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Meet The Queen of Spades Style

Meet The Queen of Spades Style

By Tricia Ross

Monifa, can you tell me what you are passionate about?

This question was posed to me at my first interview when I decided to leave the military and enter the civilian world. I practiced for interview questions like this for days, and then, at that moment, I was stumped. I generalized my answer, trying to make myself sound like an All American Woman.
When I left the interview, I kept asking myself, “What am I passionate about?” I had absolutely no idea!
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, to immigrant parents from Trinidad and Tobago. Growing up, I always wanted to help people, and I was fascinated with medicine, so becoming a nurse came naturally to me.
I attended Howard University in Washington, DC, and earned a Bachelor of Nursing degree. After graduation, I was searching for a purpose. I knew I wanted more than just going to work and coming home. I went with a friend to visit an Air Force recruiter, and after speaking with him about all the things nurses can do and the places they can go, at that moment, I knew this was my calling.
I spent almost nine years in the Air Force, working in various roles and locations. I loved being an airman and felt I was helping so many people and learned so much about myself, my inner strength, teamwork, and how much I can achieve with hard work.
Before I left the military, I applied for several job opportunities, and I was getting interviews. I purchased a great-looking suit, slicked my hair back in a bun, practiced questions and answers, and walked into interviews knowing I was prepared. I was ready, but the one thing I did not practice or know after spending time in the military was what I was passionate about outside of the Air Force. The question of what am I passionate about seem easy, but at the time, I honestly did not know the answer to that simple question.
I worked for various Fortune 500 companies, and I was the picture of what people thought the ‘Company Woman’ should look like. I dressed well, wore dark colors, and I even thought I had a permanent part in my head because of all the side swoop buns I wore all the time.
One day, I was about to make an appointment with my hairstylist for a chemical relaxer, and then I put down my phone. The previous month when it was applied, I got a chemical burn, and I asked myself, “Why do I keep hurting myself every month?”.
That was the moment I said I was not going to put the chemical relaxer in my hair and wear my hair naturally. To deal with growing out the chemical relaxer in my hair, I put braids in my hair and put the braids in a bun. I thought I looked fabulous! After having the braids in my hair for a few weeks, I took the braids out of my hair and then applied a lot of gel so that I could comb it into a bun.
I went to work, and a manager walked by my desk and noticed I took my braids out. I replied yes, and the manager stated, “Good, now you look professional.” I heard other things about my natural hair, but I always maintained that this is the hair that grows out of my head, and it is so beautiful!
When I went to department stores to find hair accessories, I only found hair accessories for women with straight hair. My hair has a thicker texture and needs other types of accessories to accentuate it. I started making my head wraps, hair combs, ponytail holders, headbands, etc.
I loved the creativity of making my hair accessories and loved even more that people noticed my creations. I became very passionate about hair, different textures, and the needs of the various hair textures. I was so passionate about what I was creating and helping people, that I decided one day I would start my company, Queen of Spades Style, and embrace all hair textures. My mission is to ‘Change the Narrative of what’s Beautiful.’ I make beautiful items for all hair textures, and I also have beautiful accessories that will not irritate the scalp for women with cancer and alopecia.
It took me years to realize what I am very passionate about, and as I get out there, meet people, help people, educate people and talk to people, my passion for Queen of Spades Style continues to grow more every day.
I am Monifa Caines, founder and CEO of Queen of Spades Style, and my passion is you and accentuating your authentic style with bold and bright accessories.

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