Rolling Out

Hairstylist Pennae uses beauty as a platform to inspire and motivate women

Hairstylist Pennae uses beauty as a platform to inspire and motivate women
Penna Akpuru photo credit Ron Witherspoon

Beauty is one of the biggest trends in entrepreneurship. Selling beauty is something that is almost risk-free because women of all ages, cultures and racial backgrounds have one thing in common: the desire to appear beautiful. For Master celebrity hairstylist Pennae Akpuru, the beauty industry has been her saving grace, putting her in position to style the crowns of some of Black Hollywood’s biggest names such as Steve Harvey, Ruby Dee, Mary Mary, Shirley Strawberry, and many more, promoting her to glam squad royalty in Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles.

Akpuru knew she wanted to be a celebrity hairstylist from the time she was a young girl. Her dream of working behind the scenes was the light that kept her sane through a childhood filled with molestation and verbal abuse. Her natural ability to create magic behind the chair is what would push her forward through rape, a massive stroke and even homelessness as an adult. Today, Akpuru credits her faith in God and her passion for serving others along with the message she feels is her divine purpose for the women that sit in her chair, for the internal strength that has never allowed her to give up.

Understanding she needed to share her message with women across the country, women who she may never have the opportunity to meet, she started writing her story. It took her years to get the story right and she enlisted the help of co-writer Candice Davis to help her create a memoir that not only shared her story but also would simultaneously act as a workbook for the reader to do introspective work on their own challenges and setbacks in life.

The result of Akpuru’s hardwork was the newly released memoir, Living Past Your Pain to Live Your Dreams. Since the book’s release this spring, Akpuru has had the opportunity to speak to groups of women, classes of beauty students and women visiting makeup counters about how they can stop hiding their pain behind their hair and makeup. Akpuru says she has seen first hand how some of the world’s most beautiful women are hiding painful pasts and struggle behind makeup, hair and a designer wardrobe. She wants to empower women to stop settling for a beautiful outside, hiding a broken inside.

Her book is a therapeutic tool that women can use to get started on the path to healing. Akpuru is excited to get the book into the hands of other stylists because she realizes that women often use their hairstylists as therapists.

“So many stylists need this book because while they may be dealing with their own pain as I was, they also are listening to women give them their pain all day while working. Sometimes taking all that on can be overwhelming if you aren’t in a healthy place yourself. I want to connect with these women who have been blessed with the gift to make other women feel good about their external beauty, and give them the tools to start helping their clientele heal from the inside out,” Akpuru says.

Today, Akpuru owns one of the most successful boutiques in Georgia. Salon Pennae is located in the elite Buckhead community of Atlanta and serves an affluent clientele that includes celebrities and social influencers. Akpuru says she looks forward to sharing her story with women to help them overcome their pasts and look forward to walking in their beauty from the inside out.

For more information on the book or Pennae Akpuru, visit:

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