Image Source: Courtesy of Julian Addo
Too often, the best beauty stories go Untold, solely based on a person’s skin color, religion, gender expression, disability, or socioeconomic status. Here, we’re passing the mic to some of the most ambitious and talented voices in the industry, so they can share, in their own words, the remarkable story of how they came to be — and how they’re using beauty to change the world for the better. Up next: Julian Addo, founder of Adwoa Beauty.
Beauty has always been my entire life. I grew up in Staten Island, NY, and I came to this country when I was 2 years old as I was actually born in West Africa, Liberia. Beauty was all around me growing up in the inner cities of New York. Having grown up during the ’90s, that was the era for fashion and for hair. This was perfect because my first experience in this space was actually from me wanting to make money. I didn’t have a green card at the time to get a traditional job in fast food like my friends were doing after school. So circumstantially, through a friend I started doing hair. She was a . . . we call it “kitchen beautician,” so she did hair out of her house. I would go over, and first I’d just watch. But after a while, when she got very busy, I would help her.
After a while, I just picked up on certain hairstyles that were popular back then. Then I realized I was good at what I was doing — at replicating what I saw. So I started to do hair to make money, too. I ended up enrolling in a vocational school called Ralph McKee Vocational Technical High School to study