Ashley Isaac Tucker with a client while using the interlocking method to maintain locs. (Photo: Shirley Jackson)
TSD iMom columnist Brittany Holst (Photo: Shirley Jackson)

by Brittany Holst —

“I am a wife, mother of three, a hair stylist and makeup artist, and I have lupus,” said Ashley Isaac Tucker, who lives with the systematic autoimmune disease.

Lupus is a disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and organs.

As a stylist, Ashley, 28, realized her dream at the age of 8.

“I began braiding hair of the girls in the apartment complex where I lived in North Memphis. That was confirmation of the career path I wanted to take ⸺ the beauty industry. I took cosmetology courses while attending White Station High School. When I graduated in 2010, I was a few hours short of what was needed to obtain my (cosmetology) license,” said Ashley.

After high school, Ashley became pregnant and put her career goals on hold.

“In 2012, I was diagnosed with lupus and pregnant with my second child,” Ashley said.

After giving birth to her second child, she started her business, Coty Beauty Ashley (CBA). Her brand is represented by a purple butterfly in honor of lupus and also purple is her favorite color.

One sign of lupus is a butterfly-shaped rash across the cheeks and bridge of the nose. Other common skin problems include sensitivity to the sun with flaky, red spots or a scaly, purple rash on various parts of the body, according to webmd.com.

While working from home as a hair stylist and growing her clientele, Ashley went back to school to finish her training to get her cosmetology license, but her illness prevented her from completing the necessary hours needed to graduate.

In 2014 while pregnant with her third child, her health took a turn for the worst.

“I was in the hospital for 15 days fighting for my life. My heart and kidneys began to fail while I was carrying my child, who was born 2 months premature,” said Ashley.

Having recovered from her ordeal, she went back to school with hopes of finishing her hours, but learned that her high school cosmetology credits had expired.

“I was devastated by the news and decided to continue working from home. I made my business the focus. As my business started to expand, I had the opportunity to work with different people as a hair stylist and makeup artist for weddings, birthdays, photoshoots, etc.”

In relation to health and maintaining her business, Ashley said, “I have to set a schedule and give myself time to regroup. I would try to squeeze customers in even when I was feeling tired.”

Her self-determination along with her family’s support kept her going during times she felt like giving up.

This portrait by Jade Cole pictures Ashley Isaac Tucker surrounded by purple butterflies in a reference to Lupus. (Photo: Shirley Jackson)

“When flares happen for me, it is often met with nausea, dizziness and pain shooting throughout my body at random. The flares don’t last long, but it is all in the mind. If you can push yourself through those few minutes and think positively, it will be over before you know it. It’s all about control,” Ashley said.

As a way for her to control her flare ups, she changed her diet so she would not eat foods that could be a trigger and remained positive in her thoughts.

Over time, due to losing her own hair in the battle with lupus and working with other people, she started her own natural journey.

Ashley learned about natural hair care, how to grow it and keep it healthy. Her clientele also began to gravitate to those in need of a natural hair stylist. She specializes in locs/dreads and protective styling.

Traveling and working with other people inspired her to go back to school. She graduated from the Institute of Beauty in 2020, receiving her cosmetology license.

On New Year’s Day (2021), Ashley announced her billboard in Memphis near Wolfchase. She moved CBA into a suite at 4255 Cherry Center Dr.  She can be reached via phone, Facebook, or Instagram for booking information.

On Monday (Feb. 1), Ashley will launch CBA’s Quick Fix (an African wig headband) in honor of Black History Month. Each wig band will be unique and named after African-American women in history.

Her goal is to continue spreading self-love and self-confidence among women. She also is working on a hair show event for mothers and daughters, schedule for some time in May.

Her story is inspiring. To start on the journey of getting her cosmetology license and enduring setbacks but never giving up is something we all should be able to relate to.

No matter how much time goes by, you can always accomplish the goals you set even when it seems like something is always getting in the way to deter you.

(As women, we all have our individual testimonies of things we have struggled with and overcome. Do you have a story you would like to share? Contact me at [email protected])