Jul 10, 2014
03:15 PM
Health & Wellness

Beauty Expo With Oprah-Style Star Power to Empower Connecticut Women

Beauty Expo With Oprah-Style Star Power to Empower Connecticut Women

Empowering Through Beauty Founder and CEO Tanisha Akinloye

Through the years she spent as a hairstylist, Tanisha Akinloye has seen the transformative power of makeovers. She knows that looking good can make you feel good, and she’s dedicated her life to giving that power to women.

In 2010 she launched her Bridgeport-based nonprofit organization Empowering Through Beauty, Inc. (ETB) to help women—the homeless, unemployed or underemployed—who aspire to transition back into the workforce. Over the past four years, the nonprofit has assisted more than 500 clients (both men and women), helping them feel more confident through beauty and health services, job training and education.

Clients are referred to ETB by local churches and community organizations such as the United Congregational Church in Bridgeport. Selected clients are then connected with salon partners (the nonprofit works with businesses in Bridgeport and Westport, among other places) for makeovers and a full salon experience.

Akinloye will also go to shelters or clients' homes to perform makeovers.

“It was definitely a component that was missing,” Akinloye says of helping disadvantaged women. “I saw and felt the need that these women had transitioning back into the workforce. They didn’t have the support that they needed…They’re going from disempowered to empowered.”

Now ETB is taking its mission a step further with the upcoming ETB expo, “A Celebration of Beauty,” where beauty professionals, vendors and career women will come together to give attendees a well-rounded confidence building experience.

“I want every woman to share in this awesome empowerment opportunity,” says Akinloye. “It’s a powerhouse event.”

(Akinloye with ETB clients at the nonprofit's first expo, left.)

The expo will take place July 26 from 5 to 10 p.m. at The Stamford Innovation Center in Stamford. Regular admission costs $35 and VIP tickets cost $55.

This is the nonprofit’s second expo; the first took place in earlier this year in Trumbull. Approximately 300 people attended that event, and Akinloye says she expects at least an equal turnout on July 26. 

“A Celebration of Beauty” will be a little bigger and better than the first expo. It will include the EmpowerHER awards ceremony, a select panel of speakers, a fashion show and a beauty bar—together providing a mix of "glitz, glam and education."

“Our EmpowerHER Awards are given out in celebration of the intelligence, strength, courage and determination of women who are creating social change, making a difference and inspiring others to do the same,” the ETB CEO explains in a press release. 

The list of award recipients includes Kitt Shapiro (left), daughter of the legendary entertainer Eartha Kitt, who is the president of Eartha Kitt Productions and Simply Eartha.

“With my designs for the Simply Eartha™ line of 'accessories that 'SAY something', I now build on the amazing legacy my mother left me, inspiring and empowering her fans, old and new,” Shapiro says in a press release. “Receiving the EmpowerHER Legacy of Love award is a fitting tribute to the incredible mother-daughter bond we shared.”

Other honorees include Kathy McShane, Connecticut director of the nationally renowned organization Ladies Who Launch; Carolyn Vermont, vice president at the National Black MBA Association; author, talk show host and therapist Trevor Crow; Shantana Hazel, founder of the Sister-Girl Foundation, Inc. and Patricia West, mother of Logan West, who was Miss Teen USA and Miss Teen Connecticut.

Event attendees will also have the opportunity to listen to a panel of speakers that includes the Oprah Winfrey Network's “Love in the City” celebrity Bershan Shaw (right), author and Tom Joyner Morning Show producer Deya Smith, best-selling author Lucinda Cross, celebrity life coach Jeannine Yoder, R&B singer Gabriel Brunot, master hair designer LaVoughn Gay, celebrity fashion designer Hope Wade, business coach Molly Rider, fashion designer Justin Hayes, Ms. CT Plus America Apriel Biggs and Miss Teen Connecticut Sydney West.

"I'm honored to participate in the Empowering Through Beauty Expo,” Bershan Shaw says in a press release. “It is so important for women to understand being beautiful starts from the inside. We must uplift and encourage each other and not tear each other down, that is empowering and that is beautiful."

There will be plenty to do, see and experience at the ETB expo, and Akinloye encourages both women and men to attend.

“I’m all about trying to take lives to the next level,” she says. “Every woman who can should be there and share in this empowerment opportunity.”

For more information on the “A Celebration of Beauty” expo, visit the website at etbexpo.com.

For more on Empowering Through Beauty, see the organization's website.

Contact me by email at khartman@connecticutmag.com and follow me on Twitter, and connect with Connecticut Magazine on Twitter, on Facebook and on Google +

Beauty Expo With Oprah-Style Star Power to Empower Connecticut Women

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