Entertainment

Two Trans Latinas In New York Are Starting A Beauty Co-Op To Help Trans Women Build Their Businesses

Four years ago, Lesly Herrera Castillo and Joselyn Mendoza both had a vision to create a worker-owned makeup and hair salon for the trans Latino community in Jackson Heights, New York. It was ambitious and for them, it was necessary. For years, the duo faced racial and gender discrimination from employers. Their own community, Jackson Heights, was also becoming a problem as the area became the site of multiple anti-trans hate crimes in recent years. So they came together with a plan to open Mirror Beauty Cooperative in 2015.

The beauty shop would create numerous jobs for the local trans community but more importantly assist undocumented individuals who were denied opportunities due to their legal status. So Castillo and Mendoza made the important decision to register the business as a cooperative cooperation (co-op). This was done so the salon would basically be “worker-run” and there would be no need for things like social security numbers, an obstacle many undocumented workers face when applying to jobs. Instead, the salon will use individual taxpayer identification numbers (ITINs).

“The significance of the cooperative for me is that it’s an opportunity to create more jobs and make a space that’s free of discrimination,” Mendoza told the HuffPost. “As trans women, we don’t often have access to a healthy economy, and this allows us to change that and obtain other services like health care.”

While their idea started four years ago, the duo hasn’t yet obtained a physical space to open up the salon. But they hope with enough support this vision can become a reality. 

Credit: @equalityfed / Twitter

While both Castillo and Mendoza haven’t opened up a physical salon space, they are both continuing to work in other salons as they continue to save and plan for the Mirror Beauty Cooperative. This past May they began to reach out to more people to help fund their goal through a GoFundMe Campaign. The results of the campaign fund have been less than 1 percent of their $150,000 goal. The duo has also faced other socioeconomic setbacks like lack of traditional education and the economic instability due to their immigrant background. 

“Latina trans women always have multiple obstacles in the way,” Mendoza said. “I think if a collective of white trans women were to start a project like this, their incubation process would be faster than ours because of their historical access to privilege.” 

But Herrera notes that the white trans community is still an ally to them even though they are on different economic levels. “We can always depend on the white trans community” to offer support “because they know they’re on a better [economic] level.”

For the trans, gender-queer and nonbinary community, job discrimination has been a reoccurring issue. According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 16 percent of gender-queer and nonbinary respondents who had held jobs reported having been fired for their gender identity or expression. But for trans women and trans people of color, they were the most likely to have gone through this. 

While the salon is still in progress, Castillo and Mendoza have become a presence in their own neighborhood uplifting and bringing attention to the trans Latino community. 

As of now, the duo has a secret backup plan in case they don’t meet their fundraising goals by the end of the year. They hope that the campaign does one thing though, create and share their broader call for building community with people. 

That has already started to take place as Castillo, Hernandez and their new partner, Jonahi Rosa have all become presences in Jackson Heights advocating for the trans community. The trio even participated in the Queens Pride Parade as co-grand marshals. This has also included various charity events for local LGTBQ+ youth. 

They all feel that the salon has the potential to bring people together and spread awareness about issues that affect their lives every day. From the start, the trio has always wanted to not only create a space for the trans community but give them an opportunity. 

“We want to work, [and] we want to give agency to our community,” Rosa said. “It’s a perfect opportunity for our community to come together and make something for our future.”

READ: Our FIERCE Readers Share Some of the Most Outrageous Lies They’ve Told To Get Some Time Away With Their Boo

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Top Reviewed Brushes for Naturally Curly Hair

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Top Reviewed Brushes for Naturally Curly Hair

Arthur Elgort / Conde Nast / Getty

Every curly-haired girl knows that to ensure strength and growth in their tresses, staple items are needed. From a moisturizing deep conditioner to a perfect leave-in conditioner, these staples are vital for the care and keeping of our natural hair. With the right brush, curlies can stop breakage, put an end to split ends, and see growth if that’s what they’re seeking. We searched the internet for the best brush tools for Curly Hair and put them on a list for you.

Here’s a look at the top brushes you’ll want for detangling your natural hair.

Ouidad Double Detangler Comb

Curly Hair brush
Amazon.com

Users say Ouidad’s Double Detangler is perfect for those with curly, thicker hair. The brush features double rows of comb teeth and is perfect for tackling tangles without being too forceful or rough.

“This is the best comb that I’ve ever used for detangling my hair. It detangles with ease and with a speed that I’ve never experienced and I couldn’t be happier. I have a range of 3c, 4a and 4b hair and this comb handles all of it with ease.” Amazon.com user.

Denman Brush

Curly Hair brush

An absolute classic, the Denman Brush has long been touted as the fairy godmother of brushes. Loved by 3c to 4 hair types the Denman brush has been known to dentangle its way through curlier hair pattern with a stroke of the brush.

Ladies and Gents do yourself a favor and get you a brush! My boyfriend is so shocked at my curls too! Honestly, I had never thought I could have a consistent curl pattern. The pics are 6 weeks apart but my curls never were this defined as they are with the Denman brush. I had 3B but now I am full 3C hair curl type.

I didn’t remove any rows and combined my curls with Shea Moisture Hair smoothie and some eco gel to style. Watch some youtube videos to help see how to properly brush hair out. I sectioned it into layers and even tried out bangs for the first time since the curls are so tight and I am seeing consistent coils!” – Amazon user.

Remington Detangle Brush for Curly Hair

Curly Hair

According to reviews, this electric styling tool really lives up to its name. The brush’s description says the brush’s teeth rock back and forth to loosen knots and tangles from hair without snagging or breaking your hair, working to cause less shedding. Users say that while it takes longer, the process is worth it.

“Love this detangler. I’ve been natural on and off for almost 40 years and this is the best detangler I’ve come across. It takes me longer to detangle with the vs a wide tooth comb. However, there is less shedding and breakage. I used my on wet hair with conditioner in it. My hair is more elongated after styling using this brush. I will be buying 2 as gifts,” wrote on Amazon user.

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This Brazilian Mother And Daughter Share A Rare Beauty Mark In The Form Of White Locks

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This Brazilian Mother And Daughter Share A Rare Beauty Mark In The Form Of White Locks

talytayoussef / Instagram

It’s not every day that we get to see beauty this rare or so brightly celebrated.

Two-year-old Mayah and her daughter Talyta Youssef Aziz Vieira both share a rare genetic condition that means they have a white forelock that makes them look like X-men’s Rogue. Now, their unique traits are going viral and being celebrated on social media.

The mother and daughter pair both have white streaks in their hair due to a genetic condition called Piebaldism.

Talyta, who is from Jericoacoara, Brazil gave birth to daughter Mayah in 2018. According to Daily Mail, the mother was not at all surprised to find out that the two shared the rare trait that gives them two different hair colors. According to Talyta, the genetic condition was passed on to her grandfather, mother, aunt, and cousins, all of whom were born with piebaldism. The genetic condition is characterized by the absence of cells called melanocytes in particular regions of the skin and hair.

According to Talyta’s Instagram page, the young mother said that in her younger years she attempted to hide the white streaks in her hair.

Soon enough, and fortunately, Talyta came to appreciate the trait. Even better? The mother says her daughter has fully embraced her hair mark and enjoys dressing up as Disney character Cruella de Vil while the two watch 101 Dalmatians together.

According to Daily Mail, Talyta says “Piebaldism runs in our family so we knew there was a high probability that Mayah would also have it… From the moment she was born, Mayah had so many white hairs on the front of her head. My doula posted a picture on social media and days later, we were invited by a photographer to do a photo shoot.”

It didn’t take long for the pictures to go viral online.

“I tried to hide my white hair until my twenties. I’d hide it behind other strands – worried that people would bully me,” Taylta explained “I soon realized though that I was unique and special. I want to set that example for Mayah. People always stop us to say how special she is.”

Fortunately, Mayah will have a chance to see someone who looks like her on the big screen soon.

While Mayah’s features have been compared to Rogue from X-Men and Anna from Frozen, the little girl will get a chance to see Cruella in Disney’s soon to be released feature about the villain.

‘That’s when I thought it would be a lovely idea for us to dress up together as those characters. I want Mayah to have fun memories about the way she looks,” Taylta explained about her images of her daughter on Instagram “I want her to embrace being a superhero. Other people who are different have reached out to us thanking us for helping them accept themselves. It’s so sad that people have hid themselves away. We don’t need to be the same to be beautiful. Everyone has a heart inside to accept and love. We are living in a time of knowledge and transformation. Let’s embrace what makes us different.”

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