Erica Kious is the owner of eSalon in San Francisco. In August 2020, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi defied quarantine rules by attending an appointment at eSalon.
Hair salons in San Francisco have not been open to indoor appointments since March 2020. A video obtained by Fox News showed Pelosi inside the salon without wearing a face covering. President Donald Trump weighed in on the controversy on September 2, tweeting, “Crazy Nancy Pelosi is being decimated for having a beauty parlor opened, when all others are closed, and for not wearing a Mask – despite constantly lecturing everyone else. We will almost certainly take back the House, and send Nancy packing!”
In October 2020, Kious became the victim of a death hoax.
Kious, 44, told Fox News on September 1 that her salon is made up of independent stylists who rent space inside of eSalon.
Here’s what you need to know about Erica Kious and the Pelosi eSalon controversy:
1. Kious, a Single Mother of 2, Has Owned the San Francisco Salon Since 2012, but Records Show Her License Is Expired
Kious said in a Fox News interview that she heard from one of her stylists on the night of August 30. The stylist said that Pelosi’s assistant confirmed an appointment at the salon on August 31. Kious said her reaction was, “Do I let this happen? What do I do?” The owner added, “It was a slap in the face that she went in, you know, that she feels that she can just go and get her stuff done while no one else can go in, and I can’t work.” Kious went on, “We’re supposed to look up to this woman, right? It is just disturbing.”
Pelosi’s office said the speaker thought she was following the rules by agreeing to be the only customer inside of the salon at the time. Kious told Fox News that it is illegal to perform blow-drying during the coronavirus quarantine. She told Fox that she is a working single mother of two who has been struggling to maintain her business, which has been in operation for 12 years. Kious said she has lost 60% of her clientele during the pandemic and that the area around her salon has become “a third world country” due to quarantine rules.
According to the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology, Kious has operated the eSalon business on Union Street in San Francisco since May 2012. But the state board’s website shows the eSalon’s cosmetology license expired on May 31, 2020.
2. Pelosi Is Demanding an Apology From the Salon
On September 2, Pelosi said in a media conference that she fell for a setup. Pelosi said she takes responsibility for falling for the setup but that the salon “owes [her] an apology.” Pelosi said, “I take responsibility for trusting the word of the neighborhood salon that I’ve been to, over the years, many times.”
Following Pelosi’s statement, Kious appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight to say that her actions were not political. Kious rejected the allegation of a “setup,” saying, “There was no way I could’ve set that up. I’ve had a camera system in there for five years. I mean, I didn’t go in there and turn cameras on as soon as she walked in and set her up. So that is absolutely false.” During the segment, Kious told Carlson that since the Pelosi video was released, Kious has received multiple threats.
3. Kious Is Accused by Jonathan DeNardo, the Stylist Who Worked on Pelosi’s Hair, of Being Politically Motivated & of Operating Her Salon in Breech of Quarantine Guidelines
The stylist who worked on Nancy Pelosi’s hair, Jonathan DeNardo, said in a statement through his attorneys he would not have gone forward with the appointment without Kious’ approval. During a phone call in which he sought Kious’ approval, DeNardo claimed, Kious made “several vitriolic and incendiary comments” about Pelosi. DeNardo alleged that Kious blamed Pelosi for suspending eSalon’s business operations.
DeNardo alleged that Kious has been operating her salon contrary to guidelines and contrary to her statements on Fox News. DeNardo also alleged, “Ms. Kious has also been actively encouraging and almost forcing stylists who operate at eSalon to violate such orders for her own financial benefit in the form of receiving lease payments.” He said that Kious’ motivations are political.
4. One Profile Says Kious ‘Has an Eye for Style & Fashion but Recognized the Need for Feeling Beautiful in Your Own Skin’
According to her profile on eSalon’s website, Kious moved to San Francisco from Las Vegas. Kious says on that page that she has certifications from Vidal Sassoon Academy, Goldwell Color Specialist, Hot Heads Extensions and GK Keratin. Kious adds that she is a specialist in hair coloring and highlights, especially with blondes. The profile says, “Erica has an eye for style and fashion but also recognizes the need for feeling beautiful in ‘your’ own skin.” A basic cut-and-style for women costs between $60 and $100 for women and $55 for men. In the wake of the scandal involving Pelosi, Kious has been receiving complimentary reviews on her personal Yelp page.
On her Hair by Erica Kious Instagram page, Kious says she is the owner of three salons in San Francisco and that she also takes clients in Fresno. Kious lists Fresno as her hometown on Facebook. An online profile for Kious’ Fresno business describes her as being a native of the city. The bio says that Kious’ “heart” is in Fresno. Kious’ LinkedIn page lists her as a graduate of Orange Coast College and Lyles College of Beauty.
Kious says on her personal Instagram page that she is a horse rider, cyclist, bodybuilder, stylist and salon owner. The page has been set to private.
On Facebook, Kious recently posted in early August she would be moving part-time to Tennessee. She wrote on August 6, “My new PT home!!! In love with Tennessee!!! And the red barn is Justin Timberlake’s 😎😎#tennessee #tennesseelife #countrymusic #countryliving #tennesseewhiskey.” At the time of writing, Kious is friends with DeNardo on Facebook.
5. The Wife of a ‘Perennial’ Republican Political Candidate Has Set Up a GoFundMe for Kious
Former Nevada Republican State Senator Danny Tarkanian’s wife, Amy Tarkanian, set up a GoFundMe page in an attempt to help Kious relocate her business due to threats. Amy Tarkanian tweeted in support of Kious, “She has received an outpour of praise & thanks, but also many death threats. She is having others pack up her belongings because she fears returning.”
Online records show that in June 2010, Kious donated $300 to one of Danny Tarkanian’s political campaigns. The Associated Press has described Tarkanian as a “perennial candidate.” At the time of writing, the fundraising page has raised over $25,000. The goal of the page is $300,000.