When you find your passion — really find it — it changes you.

As a third-generation hair-care professional, Tami Marie Mayorga owns The Talk of the Town Salon, a central coastal California boutique specializing in hair-loss solutions.

Mayorga’s grandparents founded the salon 30 years ago. After their passing, her mother took the reins until it came time to retire and hand control over to Tami.

“After my grandparents passed, my mom ran it, and my mom in 2015 handed the salon to me because she’s getting ready to retire,” Mayorga said.

What started out as a traditional hair salon has morphed into a hair restoration and hair extension boutique.

“In the last four years, we’ve transitioned into being specialized in hair restoration, hair extensions, and hair replacements,” Mayorga said.

The change in the salon’s direction came after a family member was diagnosed in 2010 with breast cancer.

As part of her philanthropy, Mayorga is in partnership with the Breast Cancer Resource Center Of Santa Barbara, Talk of The Town Hair Studio of Orcutt to give the gift of hair to a patient. Recently, Jessica Garcia, 34, was presented with a life-changing donation, a $2,000 wig made of human hair.

“Jessica was too sick to come into the salon, so I offered house calls to her residence since she was feeling ill from chemo and had a young child to care for,” Mayorga said.

Garcia said she had experimented with other wigs, but found the materials to be uncomfortable or not meant for those without hair.

“I felt that someone in their (30s) with cancer has enough stress in their life … it was my purpose to help by giving her a wig that she can feel like her normal self,” Mayorga told a local newspaper. “Her hair is the last thing she should have to worry about.

“The wig has made me feel like me again, especially since it’s very similar to how I had it for years,” Garcia said. “My hair was such a big part of my identity and to lose it was heartbreaking among other things my diagnosis came with. Sometimes when I look at my new, post-chemo hair, it’s a reminder of what I went through, and some days I don’t want to think about it. The wig makes me feel normal but beautiful at the same time.

Garcia was diagnosed in September 2022 with triple-negative breast cancer — a more aggressive form — and completed chemo on March 1. In April, she underwent a total mastectomy and reconstruction surgery.

“Jessica said surgery was successful and she is done with treatment and doing good,” Mayorga told The Link.

Talk of the Town donates one to two hair systems annually to help cancer patients deal with hair loss. It continues its partnership with the Breast Cancer Resource Center of Santa Barbara to meet the need.