserve position and continued working toward his master’s degree in medical administration.

What is your favorite thing to do in San Antonio? I love to play tourist. This city that I am proud to call my home, has world-class museums, World Heritage Site missions and the beautiful River Walk — just so much to enjoy.

How would you define your personal style? Refined, relaxed, collected.

How would you describe your leadership style? Leading by example.  My motivator has always been my mom’s family mantra:  “If it is meant to be, it is up to me.”

What is your favorite vacation? Any place with crystal-clear water, white or pink sand.

What do you like to do in your spare time?  My spare time is most always spent at my family’s ranch. There, cell service is limited, but wildlife, family fun and games are not!

What is your all-time favorite book? The Last Lecture. It evokes an internal awakening to remember that time is fleeting, life is short, and it reminds you to relish all successes big and small.

What is the best movie you have seen in the last year and why? The Revenant. It is a testament to the human spirit — what inner strength, determination and fortitude can get you through in spite of the odds against you.

What is your favorite cell phone app? Favor—Pick up and delivery anytime.

What type of music do you like? I do love some funk.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life personally and professionally? My grandfather.

What do you like most about San Antonio? I love how San Antonio really gives that hometown feeling but boasts the amenities of a metropolis.

Do you have a favorite restaurant?  Fina’s Kitchen is a family staple. We have their tacos at least once a week.

How do you find balance in your life – career, community and home life? I don’t think I have ever fully found the balance, but it is always something I will work hard to try to achieve.

What are your goals? Be a great mother, a great wife, and always be committed to be the best person I can be.

What is the best advice that you have ever received?  It was from my grandfather, who very much had a way with words … His motto in life was, “It takes more time to do something half-assed than to just do it right the first time.”

People would be surprised to know that I … have a ton of Beastie Boys memorabilia, and I am a “super-fan” of sorts.