Written By: Stephanie Scott
I went to bed with the shocking news that my friend Antwon Jackson passed away a couple weeks ago. For the world, he was an Emmy-Award winning hairstylist known for his amazing work as Wendy Williams’, of The Wendy Williams Show, wigologist. To me, he was kindness, positivity, wisdom, laughter at a BBQ and the holder of the brightest glow. As I searched for comfort, a mutual friend post this video of him speaking about how he found the courage to follow his dream and break into the beauty industry. I wanted to share it with you to let his light shine and live on with all of us and to share some of his strength, courage and wisdom. We work in a BEAUTY-full industry and I’m constantly asked how to be a part of it. Here is Antwon’s advice for breaking in and staying in.
- Build a genuine relationship with your contacts but don’t overwhelm them. - Even though Antwon was living thousands of miles away from New York City in North Carolina, he was not willing to give up on his dream. When reaching out to make new professional connections, he called with a purpose and made sure not to overwhelm them. “I learned how to call. Only once, every Friday.”
- Always be a professional. Don’t bring your personal problems to work. - “My issues and my problems are mine. No one else's. I did not take them through that door.” Antwon demonstrated this by being on set at The Wendy Williams show every day with a warm and inviting smile on his face. He had a way of making everyone feel special.
- Don’t listen to the “no’s” and reasons why not. Follow your dreams and make it happen no matter what - even with just $50 or less -After being so excited about getting his chance to come out to New York to show off his talent, Antwon realized that he had booked the flight for the wrong day. “So here I am with $50 in my pocket, I made the conscious decision to drive to New York. An 8 hour drive that I had never driven before.” He did this knowing that he’d only have a couple of hours before his early morning call time but was determined and stopped at nothing to follow his dreams and share his gift.
- Research, research, research. This industry is full of inspiration and endless resources to stay educated on your craft and develop your voice. - “When you see something in a magazine that blows you away, research it. Who did the makeup? Who did the photography? After that, I knew what I liked and I knew I liked clean hair and really nice makeup.”
- Always do your best and show off your personality. Believe in your Gift and be prepared to share it with others when the time is right. - “Be true to yourself, hone in on your craft, know who you are and maintain your integrity. No one has to give up their seat for you, they will just slide over for you. There is room for everyone.” I love this piece of advice because my friends and I are always looking out for each other and new beauties that we’ve just met. We don’t live in a “monkeys in a barrel” world - there’s enough greatness for everyone so be a light not a closed door.
My heart goes out to Antwon’s family. May he rest in peace and continue to be an inspiration for us all.
A few of the designs created by the Emmy-Award Winning Artist. (Image courtesy of Instagram/Memsor Kamarake)