8. The First Woman to Break the Sound Barrier is Connected to Saks Fifth Avenue

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Considered to be one of the most gifted pilots of her generation, Jacqueline “Jackie” Cochran was a pioneer in American aviation and the first woman to break the sound barrier on May 18, 1953. (This is just one bullet point on a long list of “firsts” — she was the first woman be inducted into the Aviation Hall of Fame, the first woman to take off from an aircraft carrier…)

Prior to her historic career in aviation, however, she worked a number of odd jobs, including a gig as a cosmetic sales associate and hair stylist at Saks Fifth Avenue salon, Antoine’s.

It wasn’t until the early 1930s that she began taking flying lessons at Roosevelt Airfield, Long Island. “…when I paid for my first lesson, a beauty operator ceased to exist and an aviator was born,” Cochran stated. She learned how to fly in just three weeks and earned her commercial pilot’s license before the age of 30. Very shortly afterward, in 1938, she earned the title of the best female pilot in the United States.