When it comes to entrepreneurs, game-changers and the overall hustle and bustle, women are definitely on the rise! Whether it’s in your city, on your TV screen, or your Instagram “Explore” page and newsfeed, if you look around, female success stories are happening everywhere.
However, while we are #winning with our #blackgirlmagic, girl gurus don’t always stick together. But with their nationwide “Business, Fun & Beauty” tour, behind-the-scenes industry heavyweights Sheena Edwards and Afea Sharee plan to change all that.
Hosted by Love & Hip Hop’s JuJu, the tour kicks off in Clifton, NJ. Miss CM caught up with co-organizer, author and makeup artist Sheena E. to talk about the focus of this event, and why female entrepreneurs everywhere should jump aboard this girl gang train.
Miss CM: You’ve worked in the entertainment industry as a celeb makeup artist for quite some time, and you’re now a published author. Give us a little background info on who you are and what you do.
Sheena E.: I’m the perfect example of life coming full circle. I always wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl, but beauty and glamour became my passion in high school. I have worked in the beauty industry for over 10 years doing hair and makeup for film and theater; mostly locally in Opera Philadelphia, shows like Jersey Boys and The Color Purple.
I’ve also done personal shopping for professional athletes and product placement for music videos; working closely with celeb wardrobe stylists way back in the day, like the early 2000’s. I went to college fresh out of high school and majored in English. I had my first child in 2002 and decided to go to hair school. Fresh out of school, I was able to work my way into the theater, and the rest is history.
In 2013, my daughter [Sheena’s youngest and second child] was diagnosed with autism. I had just finished a big film [Streets, starring Meek Mill] and I had released my own cosmetic line, but basically had to quit everything and devote 100% of my time and energy into my daughter. With autism came depression, a lot of pain and hurt. I started writing letters to my daughter—who was nonverbal at the time—and those letters, and my personal experiences, birthed my first novel Along Came Autism, which I self-published and released in 2016.
I have since written a children’s book co-authored by my daughter called Get to Know Monroe. I pretty much became an advocate for special needs. The books became my therapy, and also my way of educating the community about autism. I put myself on a mission to inspire other single mothers like me struggling to dream in a life full of ups and downs.
My latest book #BeInspired is the sum of all my efforts. It’s a guide to helping others stay focused and push through obstacles in order to be successful. I still work in the theater when I can; the beauty industry will always be a part of who I am—[but] writing was my first love. I never thought it would be autism that would make me write, but I’m happy it happened this way.
How did you and your co-organizer, Afea Sharee [who’s a celeb strategic communitcator], come together to create this Business, Fun & Beauty event?
Afea and I met because we both have children with autism. We ended up having so much other stuff in common. Over the past few years, we have built a tight bond. She works in communications, so when I finished my first book, she helped me out with press—this was our first time ‘mixing friendship and business.’ And for us, it worked; we made a good team. So I started thinking about how other women should be using their connections/friends in business as well. That’s where [our] slogan “When Women Get Together, We Win Together” comes from.
We sat down one day and I said, “You know, we basically only talk about business, fun and beauty,” most female entrepreneurs do! We try to take care of business, have a little fun, and look and feel good while doing it. Business, Fun & Beauty is about collaboration.
How did JuJu come into play for the Jersey stop?
When we sat down and decided to do the tour, I started thinking about women that have been successful at business; also females that have reinvented themselves. And of course, women that I admired for one reason or another. That’s where JuJu came in. We were doing New Jersey for the tour and I knew she was on Love & Hip Hop, and I also knew that she was into the emotional well-being of other women.
I thought she was the perfect person to introduce to the Business Fun & Beauty brand. The plan is to introduce the idea of working together and winning, bringing female business owners from the same city together to share their stories, and inspire others to push through whatever may stand in their way and get it done. Often, women feel like we have to compete with one another, when that’s really not the case. We all can win, and we can do it together.
Why is this event important to you and your co-organizers?
It’s important to me because I know there’s a need for events like this all over the world. We as women need to see how powerful we are together. I know I have a story to share with the world and I want to inspire and encourage as many as I can. Everyone involved feels the same as I do. We just want to change the norm, and see a shift in how women treat one another.
Jersey is the first stop [April 8], but what are the locations and dates of the tour’s other stops?
This is a full-on tour [smiles]. We will be in Richmond, Virginia April 22 and Raleigh, North Carolina April 30.. We are taking a short break and then doing Alabama and some others cites TBA. We are partnering with local entrepreneurs and we will have different co-hosts in each city.
What can women expect to get out of this event? What’s the main lesson you want women to take away from it?
You can expect to learn something about yourself, as well as get to know me and Afea. We will be sharing [our stories] on a personal and professional level. You can expect to be inspired to dream bigger and work harder. There will be shopping, a Q&A session, and you will leave renewed and ready to win spiritually and in business.
For more info on upcoming tour dates, follow Sheena E on Instagram and Twitter:
To buy tickets for the Clifton, NJ stop, visit: