By Bridgett Bradley

Ruth, also known as Stacyomoyoruba, is a beauty expert in the Houston area who credits being born in humbling conditions in Nigeria, her transition to America, and her relationship with Christ for propelling the trajectory of her life.

Having suffered from homelessness and depending on the benevolence of a local church in Nigeria, her family’s move to America would prove to be more socially challenging for her, as she was often ostracized for her origin. Yet, because of the adversity and hardships, Ruth discovered her talents and persevered. Moreover, the death of her father, which initially pushed her away from Christ, was the very thing that drew her nigh.

When we met with Ruth last year she divulged how she grew to become such a courageous woman, designated by others as the antithesis of allure, she shared how she learned to embrace her uniqueness, and how she became a force to be reckoned with in the beauty industry.

More than a year later, we met up with Ruth to check in on her journey thus far.

You have a very unique and beautiful personal style when it comes to your fashion, hair and makeup. How do you find inspiration? What is your advice to others who are trying to find their own personal style?

I guess the first advice that I would give is to stay off of social media. Where I get my inspirations from are magazines and runways, or even if I am watching a movie, an old movie. I like old school movies from the sixties, seventies, and even the twenties. I look at what they’re wearing and I try to get something out of it. I just mix it up and make it into my own thing. I try not to get inspirations from social media, such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, etc. because I feel like a lot of people are imitating the same things. It’s like a huge circle of repetitiveness. So, I try to look at other things besides something that I am on every second, because nine times out of ten, someone is going to have that same outfit.

For those trying to find their own style, stay off of social media.

What has been your biggest lesson in the past year?

I would have to say the biggest lesson is not being so hard on myself. I think throughout the years, I’ve been really hard on myself on a lot of things going on in my life. But, I’ve just recently had to go through a really rough patch, where God had to pull me out of it. God was like “I love you. But, why are you treating yourself like this? Why are you being so hard on yourself?

In the interview last year, I remember talking about not drinking until I get married, and a whole bunch of other things…I’ve recently just come across a plateau in my life where I feel like God himself had to minister to me and take me out of this perfect bubble and just put me in real life, and shake me up a bit. And just realize that I am flawed and I go through things. I’ve fallen in so many ways, and through those falls, I’ve risen up and learned not to be hard on myself.

When you talked about how you decided to stop drinking until you’re married, did you start drinking?

Yes, I started drinking again. But, just not as much as I used to when my dad passed. So, now it’s just social drinking: I don’t drink to get drunk. No one should be out drinking to get drunk, because the Bible talks about getting drunk. The drunks are fools. One drink, two drinks aren’t bad. I messed up when I first started drinking again. But, God got me back in place. And, I could mess up again, but, I’m just hopeful to God.

When you talk about being perfect and realizing in that moment like “Okay, I’m going to have a drink”, was that one of the things that shook you up? Like, “I’m doing this and now I’m not even the person that I thought I was going to be?” Was that a moment for you?

It was a moment for me because when it happened, it was just more like “Okay”… because, I didn’t just do that: I smoked weed, too. I tried marijuana. And when I did both at the same time, after I woke up the next morning, I felt horrible, of course. But, it was just a thing where I was like “Okay. I did this. I messed up. But I’m still a child of God. I can move on from this. I can choose not to turn around and even take it as serious and literal as I did before. I don’t want to say not to take it too seriously, because you should always take the word of God seriously. Always. But, um…

And just recognizing that you fall, and just not stay down because I fell.

Yes! That I fall and I can get up. Yes! Exactly, it’s easy to fall and like, stay down, but I guess to anyone reading this or hearing this, fall but get back up. You know what I’m saying? Like you said.

What will you say has been your biggest achievement this past year?

What is my greatest achievement? Wow! I feel like my friends are able to better tell you what my biggest achievements are than I am, because I am an ungrateful little brat! (Laughs). I’m ungrateful towards God. Because you know how we never remember what God does for us, or what we achieve through God. But, we always remember the bad things. But, I’m glad that I have wonderful friends that surround me and remind me of what God is doing in my life. So, I guess the answer is that I can’t tell you. I’m alive. I’m healthy. I’m breathing. Glory to God.

What is the most challenging thing about your work? What is the most rewarding or satisfying part?

The biggest challenge about my work is unsatisfied clients. I’m a people pleaser. So, when a client isn’t satisfied with the service that I give them, then, I try everything in my power to make sure they get that service. Even if they are finally happy with that service, by the time I am done with them and they go home, I actually go home and get really sad. It’s actually a bad day for me knowing that this person was not satisfied at first. So, what that does is it helps me work harder, and work better, and practice and practice. I get it: I’m not perfect at everything that I do when it comes to my work. There are times that we make mistakes as hairstyles, and there are times like, yea, I’ve been doing hair for over fifteen years, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t mess up. There’s new things to learn every year. So, I guess, that’s one of the things that I really don’t like about my work.

But, what I do love is just the glow, the happiness in my clients’ faces. I love when they’re very happy. I love when they come in all sad and say “Ooh, I’ve had a horrible week!” Then, they leave like “Girl! Yes! I love my hair! I love my makeup!” It just gives me so much joy. And, it’s not just that; when people sit in my chair, it’s not just “Oh! I’m getting my hair done.” or, “I’m getting my makeup done.” But, actually having real, live conversation with them, and them knowing that they can trust me with that conversation. And me just trying to lead them back to the cross, and lead them back to Christ. At the end of the day, that’s where it’s at. So, these are the things that bring me joy.

So, we are in the middle of 2017: what are the top three things that you’d like to accomplish before the end of this year?

One thing for sure is that I want to have some type of clarity about my position in life, in my relationships, in my business, education. Whatever it is. I want to have a lot more clarity on where things are going. I don’t want things to be up in the air anymore.

The second thing is, anything is possible through Christ, but I’m trying to by my mama a house! But, that takes some planning and it takes some years. But, anything is possible through Christ.

The third thing is, I want to start planning ways to make my businesses bigger.

What experiences in your early life in Nigeria shaped the person you are today?

When I was younger, I remember everything clearly. You know how most times, thinking back, your memory is greyed? Well, mine isn’t. I remember we were homeless for a certain period of time. We went to our family and no one helped us, but God made it happen.

There was a church that helped us to find an apartment, clothes to wear and everything. I just remember everything my parents went through, especially the struggle. I remember my mom, my little brother and I walking down the street (while my dad was in America), just trying to make ends meet.

Before we became homeless, we lived in a house. Actually it was a room (a very small room). There was a twin-sized bed where my mom and dad slept; my brother and I slept on the ground. There was no closet, no bathroom, and we had to use the restroom outside no matter how late. I remember being scared, you know?

It was literally a room made of concrete. I think that made me. That pushed me to be who I am now. Always working hard for everything that I have [and] working hard for my future. It shaped the way I want my kids to be, always working hard and not having to go through what I went through so that they will never be in that space.

It wasn’t a good past, but I definitely do appreciate going through what I went through. If I could redo my life story, I wouldn’t change a thing.

The next thing you know we were able to go to America, and able to start over from literally nothing. 

If I could redo my life story, I wouldn’t change a thing.

So what was it like adjusting to America? Do you think coming to America was a positive thing?

Coming to America was similar to the movie “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” You come from literally nothing. Then, you come to America and you get to eat McDonald’s! [In Nigeria], we ate poor people’s food; we ate yams with palm oil. People in Nigeria who eat well, eat their yams with stew. We didn’t have enough money to afford stew, so when we came here, we all gained so much weight because we’d just discovered McDonald’s and pizza! We knew we could eat a lot for a really low price.

It was hard to adjust to school: I had an accent and I didn’t speak English well. [Actually], I didn’t speak English period, so I was placed in ESL, English as a Second Language. I had to step out of class every once in a while because of it. I was made fun of because of my accent. I didn’t have any friends; I mean, I had a few friends, but you know?

So when did you know you had a passion for hair and makeup?

I was in Nigeria. My mom did hair and that’s how she made things work [financially]. She cooked too, but hair was her main thing, and I would help her with her clients. When I came to America, I used to get in trouble all the time, [getting school] referrals and everything, for simply braiding other people’s hair in class.  I was willing to get in trouble for braiding hair without their permission. From then on, I’ve been doing hair professionally.

The makeup started with eye liner in high school. By my senior year, I saw what you could do with eyebrows, and I was amazed! I wanted to learn more by watching YouTube videos; it was something I wanted to do for myself. Next thing you know, I’m taking classes and learning from other makeup artists, and everyone liked my makeup! While doing hair, people started asking for my makeup services. So, people pushed me to start doing it for them; I never planned on doing makeup for others.

When did your walk with Christ start? What shaped your passion for Christ?

I’ve loved Christ since I was a child in Nigeria. My mom and dad’s spirituality influenced me a lot. Growing up, of course I was sinning; I was still in the world. I loved Christ because my family loved Christ. It was a family tradition. You don’t really appreciate it until you’re on your own and you realize how much this tradition means to you. Now, my spirituality is not a tradition; it’s a relationship. 

I gave my life to Christ about three to four years ago after my dad passed. His passing made me realize a lot of things. So, I guess that’s the answer: my dad’s passing drew me closer to Christ. It made me realize all the things he was doing here on earth for God. It made me realize I wasn’t doing enough. God showed me all the things he has done for me, even while I was in the world. I could talk about this all day. There are many reasons why I gave my life to Christ but I would say that’s the most significant. That was the turning point. 

My dad’s passing drew me closer to Christ.

You seem really optimistic, have you always had a positive outlook on things?

I won’t sit and act like I’m perfect. One thing I want people to know is that I am not perfect. After my dad passed, I went through the seven stages of grief: I was really mad at God. I had my own apartment, so, I found myself drinking wine all the time. I couldn’t sleep, so, I found my comfort in red wine. The excessive drinking continued until I found a church one day, Ground Zero Ministry, and God spoke to me. He told me “I know what you’re doing. You don’t have to do that. I am your father. I am father to the fatherless. I am here.” That was the last time I touched alcohol. I made a vow that I would never drink again until He says its time. [But] I am not perfect, I make mistakes. I do stupid things, too.

You own your own hair salon. When did you know you wanted to make beauty your career/your calling?

I knew it was my calling when God forced me to stop denying it. I kept trying to walk away from the hair and makeup life. I kept comparing myself to other people. Many of my friends are in medical school, well educated, and very smart; I kept telling myself that’s what I am supposed to be doing. Don’t get me wrong, I am still in school (Business Marketing), but I compared myself to everyone around me. God had to tell me: “You’re not them. The path I have for you is different. Even though you are surrounded by amazing people, you are amazing in different ways.” That’s when I finally realized: “This is who I am. This is what I am great at, and this is what God has given me.” So, I’m going to make the best out of it. This is my gift. I don’t want to lose it because I won’t enjoy being behind a desk.

What are your future goals in life?

I will be a successful, God fearing, business woman. I don’t want to be too rich, because I don’t want to be cocky. I want to be able to say I’ve owned franchises, and that I’ve owned more than ten [different types of] businesses. I want to be there for my kids instead of working so hard, which means I have to work hard now to be able to reach to that point.

How does your relationship with your significant other encourage the woman you hope to be? What advice do you have for women who want to have a healthy relationship?

Well, I’ll say this, just let that person push you to be the best you can be. The same way Lawrence, my boyfriend, pushes me to be the best I can be. I used to say “yes” to everything; he has taught me to not always say yes. He basically [encourages] me to not be a push-over. He pushes me towards Christ as well. [My advice is that you should have] someone who will lead you closer to Christ, not the world. That’s the best thing you could ever have.

Do you think you’re in a good place in life?

I appreciate the place I am in life. I could be in a better place, because I’m not comfortable yet. However, I’m thankful for where I am. I’m not where I used to be even yesterday. God is always elevating me someway somehow.

Pray. Find your confidence in Christ.

What advice can you give to our readers who have been through similar situations/insecurities?

Pray. Find your confidence in Christ. Social media has a view of what’s successful, what’s beautiful and what’s right, but it’s all wrong. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

On social media, it may seem like I wear makeup often; I do not. I have gone weeks and even months without makeup. The reason I do that is so people can get used to Ruth. And every once in a while they’ll meet Stacy, my alter ego. So, love yourself.

Regardless of what people say, you are beautiful. People called me ugly most of my life and throughout school: “The African girl.” I am still that same person! I can just do a little bit of makeup. Now those same people call me beautiful with or without makeup. It doesn’t matter what people say; you’re the same person.

Check out Ruth’s work on Instagram @STACYOMOYORUBA. If you’re in the Houston area and would like to book appointment with her, head here.