Nikisha Brunson is part of Oxygen’s digital series In Progress 52. In 2016, Oxygen's Very Real digital hub is featuring 52 of these outstanding women: that's one woman a week, for 52 weeks. Check out the series here!
Don't let Nikisha Brunson's success fool you. The co-founder of Urban Bush Babes, a popular hub for natural hair, she appears effortless: poised, gorgeous and living every creative millennial's dream. But Nikisha's journey has been a long one, one of self-reflection and honesty. "It's been a long time in the making," she says.
Brunson is a Toronto native who was raised in Brooklyn. Growing up biracial (her mother is white and her father is Jamaican), she endured years of bullying and abuse as a teenager. "I saw changing my hair as the easiest way of fitting in." She became obsessed with her thick natural hair and turned to "relaxers, hot combs, flat irons, curling irons, blow driers, and lots of sheen."
So began a long path of self-discovery, which included depression, a teen pregnancy, and many doubts. She attained a Masters in Childhood Education to become a school teacher but says, "the creative field kept pulling me."
Nikisha found a natural-haired kindred spirit in her best friend Cipriana Quann. "One day she came over with this beautiful natural hairstyle that I'd never seen on her," Nikisha remembers. "We started talking about hair and we both realized we were passionate on how to take care of our hair. I was like, 'Would you do a blog with me?'"
The two women co-founded Urban Bush Babes in 2011. What began as a beauty resource for women with natural hair has evolved into covering fashion, health, music and arts and culture. "We wanted the blog to be a platform for women of color; show who they are instead of the stereotype," Nikisha says.
Today, Nikisha lives in Austin, Texas with her son and husband. In addition to Urban Bush Babes, she's able to pursue her own projects, like developing a handcrafted skincare line called Folie. "I just started to explore things and get into things I didn't realize I was passionate about," she says. "Incorporating my passions for teaching people and making things. Basically just exploring my journey."
She's already getting major looks. Solange Knowles recently featured products from Folie in her Saint Heron shop.
A believer of true beauty inside and out, Nikisha attributes her success with being honest and genuine— no matter what. "I've always been a very open person that likes to share, sometimes a little too much with people!" she says. "Whatever horrible things have happened. Whatever traumatic experiences or failures I've experienced, my purpose is to share it with other people. To help them overcome-or to be more open about-what they've gone through."
[Photo: Nikisha Brunson]