TractHer TrailHer’s Diva of the Month is Shanitra Hughes.
Shanitra Hughes is a wife, mother of two, student and one of the baddest hair stylists in the ATL. She discovered her passion for hair at a very young age and began working her magic on family and friends. By the time she was a senior in HS, she was styling all the girls hair in the neighborhood and at her high school. Around prom she would get at least a dozen clients and she wasn’t even licensed yet. She got plenty of practice on her two sisters, who didn’t mind because we were taking advantage of free hairstyles lol. All that practice paid off when she attended Proway Hair School in Decatur and got her professional license a little over a year ago. She has worked in a shop but has recently resorted to being a mobile stylist because she found it to work better for her and her busy schedule.
I followed Shanitra around for a couple of days just to catch a glimpse of her creativity and hair techniques. To my surprise I learned quite a bit about my own sister when I interviewed her and was surprised by just how much she knows about hair care and how she’s maintains balance in her life.
THTH: I am always looking for positive women making a difference in the community to feature on my blog as my Diva of the month. I admire your for so many reasons because I’ve watched how you’ve grown over the years. The most thing I admire is how you seem to maintain balance in your life as a wife, mother, student and hair stylist. How do you find ways to fit everything into your daily life?
Shanitra Hughes: First of all, God! He’s my source and my strength as well as my kids. I have a great, supportive husband and I also get help from my mom and sisters. I do have to ask God for strength on that level.
THTH: I know you love being a wife and mother, but what is your true passion as it relates to your career? Let me guess… hair?
Shanitra Hughes: Yes it is, my true passion is hair, my number one love because that’s the first thing people see when they look at you. Your hair says who you are. I also love makeup as well but hair is my first love.
THTH: How long have you been doing hair?
Shanitra Hughes: I started being interested in hair about age 14, so I’ve been doing hair for a little over 13 years but professionally over a year.
THTH: When someone sits in your chair to get their hair done, how does it make you feel when you see the end result?
Shanitra Hughes: Well, the end results are like WOW for me especially depending on how the client feels. When the client is satisfied, it really makes me feel like I’ve done my job knowing that I made them feel beautiful and have enhanced the beauty that was already there.
THTH: Do you ever have difficult clients that are never satisfied no matter what you do?
Shanitra Hughes: I think I only have one so far, but I haven’t run into that much just yet but I think I only had one so far. Unless they haven’t told me. I really haven’t run into that much though thankfully.
THTH: Would you say hair and make-up go hand in hand?
Shanitra Hughes: Yes I believe so. I wish I could elaborate more but yeah it truly does.
THTH: What have been some of your challenges with being a hair stylist?
Shanitra Hughes: Just wanting to do everything because it’s a lot of stuff about hair, different hair types, such as natural hair, then those with weaves and extension so just pretty much trying to find a balance to say I specialize in and stick with that one thing. I would like to be more universal but I think at times when dealing with different style types it can be difficult.
THTH: Your husband is a barber as well, how does that work out for you all?
Shanitra Hughes: It’s been really good because it seems so much easier for him to make more money in the industry verses myself. It also works out because we have a son and we don’t have to pay for haircuts lol.
THTH: Do you dream of having your own shop one day?
Shanitra Hughes: I do but I don’t know if I’m ready for that responsibility right now.
THTH: With everyone going “natural” these days, do you think natural is really better or just a fad?
Shanitra Hughes: I think it just depends on the person and their hair and what their health issue is. It’s not just the hair itself. It may be based on their health as well so some people are going natural just because of health reasons because their medications conflict with the chemicals. Some people are allergic to certain chemicals as well.
Meiqua Shepherd: What beauty tips do you advise women as it relates to hair, make-up, enhancing beauty etc.?
THTH: For hair, to always wash it at least once a week, protein treatments and conditioning. Conditioning is very important because it helps keep your hair moisturized.Cleanse skin properly everyday. Be sure to have well arched and maintained eyebrows.Makeup application be sure to clean their brushes so they can avoid getting infections in their eyes. Be sure to discard eyeshadows and eyelines after about 3 months because that will also limit infections as well.
Meiqua Shepherd: What do you do to give back to the community?
THTH: Every year, I volunteer with Hosea Feed the Hungry and provide free hair services to the homeless. I also have volunteered and provided free hairstyles for low income families children for back to school.
During our interview, Shanitra was doing a full head sew-in on one of her clients and I got to see it from start to finish. Here are some pictures of Shanitra hard at work doing what she does best.
The end result, simply GORGEOUS! If you want to get Shantastic, be sure to contact her at http://betterfly.com/shantastichair I promise you won’t be disappointed!
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