Meet Mema

Meet Mema!

-Recipient of our first #mgBodyConfidence Makeover - Student Edition Series

Mema is a student at One7 Academy, here in Charlotte. About 18 months ago, she moved from a small community in Uganda where they speak Swahili. The transition was difficult for her.

Moving to a new home and trying to make new friends was overwhelming, intimidating, and downright scary. On top of that, she was bullied and called “ugly” and the “N” word.

One day, she blurted out, “I want my hair straight like yours. Take me to get my hair done like yours.” She was talking to Felisa, her tutor. Felisa is African American; she has beautiful natural hair that she usually wears straight - it gently rests on her shoulders or sways back and forth in a cute ponytail. Mema’s requests caught Felisa off guard, but as she spent more time with Mema, she learned that Mema was battling some serious self-esteem issues.

That’s when Felisa reached out to me. Here is the text Felisa wrote to me:

"Today the little girl I tutor told me she wanted to wear her hair like mine. She told me that kids she thought were her friends called her ugly ni%%#r. She asked me about 5 times today if I thought she was pretty. She then brought me into the bathroom so she could look in the mirror and asked me to take down her braids. I told her she was beautiful and that I loved her dark skin and that it was like mine. She smiled. The #mgBodyConfidence movement is needed!"

Immediately, I knew Mema was an excellent candidate for a #mgBodyConfidence Makeover. It would be important to provide her with not only an external makeover but also share body confidence information that included hygiene and self-care.

When I first met Mema, I knew she was special. She had a unique way of connecting with others and she had no problem asking for what she wanted.

As part of the makeover, I wanted to make sure Mema’s peers played a part in the process. I contacted Ms. Shanae Starnes, who has a high school cosmetology program at North Meck High School. Together, we thought it would be great for a student to provide hair service to Mema. Jalen, a North Meck student, did a wonderful job on Mema’s natural hair. She gave Mema tips on how to maintain her hair as she periodically reminded Mema of how beautiful she was. You can view a quick gallery of the makeover below:

Mema, her sister and the HeadMaster of One7 Academy

Makeup Application: Olivia Heyward

Styling: Jeris Johnson

Hair: North Meck Cosmetology (Ms Starnes, Director)

Photography: MossGirls Photography

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