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Life & Work with Oreo of Ceo Signature Salon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Oreo .

Hi Oreo, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I was kinda thrown into learning to do hair at a young age, being in different groups/foster homes. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with making others feel so much better and more confident about themselves. Over the years, I never made it my priority to do hair but always made it my side hustle. Unfortunately, due to my actions, I was incarcerated for several years, which was my way through it. I didn’t have support on the outside, so I made my way to doing locs and braids. Once released, life wasn’t necessarily the best, and I was homeless with my children. Yet again, the one thing I loved doing the most (outside of being a momma) got my children and me through some of our lives’ most challenging times. After becoming stable and making the best of our lives, I decided to stop working for others and do my best. I believe my turning point is when I was fired from a job for being to city.  LBVS That was it for me. I refused to allow anyone else to dictate how I would make my money. Life was great, getting better and better, then one day, it all changed for the worst. I was headed to the shop I worked in and got hit by a semi on the highway. I was told he fell asleep at the wheel, causing me to spin out and hit the guard rail.

Being spun back out and hit again, he dragged me, and I hit the barrier under a bridge. I was internally decapitated from the accident, jaw shattered and face sliced open. I passed away on the scene and was brought back. I ended up in a coma for about 3 weeks. While in my coma, I coded twice, caught a blood infection, and went into respiratory arrest. Upon waking up, I couldn’t talk, and I had severe brain damage and memory loss, and I think the worst part was the left side of my body didn’t work at all, and my legs. I remember lying there and thinking, this can’t be my life. This can’t be what I was meant for. Not only paralyzed in my legs but never to do hair again!!! How would I take care of my kids? How would I make a living being disabled and living off the state? I have 3 exceptional children, one of them being autistic and my other two so very smart yet fighting their demons mentally. I sat in a rehab hospital for a few months, refusing to lay there and give up. Oh, but I wanted to, I wanted to go back to sleep and accept my fate, but that would have been selfish of me to leave my kids here while I took the easy way out. So I fought. I worked to make my left arm work again when I didn’t need to. I worked to get my speech back to the point where I could come home and make the best of my circumstances. It was 2 years since my accident, on May 21, 2022, and even my doctors can’t believe how far I’ve come. I don’t have full function in my left arm, but you’d never know that. I do hair every chance I get to get some normalcy in our lives. My right leg is fully functioning, while I am paralyzed in my left. I am wheelchair-bound, yet I can use a walker for short distances when I have my orthotic on. It isn’t easy. And I’m in constant pain from all the nerve damage, and I’m always pushing myself past my point. There are days I wake up and panic cause my body doesn’t work, but eventually, it comes around, and I get right back to it. It shocks and amazes people when they come to me to get their hair done and see I’m in a wheelchair and still able to do what I love! This isn’t the end of my story, and I refuse to let this be my reality. One day I will walk mabey with an orthotic or a walker, but I will walk and make a name for myself and my children.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I’ve never had a smooth road. I was in and out of homes when I was younger. I got in trouble at a young age, becoming incarcerated. I was a teen mom, leaving my kids out while incarcerated. Once released and bringing them back, it was even harder. I went from being homeless and having nothing to getting stable, to have a car accident and getting pushed back almost to where I started.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I do hair, mainly locs and braids of multiple sorts. I am proud of my knowledge of natural hair and my passion for it. My passion is locs. I love teaching others about their hair, where it comes from, and the best way to maintain it—helping them find them thru their hair. My clients feel that from me, hear it in my words, and I think the compassion I have for someone is what sets me apart. It’s not just about giving someone a service or style. I teach them, service them, and uplift them, each in a different manner. I guess what they need at the time. I take pride in my work and refuse to let anyone leave unsatisfied.

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
Don’t be scared to ask for help or ask questions. The worst thing someone can tell you or say to you is no. Most people are full of information to share with someone who just doesn’t know-how.
I am a very straightforward person, and I don’t hold my tongue. If I have questions, I ask if I feel compelled to speak about something I do. I just got to find the right way to approach or respond.

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