Hello, my name is Tracy Riggs. I’ve been a hair stylist and make-up artist for 22 years.

From the moment I started styling my Barbie dolls’ hair, hair styling became a natural thing for me. As a kid, I taught myself how to braid hair and put up a “fly” ponytail or two.

All through school I was the designated hair stylist to all my friends. Before being properly trained, I could cut, curl and relax hair, or even sew in a Salt-n-Pepa weave if I had to!

After I graduated high school I went straight to cosmetology school. In beauty school I became the designated stylist to all of my peers. Students would come to my class and want me to do their hair. That was the greatest compliment I could get.

At age 24 I opened my first hair salon. I saved my money while working in a salon then rented a building and had my first Grand Opening! I had no bank loan, an accomplishment I’m very proud of.

After winning several hair competitions in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, I was asked to go to London and work as a platform artist to represent a product line called D-orum.

D-orum was a new relaxer system that Leisure Curl came out with back in the day. I gladly accepted and went to London twice, as well as Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica. All in the name of hair and makeup.

As a celebrity stylist, I’ve worked on several music videos with artist Lil Kim, Charlie Baltimore, Cam’ron, Mase and Mary J Blige. I have also done hair for artist Jasmine Sullivan, Kindred and the family Soul, The Spooks, Ce Ce Peneston and Erykah Badu.

Speaking of Ms. Badu, she was in Atlantic City on her way to do a jam session with the Roots in Philadelphia when a friend of mine called and asked me if I could fit her in.

I had a salon full of women waiting to be serviced, but of course I wasn’t turning down an opportunity to do Ms. Badu’s hair! When she arrived and took off her scarf and cowboy hat, she had a head full of beautiful autumn honey colored hair, and it was healthy!

I couldn’t wait to get my hands in it! The first thing she said to me before I started was, “It feels good in here, Tracy.” She was referring to the vibe I had going on in my salon. There was neo soul music playing in the background, candles lit and positive energy was flowing. She wanted her hair spiked and wild and I HOOKED IT UP!

In fact, she called me to tell me, “Girl, Tracy, I love my hair! Thank you so much. I will never let someone who is not a Pisces do my hair again!” I am probably one of the very few people who have ever seen Erykah Badu’s real hair!

I believe that image is something you should pay attention to because it’s the first thing people notice before you even say a word. You have to make sure your image on the outside reflects who you are and what you believe on the inside.

As a columnist for Qcitymetro.com, I’ll offer tips on the latest in hair trends, beauty products as well as hair care and how-to videos! Email your questions to tracy@tracyrigggsinc.com or visit www.tracyriggsinc.com

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