BLACKWASH Publisher, Oludare Sorunke meets New York based celebrity beautician, Saajida O’Quinn to get insights about her personal care brand, the challenges of black curvy models, joy and pain of entrepreneurs.
Saajida O’Quinn is of multiple heritage. The 5feet 7inches plus-sized model is a licensed cosmetologist and body advocate. At 18, she moved to New York to attend Brooklyn College for her Bachelor of Arts in Film Production. She received her Cosmetology licence from the prestigious Empire Beauty School. In a short period, she has turned her craft into a successful business. Saajida has collaborated with notable celebrities like Nicole Ari Parker, Rochelle Aytes and Poppy Montgomery She has also partnered with reputable brands such as African Mall, Luxx Curves, Fashion Nova Curve, Six in Beauty, Glamour Swimwear and many others.
The divorcee-mother of a soccer loving boy wants to revisit love again. Visit Saajida’s Eyebrows Inc and treat yourself to the best of eyebrow tweezing, face waxing, bridal packages, make-up class, tattoo, teeth whitening, microblading and micro shading.
We’ll like to meet the face behind Saadija’s Eyebrows Inc.
I’m Saajida O’Quinn, founder and President, Saajida’s Eyebrows Inc. located in New York City, United States of America. I set up the personal care brand in 2014. I also have an online store that anyone is welcome to dive in; www.saajidabrows.com, www.thingscury.com.
I have mixed parentage. I was born in Panama, my grandparents are from West Africa, West Indies and North-Eastern Europe. I am considered an Afro Latina and Black Queen.
I have a Bachelor of Arts degree-B. A from Brooklyn College, New York and a license in Cosmetology from Empire Beauty School. I also have a Tattoo license. After the pandemic, I acquired a Class A CDL license.
Tell us about the #yahoo#jcpenney event for curvy models.
As a celebrity beautician and make-up artist, I attend many red-carpet events to network, catch up with old and new friends and acquaint myself with new trends in the industry. The event was organized by theCURVYcon. The founders are lifestyle influencers Chastity Garner Valentine and Cece Olisa. The yearly event brings together fashion designers, fitness experts, influencers and speakers to advocate for body positivity, unite, encourage and empower plus size women. Passionate curvy consumers were able to have meaningful conversations with executives in the plus-size fashion industry.
Do you think black curvy models are representing well in the industry?
My honest answer is no. Black curvy models have not represented well. I’m of the opinion that people are using our image to exploit us. I’m a free Agent. For many years, I’ve met with brick wall while trying to model for some brands. The barrier, though appears invisible, is very stiff and I think the reasons are both political and cultural.
Major platform algorithms often ban or penalize us because the systems frown at plus-size curvy women. I am usually bullied for no reason on Instagram, which has impacted my income. The systems have been programmed in such a way that the Artificial Intelligence-A.I reads my body wrong, even with full clothes on and there is no one to take complaints and enquiries. So, everything is blamed on the computer. The plus-size community needs to unite and support one another. I’ve also noticed that we plus-size models are our own problems.
What is your opinion about body shaming?
Body shaming shouldn’t be tolerated. Instead, we should encourage one another to live healthier lives by having healthy eating habits and regular physical exercise. I eat healthy and exercise regularly, yet I’m thick. There are a lot of us that are healthy but thick.
I do believe that being overweight and unhealthy isn’t good either.
Last year, I made a song, Organica la Reina (Love Your Body), where I advocated that we love who we are and the skin we are in.
How did you know entrepreneurship was for you?
I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I love freedom and the opportunity to take decisions as I want, but there are many challenges that come with it, especially after the pandemic.
You’re an entrepreneur. What are your pains?
My pain is not being able to have adequate capital to run my business. It takes a strong cash flow and the right support system to stay afloat in this industry.
What makes Saadija’s Eyebrows Inc unique? Why should anyone patronise you?
Saajida Eyebrows is very unique because we provide great service to our clients. My clients often tell me that they feel brand new and experience an unusual positive energy every time they leave my chair. We make sure their brows are perfect, their skin glow. They keep coming back because our products are suitable for every skin type. That’s how I’ve maintained an extensive celebrity clientele.
After your personal care brand, what next?
After the pandemic, I decided to learn how to drive tractors, trailers and trucks, so I trained to acquire a Class A CDL license. I’m also learning the truck / logistics business. I want to venture into places that have never been taken.
What will you do if you’re not into beauty and personal care?
Honestly, I really can’t imagine doing any other thing apart from making people beautiful. I’m a football fan and my son plays football. Maybe I can consider investing in American football..
I’m a divorcee, waiting for the next king to find me.
How can people reach you?
See my contacts below;
Instagram; @saajidabrows, @organiccurves_, @things_curvy