Fierce Boss Ladies

Inspired By Eloteros And The Pupusa Lady, This Mexicana Created A Product That Is Now Being Sold In Fancy Beverly Hills Salons

When Julissa Prado, 27, was growing up in Los Angeles, she struggled to find hair products specifically designed to style her hair type. The daughter of Mexican immigrants was often forced to straighten her hair on an ironing board and often times resorted to “crazy quinceñera updos” for family events. (How many of us can relate to that last part? ??)

As a result of this frustration, the savvy entrepreneur created a hair product line called Rizos Curls that spoke directly to the experiences of Latinas, like those in her family, who were often forced to comply with Eurocentric standards of beauty.

For Julissa Prado, the creator of Rizos Curls, the product is than just a hair product. It’s a reflection of her parents’ hustle and how it sometimes takes a while for us Latinas to embrace our roots.

Her entrepreneurial spirit, she says, is a testament to the commitment of Latinx immigrants, who, like her parents, sacrificed everything for their children to succeed in the United States.

“I was born and raised in mid-city L.A. and most family is still here. We grew up in black and brown neighborhoods and my family was walking distance from one another and I had access to a rich Latino culture. Growing up, my family always had really wavy and curly hair but most of them straightened it. We didn’t wear it naturally. Getting your hair done in my family meant that you had to straightened it and do a crazy quinceañera updo, you know?”

Because Prado didn’t see women with curly hair represented in mainstream media or as a beauty ideal, she found herself going to the extreme to conform to Eurocentric beauty standards.

When u match the flowers ?? Curls styled with: @rizoscurls Color: @jlecolor

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“The first time I got my hair done, my cousins put my head over an ironing board and ironed it straight. Because before the flat iron that’s what you had to do. I had straight hair and I was walking around like I was the shit. I had so many compliments because that’s all I saw I magazines. There was nothing for curly hair in my community. It clearly wasn’t for us.”

Then Prado had an epiphany. She was inspired by her community’s hustle to create a product that would help women like her embrace their natural hair texture.

Latinos are some of the most entrepreneurial people out there! It doesn't matter if they are rich or poor, Latinos find a way to be their own boss. If there isn't a job available my people will find a creative way to make one. Whether it is by selling corn, tacos, fruit, their labor, whatever it is they're out there hustling! Latinos are hands down one of the most hardworking and entrepreneurial people out there. It's time for the Latino community to start receiving the respect they deserve. To that corn man, flower lady, that fruit vendor THANK YOU for being my role models of what it means to be a businessperson. It is truly an honor to be Latina and have grown up in this community. ✊?? ——————————————– Mi gente Latina es increíblemente negociante. No importa si tienen poquito o mucho, mi gente Latina encuentra un modo de ser su propio jefe. Si no hay un trabajo disponible, toman la iniciativa de crearlo. Aunque sea como eloteros, taqueros, vendiendo fruta, lo que sea! La comunidad Latina es en mi opinión la más trabajadora y creativa para negociós. Es tiempo que el resto del mundo nos de el respeto que nuestra comunidad merece. Para todos los eloteros, vendedores de fruta, mi gente Latina trabajadora, Muchísimas gracias por ser mi ejemplo donde aprendí lo que significa ser empresarios. Que orgullo ser Latina ✊?✊?? #defendtheelotero #eloterojustice

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She explains this drive in this Instagram post: “My inspiration was seeing the pupusa lady hustling, the elote man, the raspado man, and the flower lady who were hustling in the streets. They are the CEO’s of their businesses and they were in my community hustling. People were always working hard and I loved being able to see that.”

But she also credits her “brown ass family” for inspiration. 

“I’m brown and I got a brown ass family and we have very diverse hair from wavy to kinky. I made this product for anyone with curly hair.”

Prado adds that she “wanted to create something that would fill this need that would address the need that so many of my family members had.” She recognizes that Latinos have all types of hair and there isn’t one-product-fits-all. The one thing she kept in mind throughout the process of the creation of her product, Prado says, was her community and that’s why Rizos curls is here.

And going beyond hair, this venture for her is about inspiring other Latinas the way she was once inspired by another woman.

Waiting on #RizosCurls like ????????

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“I hope to provide more visibility and awareness that we’re out here. Growing up there wasn’t that many examples of Latinas outside of the entertainment industry. I met someone who went to college and I felt like I could go to college. I’m trying to broaden the arena for future role models. There’s a lot of examples of Latinas following their dreams and if someone can look at my story and feel motivated regardless if they haven’t seen anyone else do it, that’s beautiful to me.”

While her business is still in its early stages, she’s already received support from celebrities like rapper Bia and singer Natalie La Rose.

“It feels cool to see different people recommend the product. When I was thinking if Rizos was feasible I thought about myself, and thought: I’m Latina, I love to dance, I love to turn up, and I’m chismosa. We have a culture of helping each other out. We grew up in a society where we had to make our own paths. We’re chismosas and even the Avon ladies come to your house and everything is word of mouth. I’m just so happy and blessed that people have liked the product and have been telling their moms about it and have been sharing it about it on social media.”

But don’t take the word of the rich and famous. Prado has receipts for days from regular people who thank her on the daily for creating a product designed specifically for them.

#Repost #Customer Review @laf0nda34

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Because Prado and her primas can’t be the only ones who have been looking for products for curly hair, right? She’s screenshotted and posted dozens of testimonies from her clients on her Instagram account.

And now, Rizos Curls has made its way to bougie fancy Beverly Hills salons.

Damn! From mamá’s garage in Mid-City to Rodeo Drive?! Mamá, we made it!

Ultimately Prado’s biggest fans are her family, those who act as her team members and even guinea pigs when needed.

My cousin and I with my baby #RizosCurls #RizosCurlsGirls #AFamilyAffair

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“My family is my motivation and they are the guinea pigs for all the hair products,” says Prado as she laughs. But jokes and experiments aside, her family members have stepped up and offered their talents to make sure Prado’s product lives up to its potential. Prado explains that her little cousin drew the logo, her primas modeled for her site and her mom lent her house for product storage.

“Family is everything,” says Prado. And with support like that, it’s easy to see this brand going beyond Beverly Hills.

READ: Anyone Else Would Say WTF To These Beauty Tips I Learned From My Abuelita, But They Make Total Sense To Latinas

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Meet Michelle Poler, The Venezolana Inspiring Women To Face Their Fears

Fierce Boss Ladies

Meet Michelle Poler, The Venezolana Inspiring Women To Face Their Fears

According to Michelle Poler’s checklist, her life was close to perfect. After graduating high school in Caracas, Venezuela, she moved to Savannah, Georgia to study advertising. While there, she said “I do” to her then-boyfriend. Once she received her bachelor’s degree, she relocated with her husband to Miami, where she swiftly landed an ideal industry gig. But as she fulfilled each life goal, many of them feats for immigrant women of color in the US, she didn’t feel as gratified as she’d been told she would her whole life.

In fact, Poler, who had always lived life according to the safe and secure to-do list society created for her, didn’t start feeling happy until she ditched the rule book entirely and started uncomfortably facing her biggest trepidations through Hello Fears.

A social movement, Hello Fears empowers people to step outside of their comfort zone, engaging in activities that make them a little uneasy, so that they’re able to tap into their full potential. The project, started in 2015 when Poler was a graduate student at New York’s School of Visual Arts, uses storytelling and media content to help people embrace fear and realize the joyous life they fantasize about.

“The core of this project is to inspire people to tackle daily fears,” Poler, 30, told FIERCE. “We discovered that courage is contagious, so by me sharing my story and other people’s stories, others reading are more willing to face their own fears.”

But before the Brooklyn-based entrepreneur started encouraging her more than 30 thousand followers to be courageous, she had to confront her own terrors. While earning her master’s degree in branding, she had a class assignment that required her to do something, anything, for 100 days. The self-described scaredy cat used the opportunity to help her confront the anxieties that were limiting her from success and pleasure. From there, “100 Days Without Fear” was born.

For the next 100 days, Poler tackled a new fear each day. Starting small, the New York transplant, who at the time was scared to ride the subway alone or be out late at night, found herself conquering those apprehensions. She also ate foods that freaked her out. She experienced the torture of a Brazilian wax. She faced rejection passing out flyers on city street corners. And she dined at a bar alone.

“I started getting confidence as I was facing my fears,” she said. “Achieving those small things and gaining that confidence helped me move to more complicated fears.”

Soon, Poler was tackling horrors that few brave individuals would even dare to think about, from holding a tarantula, to skydiving, to posing nude in front of an arts class. Once she completed the physical tasks she thought she was never capable of doing, she moved on to a bigger feat: facing the fears that were getting in the way of her leading her most fulfilled life. That meant quitting her secure but unsatisfying job in advertising and confronting problems in her familial relationships.

“One of my biggest fears was losing my parents, but I wasn’t going to kill them for this purpose,” Poler jokes. “So I decided to write a letter, a very honest letter as if they were dead, telling them all the things I love and appreciate about them and also things I would like to change in our relationship so we can enjoy life together on this planet.”

The experience was emotional, both for her and the now thousands of followers she had as her project went viral. But the tough and tearful conversation, which Poler shared in a video, were worth it. When it was time for her to face her 100th fear, speaking publicly about her experience at a TEDx Talk, her Panama-based parents were in the crowd, being more present and expressive, just as she had asked of them in her letter.

With her class assignment complete, and now jobless because of it, Poler was inspired to turn her personal journey into a business and movement, one that could inspire others to lead their best lives just as she was starting to. Through Hello Fears, the Latina now helps thousands of people take the first step of welcoming the things that make them uneasy and provides them with the tools to conquer those trepidations. She does this primarily through storytelling, from original, empowering Instagram content, a digital course, a blog where people share their own fear-defeating stories and through keynote speaking engagements. Poler averages about 70 conferences a year, bringing her powerful message of triumph to teenage girls as well as big corporations like Google, Facebook, Netflix and Microsoft.

“Fear is so universal. Everyone can relate. I speak to people of all ages, backgrounds and genders, and all relate to fear and courage,” she said, noting that most of her talks are for girls and women.

In speaking with tens of thousands of people around the country, she has found the thing most people are afraid of is failing the people they love. Unhappy wives don’t leave toxic marriages because they’re worried about how divorce might impact their children. Talented artists don’t pursue their passions because they’re scared of disappointing their parents. Partners with academic dreams don’t apply for graduate school because they fear losing income could put their relationship in turmoil.

“The fear of failing others, that’s the thing people take into account the most before taking a risk. But when we think like that and stop taking risks because of our fears of failing others, we start failing ourselves,” she said.

According to Poler, there are two types of fears that keep people from realizing their dreams: personal and culture. The former, which also includes not wanting to fail loved ones, is avoiding hurting your ego. Rejection is painful, and trying and failing is a bitter death to the soul, so we protect ourselves from that hurt by refusing to face the fear. Similarly, cultural fears, the worry of what society might think of you for behaving outside of the status quo, also keeps people in unhappy situations.

But Poler says when we remain in our comfort zone, we risk never evolving into the people we have the potential of being. For her, we grow when we challenge ourselves and we accomplish our goals the quickest when we look fear straight in the eye. She would know. Before embarking on her “100 Days Without Fear” class project, she was tasked to write a ten-year plan for her life. A year later, by braving her fears, she made all the ambitions she thought were slightly unfeasible to complete even in a decade happen in 365 days, from being paid to speak publicly, to starting her own company to building a brand with her husband. Now, just four years later, she started a relationships podcast with her husband, is writing her first book and had her story picked up for a series on Fox.

“If you have any goal in mind, if you face your fears, the probability is you will get to your goal faster and you actually get there at all,” she said.

For those hoping to conquer their fears but are unsure where to start, Poler suggests making a list of the rewards that facing their fear could bring them, from tiny outcomes to possibilities that might at first seem unrealistic. “Ask yourself, what’s the best that can happen? Fill your mind with rewards and positive thoughts that take you back to the reason you wanted to do this in the first place,” she said. She also proposes keeping an accountability partner, someone who will remind you of what you stand to gain by overcoming your terrors and will inspire you when you feel like giving up.

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Yesterday I had the honor to speak to a group of 500 certified Emergency Nurses. And I thought: fearless! The things they see everyday ???? I could not be able to handle it. They have to deal with loss, tragedy, blood and pain (emotional and physical) day after day ???? . What can I teach them? I thought ???? . For some people it takes courage and intention to be at least 10% “selfish” and take care of themselves, for once. These people spend their lives caring for others, so much, that they forget to find the time for themselves. So THAT was my mission yesterday: to challenge them to do something for themselves and not feel guilty about it. . Same goes for entrepreneurs and their work. So many hours working to make it, saving all of our money and investing it back into the business. But, what about us? . When was the last time you got yourself a massage at a spa? Or took a night off to do something by yourself that you LOVE to do? Or splurged at a restaurant that you’ve always wanted to go? Or bought tickets to see a show or a concert? . It is OK to do these things once in a while. Spoil yourself, you deserve it. You worked for it. #noguilt . When we take care of ourselves we feel happy, we bring our best selves to the world and then we will be able to help others, because happiness is contagious ♥️???????? #selfcarefirst #courageis #hellofears #mentalhealth #behappy

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For Poler, facing her fears not only allowed her to live the joyous life that degrees, a career and marriage couldn’t do alone but it also showed her, for the first time, how mighty she is.

“One thing I learned is that I’m way stronger than I thought. I perceived myself as a fragile person who was going to break at any point and needed someone to rescue me. I’m way stronger than that. Maybe not physically — I should probably go to the gym for that — but mentally I’m way stronger than I thought. I can handle myself. I can survive on my own, if I wanted to,” she said.

Read: Venezolana Verónica Sanchis Bencomo Started Foto Féminas To Promote Women Photographers In Latin America And The Caribbean

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11 Ways To Make Your Rizos Grow In The New Year

The Beatdown

11 Ways To Make Your Rizos Grow In The New Year

Now that the holidays are in full swing and we inch closer to the New Year, we can’t help but think of January as a chance at a fresh start. And like every other year before this one, we know we’re going to look back at the past year and roll our eyes the bad decisions we made. And we’ll be the first to admit–some of the worst decisions we’ve made in the past year have definitely been hair-related. To over-heating, over-coloring, and falling back into bad habits (some shampoos with sulfates smell so good!), we definitely acknowledge that our hair care routine has some room for improvement.

So in 2019, commit to treating your hair with the kindness that it deserves! In order to help with that commitment, we’ve provided a list of 11 better ways to treat your hair in the New Year. Check them out below!

1. Commit to Less Heat

We know you’re tired of hearing it, but this age-old piece of advice is worth repeating: cut back on heat styling. It’s the number one step you can take if you really want to improve the appearance and overall health of your hair. Now we know cutting out heat styling altogether is unrealistic for many, so instead, pledge to at least cut back in the New Year. Create a plan to wash your hair on the weekend so you don’t have to explain your blow dryer ban on weekday mornings. You can also opt to style your hair in ways that look just as great with wet hair, like braids, buns, and twist-outs. Heat-styling may be a tough habit to break, but we promise, your hair will thank you in 2019.

2. Trim every 6-8 weeks

If you’re Afro-Latina, it’s possible that you grew up being fed the idea that cutting your hair was a big no-no. I remember my mother forbidding me to get haircuts throughout elementary school, as she was afraid it “wouldn’t grow”. We now know that this old wives’ tale couldn’t be more wrong! In fact, when you trim your ends, you preemptively remove the most delicate part of your strands (the ends), and leave in its place the newer, stronger part of the strand. By cutting away your brittle ends, you can prevent your ends from splitting further up the shaft. And contrary to popular belief, end breakage is actually the primary culprit behind your lagging length gains.

3. Protect Your Hair While You Sleep

It may seem like overkill, but there’s a reason that sleeping on satin, whether it be hair bonnets or pillowcases, has suddenly become all the rage. The reason behind this is that traditional cotton pillowcases cause friction between the hair shaft and the pillow. And repeated friction = breakage. Satin pillowcases and bonnets are a great alternative because, unlike cotton pillowcases, satin texture isn’t as rough and isn’t as absorbent. That means satin sucks less moisture from your hair during sleep. If, like me, you can’t stand snoozing with anything other than your own hair on your head, go with a satin pillowcase. It’s less annoying and just as effective!

4. Use Leave-In Conditioner Every Day

That’s right: Every. Day. Many women of color–and Afro-Latinas especially–struggle with retaining moisture at their ends due to the curlier pattern of their hair texture. And although weekly deep-conditioning is a great way to give your hair a one-time mega-dose of moisture, it’s the daily upkeep that will keep it consistently hydrated. A daily leave-in conditioner can be exactly the extra step you need to keep your hair soft and strong. Remember when using a leave-in conditioner to pay special attention to the very ends of your strands, as they’re the part of your hair that’s most in need of moisture.

5. Use At-Home Hair Masks

Yes, they’re fun to whip up in the cocina, but DIY hair masks also work! Raid your kitchen cabinet for everything from avocado to coconut oil to offer your hair a little extra love before wash day. Not only are homemade hair masks effective, but they’re usually inexpensive, making it easier for you to commit to a New Year’s resolution of pampering your strands. Look to the internet (or your madre) for the perfect recipe for your hair pattern and texture.

6. Experiment with Protective Styling

Although we live for wash ‘n go’s and the occasional silk press, we know that once in a while, our hair needs an extended rest from the daily wear and tear. In the past, we’ve avoided protective styles because they can sometimes be pricey, and all too often, they’re too time-consuming for our busy schedules. But in 2019, we vow to let our hair get some much-need R&R under Senegalese twists, box braids, micro-braids, and faux locs once every few months.

7. Deep-Condition Every Wash

As young Latina women, our schedules are packed and sometimes it seems that deep-conditioning our hair is just one more thing we need to worry about in an already busy day. Yes, it’s more time-consuming than a quick wash-and-rinse with shampoo and conditioner, but it really makes a difference. Unlike regular conditioners, a proper deep conditioner attaches itself to the hair fiber to provide longer-lasting moisture. And not only does deep-conditioning replenish the lost moisture, but it works to prevent future damage too. And since hydrated hair is equal to healthy hair, it’s essential that you use any chance you get to replenish its moisture.

8. Use Protein Treatments

If your bathroom counter looks like a graveyard for split ends, it may be time to start incorporating protein treatments into your hair care routine. Protein treatments are different from regular deep conditioning because they contain essential amino acids that bind to the hair shaft, making it stronger and less prone to breakage. These treatments are especially effective for Latinas with high-porous strands (i.e. heat and color-damaged). Opt for a protein treatment once a month, but be careful of over-treating. Too many protein treatments can make hair brittle!

9. De-tangle with Care

How many of us have memories of standing in front of the mirror before school while our mothers roughly dragged a hairbrush through our tender little heads? Well, turns out, that method of detangling is a big no-no. Not only can it cause breakage to your ends, but it can pull out perfectly healthy strands from the root. The best way to detangle is to use a wide-tooth comb and either hair oil or a leave-in conditioner. In the shower after shampooing, saturate your hair with conditioner and detangle again with a wide-toothed comb. After you shower, apply a leave-in conditioner first and wait until your hair is semi-dry before detangling again. This method ensures that your hair is always lubricated when you detangle, thus preventing breakage.

10. Use Sulfate-Free Shampoo

When the natural hair movement really took off a few years ago, the number one advice the natural hair community was touting on the internet was this: stay away from sulfate-filled shampoos. There’s a reason for that–sodium lauryl sulfate is a detergent that works to strip the hair completely of its natural oils. And while this may be nice for that squeaky-clean feeling after you shower, over time it zaps all moisture out of your hair, leaving dry and frazzled strands. Stick to sulfate-free shampoos most of the time. But, if your hair is feeling cakey and volume-less, go ahead and opt for a shampoo with sulfates once a month as a clarifying treatment.

11. Pamper Your Scalp

If you’re properly moisturizing and hydrating your hair, chances are, you’re going to experience heavy strands sometime in the near future. Moisturizing products can coat the hair and leave stubborn residue. This residue can build up in the scalp, clogging hair follicles and pores and preventing speedy hair growth. You can combat build up by treating yourself to an Apple Cider Vinegar rinse. Known for its clarifying properties, ACV also acts as a mild exfoliant and pH balancer. And if you want to spoil your scalp further, treat yourself to daily scalp massages. Scalp massages increase blood flow and aid in lymphatic drainage, both of which promote hair growth.

Read: Michelle Obama Keeps It Real About ‘Leaning In’ Saying It ‘Doesn’t Work All The Time’

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