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Celebrity stylist Penna’e Akpuru shares her path from pain to peace in new book

Celebrity stylist and author Penna’e Akpuru (Photo credit: Ron Witherspoon/Adam Red Agency)

An award-winning international celebrity stylist and owner of Salon Penna’e Buckhead, Penna’e Akpuru faced so many challenges in her life, from molestation, rape, domestic violence, divorce and drug addiction to food addiction, homelessness and even a massive stroke, before rising to the top. 

Akpuru sat down with rolling out to discuss her latest book, Living Past Your Pain to Live Your Dreams.

Why did you write Living Past Your Pain to Live Your Dreams?

What God did for me, he can do for everyone, and writing this book allowed me to share that message with the world. Every tool and resource God gave me through this journey, I wanted to give to other people. I was molested from such an early age that I have no memory of being a virgin. I chose all the wrong ways to deal with that pain and the other trials I went through. But I’ve overcome it all. It was incredibly important to me to share exactly how I did that in the book. My book is meant to encourage women to make a decision to look good, feel good and do good every day, no days off, no matter what they’re going through.

What is the story behind the title?

Living Past Your Pain to Live Your Dreams sums up my life and my mission. Your dreams are visions of God’s purpose for you, but too many of us never go after that purpose. We think it’s too hard or that we don’t deserve it. I’m often surrounded by “successful” women who are still stuck in their pain, and so they have dreams left unfulfilled. They may have money, but their pain still manifests in overeating, overdrinking, overworking and other addictions. Dealing with the pain of your past or even the pain of the present you have going on behind closed doors isn’t a setback. It’s preparation for the comeback. Everything you desire can be yours if you’ll start with living past your pain. 

Name three things the reader should take away from the book.

The exercises in my book are designed to help the reader walk away with hope, empowerment and a clear understanding that she alone is enough. There is hope for you no matter what you’re going through, what you’ve done, or what has been done to you, and it’s never too late to achieve your dreams. With God in your corner, it doesn’t matter who else is or who isn’t. You can live the life you long for.

At one point in life you were you homeless, how did you become homeless?

I was making hundreds of thousands of dollars as a stylist, but I was blowing through that money. I had never dealt with the pains of my past, including child abuse and molestation, parental abandonment, rape and domestic violence, a broken marriage, and the near-death of my younger brother in a horrible accident. No matter how much money I made, I was still suffering, and I used the money to indulge in drugs, food and shopping.

What are four success habits do you implement into your daily routine to maintain your success, sanity and peace of mind? 

Rest, stillness, movement and gratitude. I go to bed early and get up early, so I always get the sleep my body needs. Stillness and movement are two sides of the same coin. Simply sitting in silence allows me to get direction from God. Exercise allows me to get ready to execute on what he tells me. I also maintain a gratitude practice. No matter what I’m going through, whether circumstances are good or bad, I’m always grateful for the blessings I have. These practices allow me to choose every day to be happy. I move through the day focused on the positive, and that attracts more of the positive to me.

What’s next for you?

I’m sharing the wisdom I’ve gleaned from my years as a celebrity stylist, successful business owner and confidante to my clients with women all around the world. I work every day to empower women to transform their lives so they can enjoy the true abundance God has planned for them.

I still love the beauty industry, so I’ll continue to teach workshops to help stylists understand that “it’s more than techniques and tools.” I’m committed to helping other stylists avoid some of the pitfalls I fell right into. I’m serving the beauty industry, which has given me so much while connecting with women from all walks of life.

-de’janee callahan