Every week we patiently (or not) wait for Beauty Schooled aka Brow-guru Rashida B to post her newest blog on the image maker of the week. Now these are not just your everyday hairstylists, make up artists or wardrobe creators (no disrespect to the everyday beautifier ) but these are the most coveted professionals within the beauty industry and she snags interviews with them daily and asks them the questions we all want to know.
Often when other bloggers post articles on the artists she has featured, Rashida will Re-Tweet the link and tag them as “image makers”! Well, one day While doing my daily tweet- check in I noticed a blog post from @afrobella (blogger extraordinaire) on Rashida B and I retweeted it and tagged it “imaged maker” as a joke. However, at that very moment, a light bulb went off and I wondered to myself if people REALLY know the true person behind the tweezers. So I decided to turn the tables on one of Chicago and Miami’s most sought after brow & makeup specialists and provide you with a rare look behind the brand!
So sit back grab a cup of tea and join me as I “pluck” her brain!!
Anika Kai: Welcome Rashida, how does it feel to be on the “other side” of the keyboard?
Rashida B.: This is sooo strange for me, I've done dozens of interviews but they're always about what I do and not about me, personally. So, I'll be honest I'm a little nervous. So be easy.
Anika Kai: So tell me when you first fell in love with your tweezers??
Rashida B.: June 8, 19umm yeah…LOL, I’d just gotten my eyebrows done for my senior prom by this amazing Polish lady Margaret, she waxed them but said that I could keep them tidy with tweezers. I literally used to stand in the mirror waiting for a hair to grow so I could tweeze it away. Before she had at them… my brows were crazy and bushy, the transformation was incredible. That’s when my obsession with brows also began. From that moment I would stare at other people and think… hmmm if we could just remove some hair right there…
Anika Kai: So many people think that being a well known and in-demand beauty expert is glamorous can you tell everyone what a day in the life of Rashida B. looks like?
Rashida B.: Oh wow it changes from day to day… I’m in the studio most Sundays through Tuesday, Wednesday – Friday in the morning are reserved for house calls. Wednesday – Friday evenings I’m in class until 10:00 p.m. and all day on Saturdays. I generally do my writing early mornings and late nights along with answering email, and returning phone calls, homework and reading. I read a lot mostly business books and beauty and fashion magazines. I also do tons of internet research it helps me predict beauty trends and stay on the cutting edge of things, and that’s my modified schedule! LOL Before I became ill in January I worked five days a week doing as many as thirty-five clients a day, I had over five hundred clients in Chicago and nearly two hundred in Miami where I’d go and work a week then fly back to Chicago and start it all over again. There’s nothing like a serious illness to help you put things into perspective. It may not sound like it but I really have slowed down a lot.
I absolutely love what I do, but it’s far from glamorous. Do I get invited to cool parties and events and try new products before everyone else? Yes, but that’s not everyday most days it’s work.
Anika Kai: What motivates you to get out of the bed in the a.m.?
Rashida B.: It's knowing that there’s a great possibility that I’m going to make someone’s day that day. Whether it’s by giving a new client the brows of their dreams or by helping her find the right foundation or skincare product or giving that up and coming artist words of encouragement to sustain them another day. Those are the things that bring me joy each day. I never approach the day thinking… what is the universe going to give me today. People who do that are only setting themselves up for disappointment.
Anika Kai: How many times have you reinvented yourself? Who did you start out as? (career)
Rashida B.: I started off as Rashida the accountant which is what my Dad thought I should be. This “beauty thing” has always been in me though. I did all my friends makeup for prom I used to cut and dye, glue, sew, braid you name it my own hair in high school. When I was in sixth grade I got a spanking for hot combing my own hair once. If I had had my way, I would have attended beauty school immediately after high school but being the first generation child of Nigerian parents in America that wasn’t happening. So off to college I went. I did hair, makeup, brows and nails in my dorm to make extra cash. It’s funny how I’ve come full circle. I suppose you could say that was my first reinvention to get me here to this place today. There is more though I’m not done yet…
Anika Kai: So you started out as an accountant? Wow… how do you go from accountant to beauty guru? Can you tell me how you mapped that process out?
Rashida B.: This beauty thing has always been in me. In 2002 I decided to quit my job so that I could attend esthetics school. I was working for a real-estate development firm that took a big hit after 9/11. I’d already registered for the October program and was saving my money when I was laid off in June four months shy of the start of my program. It was a blessing because I was able to take my severance and draw unemployment, while everyone else was sad I was ecstatic. I wanted to start school right away. Near the middle of my program I enrolled in the makeup artistry program at Columbia College. So I did esthetics by day and makeup artistry at night. I worked in a salon for a year after that, while I worked on my business plan, then I rented a small space inside of a nail salon right across the street from where my studio is now. I was there for a year before opening The B Spot Chicago. Next to giving birth to my son that was my second proudest moment, because it showed me that my clients believed in me and the future of my business. My clients prepaid for services so that I could secure and remodel the space. It was meant to be… I sent them an email announcing the space that I’d found and offered them the chance to prepay for services at a discounted rate and in less than two weeks I had over fourteen thousand dollars.
Before that time I can’t tell you how many “friends” and family members swore it couldn’t be done.
I’m saying that to say don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do, if you truly have the talent and drive don’t be afraid to follow your passion. Also, for anyone on the fence get off the fence and get started today it’s never too late to start, or in some cases start again.
Anika Kai: Think back to Rashida at age 7, what did she want to be?
Rashida B.: Oh wow, okay don’t laugh but I wanted to be a ballerina or a Broadway stage actress. I was so in love with the Nutcracker and Annie, I would run around the house singing 'Tomorrow' and 'Hard Knock Life', I drove my dad absolutely insane! I was in all the plays in elementary school, I was in my element on stage I wasn't the little girl with the funny name with parents with funny accent when I was on stage. Then I got a little older and wondered why on earth no one told me I was tone deaf! Singing is not one of my strong suits and in fact I just learned how to dance. LOL In my head I’d like to think I’m still on stage now, just a different kind.
Anika Kai: What inspired you to start the blog site “Beauty Schooled!”
Rashida B.: With the exception of the interviews all of the links and info that you see in the side bars are things that I had researched over the years, I get dozens of email each week from beauty pros, especially estheticians across the country wanting to know things like how did I perfect my tweezing because they don’t really put a lot of emphasis on that in school, to how’d I get in so many magazines and who is my publicist. Even publicists are shocked to find out that I don’t have a publicist.
I wanted the blog to answer some of those questions as well as to be a resource and a place for inspiration to others. I think it’s important for us to see others doing well and to hear their stories and their struggles. Reality television has got people all twisted thinking that this thing comes easy. It’s a lot of hard work, there’s a lot of dues to be paid and being cute, sexy or charismatic is not what lands you the job. We didn’t “happen” into this industry because we’re not smart, and we don’t all sleep until noon, work a few hours and pop champagne the rest of the night.
I work hard and there are hundreds of others out there that work even harder than me. When I first started I’d invested so much in my education and my kits that there was barely money for the necessities never mind designer duds and exotic vacations. Those are the stories that I felt needed to be told because there are so many folk out there fronting. I love the candor of the artists in the Image Maker interviews. I just really hope that people are listening.
Anika Kai: Are you working on anything new?
Rashida B.: I’m working on a quite a bit right now. I attended the Artist Summit over the weekend and it’s inspired me to write a short e-book which will be downloadable from the blog soon. It will be a quick crash course in beauty branding, marketing, goal planning, pricing strategies and etiquette a lot of it will be true life examples of either things I’ve experienced personally or people that I know have. I’m also back in beauty school learning nail technology I’ll be done in December I have HUGE plans for that… however I can’t spill on that just yet. I’m also planning a big move in 2010 once I’ve gotten all the medical stuff out of the way and I’m cleared by my physicians. It was a toss up between Miami and New York, but it definitely seems like I’ll be heading to Miami, I've already built a huge and loyal following there so it just makes sense. However I won't be stationary I’ll be splitting my time between Miami and New York instead of Miami and Chicago. I’m saying so long to the Windy City. ***Updated 3/17*** Rashida B. was signed by Artists by Timothy Priano Chicago, so she remains in the Windy City for now.
Anika Kai: What differentiates you from the other eyebrow technicians?
Rashida B.: I’m an artist. I sculpt brows with my tweezers and only my tweezers, none of those funny brow stencils or wax and stuff. I’ve also studied the psychology of women and their brows… it’s kind of an obsession for me. I really do eat sleep and breathe it. I often find myself staring at people and really what I’m doing is shaping their brows in my head.
Anika Kai: What do you attribute your success to?
Rashida B.: Once I make it, I’ll let you know. LOL, No seriously, I wouldn’t define myself as a success just yet. I work hard and I set goals for myself daily, weekly, monthly and yearly and I actively work towards those goals each day. Everything I do is not a success but I never give up. Giving up is never an option. More important than any of that, I pray a lot and I’m always consulting with Him to make sure that I’m moving towards what He would have for me because He wants me to have the best. There are times when His affirmations are all around me that it’s no denying that it’s God, I love it because it stops the naysayers dead in their tracks.
Anika Kai: If you weren’t in the beauty industry what would you be doing?
Rashida B.: I’d either be an interior designer or chef either way I’d still definitely be writing. I love love decorating -- watching an empty space come alive. I did the studio myself I get so many compliments on it, I never get tired of hearing them… every time I do it makes me smile… it’s my other baby (I’m smiling now).
Anika Kai: Tell me something people would be surprised to find out about you?
Rashida B.: That I’m a home body. That when I’m not working, I’d really rather be at home, with good food, snuggled up on the sofa.
Anika Kai: Who are some of your mentors (known and unknown) and what makes you look to them?
Rashida B.: My Dad, he’s always encouraged me to be my best, he definitely “stretches” me. Marica Kilgore the founder of Bliss Spa… I study her every move she has an incredible business mind. I also learn things from a lot of people every single day, not just industry things but life lessons in general I love to hear other people’s stories I feel like you can never know too much.
Anika Kai: Who would you most like to work with in the beauty industry?
Rashida B.: Oh wow there are many, Babak the photographer who’s work I’ve marveled over for years… his photos inspire, Danna Gibbs of Dana’s Loft who is also incredibly warm and inspiring she’s made the leap by opening a salon in London, Keith Campbell that brother has an amazing mind and his energy is infectious, Sophy Robson, London’s “it nail girl” whose talent is undeniable I’d LOVE to apprentice under her. There are so many other people that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person and via other mediums this year that have inspired me in different ways. It’s been an incredibly blessed year for me in spite of.
Anika Kai: What celebrity would you most want to work on?
Rashida B.: You. Sounds so cliché-ish I know, but every single client to me is a celebrity in his or her own right they're someone’s child, possibly someone sister or brother, mother or father, husband or wife. They're someone’s VIP and deserve to be treated as such.
Anika Kai: What are some of your favorite industry tools and products?
Rashida B.: There are so many as a product junkie my favorite product is always my next favorite product. However some of my staples are my Rubis tweezers I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without them. I have at least three dozen pairs so that I’m never without one. Jan Marini Skincare and my Clarisonic Skincare Brush, my Shu Uemura Cleansing oil, MD Skincare Alpha Beta Peel and my Give train case.
Anika Kai: What are your biggest client pet peeves?
Rashida B.: Oh wow, can I write that here you’re trying to get me in trouble. I would have to say rudeness and that comes in many many forms from being consistently late for appointments to being condescending to other guests in the studio. For the most part my clients are awesome but occasionally I'll get that one or two that leave me saying, “WOW!”
Anika Kai: You have often been heard saying “waxing is evil” can you explain that statement to us?
Rashida B.: LOL… Yes, waxing is evil and that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! You know in esthetics school and even in the consumer magazines you always hear that the eye area is delicate, it’s the first area that shows the sign of aging you should pamper it, use your ring finger and pat lightly etc etc… it just doesn’t make sense to me that you would then slather hot wax all over and rip the skin off with a wax strip. A lot of my clients regularly get microderm or chemical peels or have had plastic surgery, use retinols or are on Accutane so waxing is a big NO for them anyway.
Anika Kai: I know that threading is all the rage now as well, what are your thoughts on it?
Rashida B.: There are some awesome threaders out there who do a great job, it’s a completely different art from what I do. I mean I know some amazing brow waxers too.
My recommendation is that consumers should educate themselves by doing some research before choosing a technician and method that’s right for them.
Anika Kai: Thank you for your time, final question... if you could leave a legacy what would it be?
Rashida B.: That I made people feel like they mattered, and that I cared… deeply.