Jayla Williams: From Ghettos to Glamour
Have you ever had a dream that seemed to be too big to conquer, but for some reason you couldn't give it up? We all know that feeling too well and most times we can get discouraged, but not Jayla.
Since she was a child, Jayla has always been taught to dream big and to keep her standards high. Growing up in the ghettos and driving 30-45 mins just to go to a better school every weekday was tough, but it made Jayla a better woman.
Today she is the founder of Styles x Yaya— a company that offers mobile services in hair, makeup, photography, choreography and pageant coaching.
What was life like growing up in the "ghettos?" How did that shape your experiences in life and the woman you are today?
As a kid my parents always made a little feel important. Every Christmas my parents made my siblings and I feel special. Every birthday was a week-long celebration. Every family function was important. My parents were adamant on giving us a better life than they had growing up. They held us to a high standard. Being a product of our environment was not an option. I remember my parents telling me things like, "What's our last name?" After I'd say, "Williams", they would say "Williams don't quit." They taught me to hold myself to a standard.
They taught me to keep God first, family second and career third. They taught me to never let my circumstance affect my outcome. Of course, living in "ghettos" was tough. It came with seeing a lot of things at a young age and it came with driving to a better school 30-45 minutes every morning. It shaped me to appreciate where I'm from and to never let where I'm from stop me from where I'm going. These "ghettos" are still what motivates me today.
Do you think it was harder or easier for you to break barriers because of your upbringing?
I truly believe that the upbringing of a person affects the morality, characteristics and life compass of a person. Although I have had many life challenges, I consider myself extremely blessed. My upbringing has made it difficult to complete what some say are simple life happenings: focusing on school, having your friends over for a sleepover, or even having basic time management skills. I do believe that because my parents made college a requirement, I had something to look forward to. They made good behavior a requirement. They made serving God a requirement.
In my opinion, our life situation was easier for us to conquer because we have faith. We had the mindset that things would change. Over time, I did see signs of environmental influences that did become hard to hide in corporate America. However, I took the things that I didn't know about (i.e., credit score, good reading habits, good studying habits, etc.) and incorporated those small lifestyle changes into everything that I do. I do this to make sure that the very things that were making it hard for me to break barriers are the same things that are elevating me to my destiny.
Telling us about your styling company and how did you know you wanted to become a stylist?
Styles x Yaya is a five-year-old company that offers mobile services in hair, makeup, photography, choreography and pageant coaching. We also offer hair extensions for sell.
Our mission is to provide a luxury service that is dedicated to maximize the self-perception of our clientele, known as our Kings & Queens, through the unlimited access of every beauty avenue possible. This dream turned into a reality in college after I completed cosmetology school. I picked up my 1st hair sewing needle at 13 years old. I use to go to my cousins house every day after school until my parents could pick me up. All I could see was the exchange of money for hair services. I didn't understand it at first because I didn’t have to pay my mom every morning before school. I began to question the art of hair and there grew my passion for the business of hair.
I started practicing on my mom, sister and younger cousins. By the time I was 16, I was in cosmetology school. From there I made it my business to learn everything there is to know about hair. During my freshman year of college, I began to do freelance makeup for school events while managing a photography studio. Shortly after, I entered into my 1st pageant, which was the first of many. I knew that in order to be happy in life I had to do what I was most passionate about. I turned all of my hobbies into small businesses and that's how Styles x Yaya was created.
What is the hardest thing for you to deal with as a stylist?
One of the hardest things I've had to deal with as a stylist is getting the level of clientele that I want to service. I intend to service celebrities, doctors, lawyers, entertainers, athletes and more. In the world, today, it's all about who you know and putting yourself in the position to work around the very people that you seek as future clients. I want to change the way the world looks at the beauty industry. To do that I have to become an influencer, which starts by influencing those around me.
Who are some stylist you look up to and why?
I look up to Anthony Cutz because of his adaptability. He's a heterosexual male in the beauty industry; that's pretty much unheard of. I also look up to a local Houston hair stylist named Tenia, owner of the Black Eyon hair salon. We went to cosmetology school together. I was always drawn to her as a stylist. I love how clean and precise her work is, as well as her originality and professionalism. Lastly, the stylist that I look up to the most is Kim Kimbell. She is a celebrity stylist, styling celebrities like Zendaya, Taraji P. Henson and Beyoncé. She has an inspirational life story that motivates me to follow my dreams.
What are some goals you wish to accomplish going into the New Year?
I am a person of faith so my goals may sound pretty farfetched to a non-believer. I want to invest in a few companies. I want to create my own app. I want to start a non-profit organization. I also want to turn my business into a household name. With all of my goals and aspirations, I will continue to let God guide my footsteps.