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Daily Inspiration: Meet Adrianna Thomas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Adrianna Thomas.

Hi Adrianna, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I was born and raised in Orlando, Florida. I grew up in an area called Richmond Heights. It wasn’t the safest area at the time and I seen a lot of violence growing up but my parents always made sure that I stayed focus in school and protected me the best way they could. My upbringing actually inspired me to major in Criminology in college. I graduated from Florida A&M University in 2013 with a major in Criminology and minor in Public Administration.

My friends in Richmond Heights were naturally talented. Most of them were braiding hair in 5th grade and doing quick weaves by middle school. I grew up around hair, it was something that always fascinated me. By middle school, I was braiding hair at my dad’s house for $50, lol. Back then, micro braids aka “pinch plaits” were very popular and I could do an entire head within 5 hours which was amazing. My mom always thought I didn’t charge my worth but at that age $100 a day was a lot of money to me. I kept braiding from middle until high school, and thats when I discovered YouTube. I was originally on YouTube for a project. My AP psychology teacher gave us an assignment to research “colorism in America”. I ran across a video of a rapper degrading dark skin women and I decided to upload a response video. I was only about 17 years old at the time, and my response went viral. People were amazed that I was so young and brave enough to stand up for myself and other girls who looked like me. After learning more about YouTube, I discovered a lady by the name of Ateyaa and she was doing tutorials on her hair and I instantly became fascinated. She did a giveaway for some free makeup and I lost LOL however, my video gained a lot of views and a small following at the time which inspired me to post my own tutorials. That was in 2008 and now in 2021, I have over 45 million views and over 350K subscribers. My Partnership with YouTube has been a huge blessing in my life.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Growing up in front of strangers for 12 years on any platform, will bring challenges along the way. You consistently have people watching your every move or just following your journey. With that being said, it can be difficult trying to please everyone, especially when people have been watching you from the age of 17 to now 30. Some people will challenge your growth and others will support it. Outside of social media life, my biggest struggle over the years is finding balance. Balance with my social media endeavors, my beauty businesses, clients, relationships and working in my degree field. Sometimes, it’s hard for others to understand how stressful it can be when you have to choose one of these over the other. And there have been many times where I had to step back from one entity to work on another. I used to feel guilty, but as I’ve gotten older, I understand that it’s okay to take a step back. As a Scorpio who is very business-oriented, it is super hard for me to “go with the flow” lol. If I have a project or collaboration due around the same time as another obligation, most likely I shut down and put so much pressure on myself to get it done. It’s an everyday struggle. I’m not afraid to admit that I make unrealistic goals for myself. So everyday, I try to go easy on myself. It’s okay to go with the flow sometimes.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am one of the first Black YouTube beauty influencers. I am also a self-taught hairstylist who specializes in sewins, custom wigs and bridal hair design. In 2020, I launched an expansion to my business called “The Wig Rehab”. I’m very humble and proud at my wig rehab success in just a year. It truly put me on a global stage as a stylist. I am most proud of my transition from beauty influencer to an actual brand. I am proud of the relationship I’ve built with so many people over the years. Without my online supporters, my brand “Thomas Adrianna” now “Thomas Adrianna Beauty” would not be possible. What sets me apart is that I always stay in my lane. I like to improve the skills that I always have and master it instead of jumping from 1 new venture to the next. As far as my skill, I am super proud of my journey into the bridal industry. There is not a lot of African American hairstylist that specializes in bridal hair for black women in the central Florida area. In 2013, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and learn the industry. So many black women believe that it isn’t possible for their hair to be styled the same as non-African American women when it comes to bridal hair. I wanted to change that narrative and learn how to achieve updos and bridal styles for black women, whether it’s with wigs, sewins, clips in or their natural hair. It’s always an honor to see their reactions once their hair is finished. It’s my biggest satisfaction as a self-taught stylist.

We’d love to hear about how you think about risk taking?
Different events in my life inspire me to take risk every single day. Many people don’t know, but I was involved in a hit and run accident as a child that almost took my life. A car purposely ran me over and then tried to reversed over my body, as I laid in the street the people around me thought I was dead. My mom always told me, my purpose on this earth is bigger than I could ever imagine. Therefore, I take risks in my life because God never failed me. We all have a story to tell, and your personal challenges in life should give you the courage to take risks. Life is too short, and with the pandemic still affecting us everyday, I’ve never been so motivated to follow my dreams. I’m not afraid to say “NO” if the offer doesn’t benefit me and my goals. Sometimes declining or saying “no” is a huge risk many people take but it could be opening the door to your destiny.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Photographer of the “brown and nude” photos: @joyannepanton

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