Success does not occur overnight nor is it handed to you. It has many meaningsÂ depending on your achievement. Some consider happiness and being free asÂ success. Curls Founder/Author Mahisha Dellinger is a prime example of thatÂ definition. The Oakland native who was raised by her drug dealing mother andÂ Rolling Blood gang brother witnessed many trials in her life. Her testimony speaksÂ volume and inspiration to many. Despite it all, her surroundings didnâ€™t Â keep her from climbing mountains and making it to the top. Mahisha has seen and done itÂ all from living in a gang infested neighborhood, working in racist CorporateÂ America and owning a multi-million dollar hair business. You wouldnâ€™t think oneÂ would endure so much pain from the look of her success. Her story Â is one of many.
Mahisha held a private, but public event with RSVP at the Hudson Terrace for anÂ in-depth discussion of her new book Against All Odds: From the Projects toÂ Penthouse ($10 event sale price). It is a story that has never really been toldÂ discussing the several stages of her life including sexual trauma, CorporateÂ America and the start of her business.
As I entered into the event, each area was advertised with different products fromÂ Curls. The first 50 guests to arrive received a special edition of a Curls t-shirt withÂ their goody bag. We were greeted by the Curls street team and other event staffÂ including hosts Shalleen-Kaye and Seana-Kaye aka the Kaye sisters. This dynamicÂ duo are the founders of Natural Hair Does Care. Before the main event, guestsÂ were treated to complimentary Curls Blueberry Bellini and food. The Kaye sistersÂ took photos and mingled with some of the guests. Mahisha graced the room withÂ her lovely presence with her bright smile and going around to greet everyone. IÂ briefly spoke to her and was amazed by her humble spirit. She was conversationalÂ and willing to speak to anyone when she had a chance.
A live google chat took place when the discussion began. After the introduction,Â the Kaye sisters began with a game. They asked Mahisha to give one word after aÂ topic was brought to her attention from the book. She referred to Oakland asÂ â€œmurderâ€ and other topics were sometimes three words. She touched on some ofÂ the most important issues including a traumatic experience that I will not discloseÂ due to sensitivity. It was a sexual trauma, which Mahisha had to reencounter andÂ fight back tears. She paused at one point as it took her back to somewhere thatÂ many often remain silent if spoken. The major factors of almost each chapter wereÂ discussed including meeting her husband, starting a small business and Capitol.
Before starting Curls, Mahisha was a Marketing Manager and one of the fewÂ African American women at Intel. Her decision to leave Corporate America wasÂ mostly due to racism and focusing on her career interest. Once she started brainÂ storming, researching chemist and other resources, Curls was born. The importanceÂ of education and researching were points for potential business owners. MahishaÂ believed that you donâ€™t necessarily have to return to school to start a business. But,Â using resources such as sites (score.org) that offers business tips and free businessÂ classes.
Once the discussion ended, the floor was open for a Q & A session with eventÂ guests and google chat users. Several of the questions asked were based on careerÂ advice and personal questions. Mahisha and the Kaye sisters took photos withÂ guests, spoke privately for personal discussions and signed copies of the book. IfÂ there is page that could be taking from a book, it would be Against all odds: fromÂ the Projects to Penthouse.
Images from the event: