As I have mentioned before, the DMV is the place to be. It is an area where black professional millennials reside, and thrive. Not only are the men doing their thing, but the women who are sure changing the game. In part 1, I highlighted some amazing, and phenomenal women. There were so many great women doing the damn thing…I had to come back with another one! So here we are again….Women on the Rise: DMV Edition Pt. 2
1. The Nicole Briana (@thenicolebriana)
Nicole Briana is currently an Internet Radio Personality, Social Media Manager and Event Curator in the DMV.
Nicole’s passion for communications has grown more through her experience with social media, marketing, and branding. Her background and experience in social media management for both small and large brands is what allows Nicole to see such success when working with a range of clients.
Nicole is currently running her Social-Me Digital Marketing company that works on growing brands recognition both online and in person. Nicole works with brands through workshops, masterclasses and managing day to day social media accounts.
She is also a freelance radio host working with a variety of platforms such as 1500 radio, Shoe City radio and DTLR Radio. Her hosting’s range from workshops to facilitate networking events, speaking on panels, and hosting social events.
She is a woman on the rise because she’s a boss that is determined to make her dream come true. I met Briana a few years ago while we were both on the Black and Gold Royal Court at our schools, since then she has stood out. She is a go getter. She has a vision, and she follows through with it. This can been seen in her her workout journey (her body is bomb), her companies, and who she is as a person. She inspired me to create a lane and dominate it. She teaches me to put my shyness and fear aside and go after what I want, all while being me.
2. Yetunde Oriola (@yetunchi)
Yetunde Oriola is a 24 year old beauty-boss from Prince George’s County, MD. She has been a makeup artist for 6 years. She specializes in photoshoots, video, bridal makeup, special events makeup artistry, and makeup classes. She realized her love of makeup and beauty at the age of 16. Once she started college at Morgan State University, she found her drive to push forward and pursue makeup artistry seriously. My sis also has a Beauty Line called Beatbyye Beauty. She has so many upcoming things in store for 2020. She attained her degree in Public Relations from Morgan State and she applies it to Beatbyye daily, but she plans on getting into the PR industry in a big way next year and she’s excited to show everyone what she has in store!
Yetunde is a woman on the rise because she literally loves watch she does and she does whatever in her power to take it to the next level. She is the definition of investing in yourself. She has invested into her business and has used it to enhance every client that sits in her chair. You sit in her chair and you come out feeling like a new woman! Not only does she care about her business, but she cares about each and every client she comes across. When you sit in her chair, I promise…you’re in for a good time!
3. Anuoluwapo “Liz” James (@lizlenses)
Anuoluwapo “Liz Lenses” James was born and raised in Prince George’s County ,Maryland. She is a 24 year old first generation Nigerian. She received her B.A in Public Relations, Advertising, and Media Sales, and she is currently getting her Masters in Human Resources Development and Project Management. Liz describes herself as a 24-year old millennial trying to take the world by storm! Growing up, the pressure to become a doctor or lawyer was put on by her parents. She grew up rebellious because she wanted to break the mold, and forge her own path. Elizabeth has a constant desire to excel. She’s doing so by taking the right steps by working and attending graduate school. Although she’s a student, she still makes time to pursue her true love of photography and media corresponding.
She is a woman on the rise because there are few and many Nigerian women in Media, and even less who are as good as Liz. She is a mastermind behind the lens, and her vision is game changing. I have seen it first hand how she has worked her ass off, and networked to make her dream a possible one. She’s the sweetest person ever, and as soon as you talk media to her…her eyes light up. You can literally feel the passion she has for it. I respect her so much, and I am so proud of the woman she’s becoming.
4. Funmike Lagoke (@funmike.lagoke)
Funmike Lagoke is an educator in the arts, a performer and recently crowned Miss Nigeria USA 2019. A Nigerian-American born in Washington, DC, she was raised in Lagos and London. She earned her bachelors of Arts in Music from Morgan State University. She is a vocal instructor and music teacher for Baltimore City Public Schools. Funmike has been teaching music for the last five years and believes that she has found her purpose in teaching by giving back as well as being a positive influence and advocate for our future leaders of tomorrow. In performing, Funmike is a classically trained singer. She has performed in many Operas and continues to perform and make debuts throughout the country. This past May, she won a beauty pageant and became Miss Nigeria USA 2019. She went on the platform of Promoting Performing Arts in Education. Since then she has been attending many galas and events to promote her platform. She is also working on an event gearing towards the youth and arts. Funmike continues to teach as she educates her students on music being a universal language, and a tool that gives power and expression. She continues to perform and promote her platform as Miss Nigeria USA 2019.
Ms. Lagoke is a woman on the rise because she’s a star whose light will probably never go dim. When you hear her sing, I assure you it’s nothing like you’ve heard before. Sis is GIFTED. What is even better is that she uses her gift to educate and inspire the youth (y’all know I love the kids), and I stan. In addition to being a fabulous star and an amazing educator, this beauty is a Queen. A Queen who is utilizing her platform and putting on for our sweet country of Nigeria. I really look forward to all the amazing things she has in store.
5. Brittney Andreá Mays (@ill_bambina)
Andreá Mays, (pronounced Un-dray-uh) was born in DC and raised in Suitland, MD. At a young age, she understood that she loved every aspect of capturing memories first through photography and then moving towards videography during college. She knew that her future was in the visual arts.
Attending thee illustrious Morgan State University, she successfully crossed over into her true passion TV/Film Production. With more than 10 years of professional and technical skills, her hunger, drive, and determination led her to relocate to Los Angeles, CA, where she is currently a Producer and Digital Media Tech. Andreá is fueled by her passion to continuously learn more. She always says a forever student is forever evolving and she believes this is the key to success!
She is a woman on the rise because…for starters, she literally decided to move cross country and made it happen. She packed her things into her car and moved to California. In addition to all this, Andrea is a person who wants to use her passion in TV/Film production to change the narrative of minorities. Her projects have highlighted and brought awareness to many under represented communities, and it has educated me in so many ways. Saying I am proud of this young lady is an understatement. I’m looking forward to the day I can see her name in the credits of a major movie!
6. Gloria Nnaji (@africanglow)
Gloria Nnaji (commonly known as Africanglow), is a 25 year old born and raised in Washington D.C. by way of her Nigerian (Igbo) culture. She is a model and a creative. Even though she was born here in the United States, she never fails to express her Nigerian culture.
Like many African kids, she was brought up in a well structured and strict household. Modeling was not considered to be a career option. With that in mind, she attended Trinity Washington University where she was forced to major in nursing. Through her matriculation, she figured out it wasn’t for her.
Throughout her life she has worked with children. Having worked with children, this introduced her to children who come from broken homes. Hearing so many of their stories, this inspired her to become a child life specialist. However, circumstances occurred that did not allow her to finish school, but she does plan to finish what she started.
Modeling was something she never imagined herself doing, but in 2013 she stepped in front of her very first camera and from there “Africanglow” was born. Despite many struggles and pressure in the beginning, she began turning her modeling into art and her creativity began to blossom.
Her goal as a model and creative is to break the barriers and stereotypes in the modeling industry, as well as inspire other through her art. She hopes to become an international model and be a role model for other women around the world! Since her start as a model, she has been mentioned in Yahoo Beauty, Kontrol Mag “2017’s popping models you should follow”, This is 50, Pluto TV, Allure Magazine, and BET.
Gloria is a woman on the rise because she has had so many obstacles thrown her way, and instead of letting it stop her, she uses it to fuel her drive. From the pressures of being an upcoming model, to having to deal with personal health issues, she hasn’t let anything stop her. She instead continues to create art, and bless our timelines daily. Sis is so poppin, she’s had many people recreate her shoots, and not give her the credit. Either way, this is one woman who will take the modeling industry by storm.
7. Taylor Moore (@tay3k_)
In a male dominated field ….she’s the 1% they talk about. She creates experiences that can’t be duplicated or imitated only rewatched to savor the memory. She is the host with the most…Taylor Moore.
Taylor Moore, better known as Tay3k, is a 23-year-old professional host and media personality from Washington DC. She graduated from Morgan State University in May of 2018, where she obtained her degree in Strategic Communications. She did this while serving in more than 7 organizations. Hard-work and Dedication is nothing new to her. She is committed to using her platform to inspire people to become the greatest version of themselves while living their dreams. Her philosophy on life is that people remember none what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel. She looks at herself as a Content Creator not a host. With plans to land her own segment on MTV, she uses every opportunity to her advantage to create a once in a lifetime experience that can never be replaced. The 3K experience is truly one like no other.
Tay is a woman on the rise because through her hosting, she really provides an experience. She started hosting in college and to see where she has come is so inspiring. She has a plan, and she is sticking to it. She is a hard worker and one hell of a creative. Her personality and vibe is unmatched and she is a good time. She is guaranteed to make any event she hosts a poppin one. Be sure to catch her this October at MimosaCity Homecoming, where she will be curating all the vibes!
8. Kayla Thomas (@sheisk.nicole_)
Kayla N. Thomas born and raised in Landover, Maryland. She was raised in a single family home with my two older sisters , mother and grandmother. She didn’t grow up in a traditional family style home with a father or marriage, but the women who raised her have shaped her into being the amazing women she is today. She graduated from one of the National Treasures of this country, Morgan State University. She received a Bachelors of Science in Family & Consumer Sciences with a concentration in Fashion Merchandising. During her Matriculation at Morgan state University she was able to serve as Miss F.A.C.S for the 2015-2016 academic school year by aiding in community service, Fundraiser for The F.A.C.S club and assisting in multiple Morgan state Fashion shows.
After graduating, she set out to be a personal stylist and Lifestyle blogger. Thus, creating her Personal Signature Agency and SheIsKnicole. Both platforms were created to bring awareness to young professionals excelling as entrepreneurs and creating the life they so desire while looking great. Her vision is to be able to serve her peers in multiple ways to encourage them to go after their dreams, goals, and aspirations.
Ms. Thomas is a woman on the rise because she is one of the most consistent and determined people I have ever met. She is one of the most talented and professional bloggers I come across. She continues to grow and expand, and as a blogger she has inspired me in so many ways. The content she pushes out is amazing, and she is a role model for women everywhere. If you haven’t checked out her blog, you are missing out!
9. Rakiatu Bangura (@queen.raki)
Rakiatu is a Sierra Leonean born dancer that has always had a love and passion for dance since the womb. She started competing in dance competitions at the early age of 6 years old, but she later stopped to pursue cheerleading. She resumed dancing in college by joining her school’s African dance team. From there, during her sophomore year, her dance career took off and she became a professional dancer. She has worked with many world renowned artists and organizations since then. Her most profound achievement was starting my own dance company, Adama Dance Agency (@theadaofficial).
Her dance agency aims to manage aspiring dancers and aide them in their professional careers, using various resources and connections. She has experienced so many setbacks when she first started her dance career, and she knew she wanted to impact other dancers as well. She created the company to help those, who like herself, need the support and guidance. Although most people know her for dance, she has many other gifts. She’s a hairstylists and ABA Therapist. She is extremely passionate about children and she believes kids are truly the driving force behind all that she does.
Raki is a woman on the rise, not only because of her talents, but her heart as well. She is one of the most nurturing and caring women I have ever met. She literally puts everyone else before her own, and she isn’t lying when she says children are her life. Aside from caring for the youth, she uses her dance talent to being smiles to people everywhere. She’s such an amazing dancer and choreographer, and I am so happy to come across such a beautiful soul. If you’re an aspiring dancer, this is the woman to follow!
10. Elizabeth Morafa (@lola_mora)
Elizabeth Morafa, best known as Lola Mora, was born and raised in the DC Metropolitan area . She attended Frostburg State University, where she found her passion for fashion . Serving as the President of Visual Couture models for 3 years, it prepared her to be the leader she is today . After producing 6 fashion shows and designing her first collection, she noticed the absence of curvy couture clothing in the fashion industry. This gave her a push to start her own custom clothing company. In 2017, she launched her clothing business right after graduating from Frostburg. After a year of ups and downs with her company , she rebranded and renamed her clothing boutique to Zamora LLC, and my good sis decided to go into international manufacturing.
Lola was so determined to figure out how to get into manufacturing for Zamora, she decided to randomly go to China and figure things out on her own . Although it was a very bold and risky step for her business she describes it as the best move she could’ve made. She is currently working on her plus-size luxury line that is projected to debut the end of the year.
Although fashion is her passion, she is studying for her Master’s in Health Informatics Administration at University of Maryland. She is currently a health educator, and plans on using her health education experience to transition into the health technology industry.
She is a woman on the rise because she is paving her own way. She is the definition of self made. Her business wasn’t something she just built in a day. It was a culmination of things since her days in undergrad. I remember being in college, and seeing the pieces she designed herself. She has always been confident in who she is and her abilities. She works hard and goes out of her way to make her brand quality, and you all will be able to see that in her upcoming collection!
11. Jamia Coleman (@miajcosmetix)
Jamia Coleman, born in Washington, D.C. and raised in PG county, is a 24 year old salon owner (YES, I said salon owner!), brand ambassador and beauty entrepreneur. She graduated from thee illustrious Morgan State University, where she received her B.A in Public Relations. Jamia Co-founded Luxe Cosmetix Beauty Bar (@luxecosmetixbeautybar) in February, and has worked with many beauty brands, including SheaMoisture.
Her passion for the beauty industry came from a very young age. It stemmed from her having very long thick hair. Her mother never wanted to manage it, so she learned how to do it herself! By the age of 7, she was doing her own hair, and by the age of 10 she started doing her friends’ hair. As she got older and social media developed, she took that as an opportunity to brand herself. Throughout her career, Jamia has curated beauty tailored events and developed brand content. She has her hands in all things beauty, and she continues to evolve within the local beauty culture! Pretty soon this beauty boss will be taking over everywhere.
She is a woman on the rise because used her talents to establish a business for herself. At such a young age, she is the co-owner of her own shop. She hires other boss women to work there, and provides a luxury experience for every woman who talks in her doors. She loves everything hair and beauty, and she is a branding genius. If you want to get your hair slayed, while getting an amazing experience, be sure to visit Luxe Cosmetix Beauty Bar located in Fort Washington, Maryland!
12. Lolade Faniola (@lolamontanaa)
Lolade (Lola) Fanilola was born in Nigeria and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. In 2013, Lola had her very first job as being a server. While working, she noticed the people in the kitchen made more money with more hours, despite the fact that she had no interest in cooking, she asked to be transferred to the kitchen.
After working there for a few, she ended up getting fired because of school, from there she relied solely on her hair business. Her roommate, Yetunde, (who is mentioned earlier in the list) did makeup and every-time she had a client, she would watch and learn. Eventually, she picked up the skills and took up a few makeup classes. From there, she developed her hair and makeup brand, LADEMADEIT.
Last November, she began to notice she picked up on a few cooking skills from her old job. From technique, to presentation, she saw she was really good at it. This pushed her to start posting her work on instagram. Once she did, people began inquiring and was the start of her cooking business.
What inspires her cooking is the art of it all. She loves to decorate food and plates, and she loves how one can make a dish look more appealing than it actually is. She describes her style of cooking as clean. Apart from Youtube University, she learned majority of what she knows from the kitchen she once worked. Her amazing skills have reached many people, amongst them are African celebrities like King Promise, R2bes, Mr. Eazi, Masterkraft, and Tekno. She is currently building her “Brunch-in-Style” brand locally and nationally for others to enjoy her experience!
She is a woman on the rise because she is a triple threat. She does hair, makeup, and is a professional cook! She has single handedly changed the face of cooking as a Nigerian. She brings a twist to our traditional dishes, while making them brunch appropriate. Her brunch in style brand has introduced many people in the dmv a way to experience our dishes. While she’s not providing delicious meals she’s slaying faces and heads. She is a one stop shop, and this is a black owned business you won’t regret supporting.
13. Yaya Luchi (@yaya.luchi)
Yaya Luchi is a graduate of Salisbury University and Bowie State. She has her masters in Human Resource Development from Bowie State and she double majored in Conflict Analysis Dispute & Resolution and Sociology at Salisbury University.
Yaya grew up in the DMV, and it was here that she realized there is a surplus of Yoruba women. With that in mind, she felt that she could create a great space for like minded individuals who share the same culture to network together. Thus, Yoruba Girls Connect was born.
Yoruba Girls Connect is a platform for women to share their love for the Yoruba culture. The goal is to culturally uplift one another while supporting, encouraging, and expressing their individual gifts. This group will promote networking, professional and social development, political awareness, and ultimately collaboration. This group is not limited to the DMV area, but will be the start up of a world wide venture. The group gives Yoruba women a space to come together and grow together.
She is a woman on the rise because she created a space for young women to come together to fellowship, grow, and support one another. I am all for women’s empowerment, and anyone who creates a space for women to come together in a positive way, I will always support. If you are a Yoruba babe in the DMV area, make sure you’re following YBC for more updates and events!
All these women have inspired me in one way or another, and I wanted to support and highlight them for the great things they are doing. I charge you all to get to know these women and hear their stories. You are sure to be inspired as well. I look forward to working with these women and bringing you all amazing things! I hope these two posts have brought a sense of togetherness and pride in being from the DMV. Again, thank you for the support……and the Men’s edition is coming soon :)!