noun || yəNG ˈhefā
Nia Anderson is a hairstylist, non-profit (Chicago Change) creative lead, and kick-ass Mom living in Chicago. If you haven't seen her hustling in at least one of these three occupations, you're missing out.
TA: What’s your current hustle?
NA: My hustle has always been hairstyling. I remember being in college, and not to boast, butttttt I. Was. Killing. The. Land. doing hair, mainly extension installations (a.k.a. sew-ins). Everbody was coming to me and I honestly didn't think that it would be the main, and eventually only income I needed. My friends could tell you -- I'd be like "Damn, how am I about to get enough money to go on this spring break vacation?" Kid you not, in a matter of a day or two, I'd book 10 sew-ins, the week before my flight and be GUCCI for my trip. Happened every year.
TA: Describe the difference between your 9-5 and your 5-grind?
NA: From 9-5, I'm in either in Mommy mode or at my day job. 5-grind is the time I spend in cosmetology school -- after that, I'm going to pick up my daughter from the sitter, to head home and work on my personal brand and endeavors. That's when Nia Moss comes out. Strictly grind mode. I use these late hours to work on my website (www.niamoss.com), network online and offline (if I'm not at home with my daughter), brainstorm new ideas, potential power moves, and brand strategies, and homework/study. I write, pray, and truly think of the person I want to become. "What's my purpose (NIA)?" and "how can I maximize my influence/inspire others through the things that mean the most to me?," are often questions that come to mind. I want to present myself as the empowering, black, collegiate mother I am; the beauty connoisseur; a confidante to those around me; the executer; and I want to be known as much, so that I can make myself, my community, and my family proud. I want to grow with y'all.
TA: Who gave you the most memorable career advice?
NA: The most memorable career advice I received was actually recently. A hair stylist and amazing public speaker, Kelly Cardenas, visited my school to have a talk with us and said something that resonated with me -- "When you tiptoe into things, it'll be painful the whole time, but if you dive in, it'll be ok." He was relating it to stepping into cold ocean water -- when you inch your way in, the process of getting into the water is more painful, versus just diving in, and it being extremely uncomfortable in the beginning, but subsiding within seconds. That fear or state of uncomfortability is gone. I spend a lot of time second-guessing myself, or maybe thinking that some things may just not happen in life, but in reality, if I really go for it and just YOLO my way into things, what do I really have to lose? I can only gain and learn form the situation, so I just think "why not?"
TA: Has what you’re doing now been a life-long interest?
NA: Yes, what I'm doing now has been a life-long interest. I've been watching my mom do hair since I was in diapers, and lol all my baby dolls had braids with beads. She'd allow me to help her with clients as I got older. Eventually I built my own clientele. I knew I always wanted to get my cosmetology license, and so here I am. As far as blogging/influencing goes, I did know that I always wanted to share my story and journey along the way, and influence people positively. In the past, my biggest dream was to make my mark in the fashion/creative industry, which will always have a place in my heart, but I steered away from it when I became a mother, and started focusing more on sharpening my cosmetology skills and knowledge, and building my personal brand. Who knows, maybe I'll revisit it later down the line. I guess we'll see.
TA: Did you ever think you wouldn't make it to this point in your career? What kept you going?
NA: Do I think I wouldn't have made it to this point in my career? Although I would have never guessed that I'd accomplish the things I have, to be honest, I thought I'd be further. I set some expectations of myself that I wasn't personally honest about or consistent with. I used things that happened in life as excuses, and I'm tired of doing that. I want to be intentional and really go after the things I've always wanted. Sometimes, it can be easier said than done, but trying to convince yourself that it's impossible won't get you any further. You have total control over the actions you take, so start taking some accountability. Have a pep-talk with yourself, do whatever you need to do to get ready for the next steps in your life, and make them happen. The excuses you create are just an illusion, a way the devil is trying to knock you off your game and distract you. I highly doubt you want to be left with a bunch of what-ifs, holding resentment against yourself and the people/things you allowed to get in the way.
TA: If you could tell your younger self one thing about work ethic, what would it be?
NA: If I could tell my younger self one thing about work ethic, it would be to not half-ass anything I'm serious about and to remain CONSISTENT no matter what gets thrown in my path. Also, that if I want something, to speak up and ask for it. Want a raise? Say something. Want a promotion? Say something. Think something is unfair or unjust? Speak up AND SAY SOMETHING. If not you, then who? And if not now, then when? The absolute worst possible outcome? Someone disagrees, and says no. Shocker! You just go knocking on a different door. For every dozen, or two dozen, or three dozen no's, you'll be told yes. You won't get that outcome though unless you keep trying.
TA: What has been your favorite “project,” so far?
NA: My favorite project thus far? Myself. I've been my biggest work in progress. I can be pretty hard on myself sometimes. I'm teaching myself things like self-worth, love, vulnerability, gentleness with myself and my heart, space and energy protecting, and so much more. It's a process, and I'm nowhere near the end result. I'm being patient with myself, and learning that through faith, lessons/learning, and perseverance, you can always make "it" happen, whatever that may be.
TA: Who are your 3 “must-follows” on Instagram?
NA: My 3 must-follows on Instagram are @kingmalimagic, makeup and artistry goals, @kofisiriboe because not only is he BAE, but what he gives/shares with the world, and his page and self-aesthetic is on point, and @alex_elle because for keeping me inspired to continue growing and pushing through, despite what comes along on my journey.
TA: How would your inner circle describe your hustle?
NA: My inner circle would describe my hustle just as I did. They know my dedication to the hair game, my brand, and my dreams. In fact, I met all of them through hair -- they were all my first clients and/or we bonded through creativity, fashion, and art. Every single one of them. I have some really amazing friends. Realest thing I've ever heard? "Surround yourself with people who make you feel untouchable, and if they don't make you feel that way, then you don't need to be around them." Yeah, I have those friends that make me feel untouchable and all we do is gas each other up and push each other toward all of our dreams, no matter how big and wild. My friend could be like "I want to travel with the circus." We just be like "F*** it, do it, you'd be a beast at it." Like actually though. Those are just the kinds of friends I have.
NA: My closing statement to you: 1. If no one told you today, you're beautiful. 2. Always remember, in every situation, that we have one shot at this life, and this is what you don't want to spend it doing: doubting yourself and your capabilities, letting others negatively impact your mojo and dreams for yourself, letting a no define and limit you, fearing the release of the creativity and ideas you have because you're scared of what someone might think, spending your valuable time around people who don't push you, support you, or have any respect for loyalty, reciprocity, honesty, and the true meaning of friendship/family. 3. Spend your time loving you and putting yourself first, exuding positivity and love into the universe, and really recognizing the impact you want to leave on the world and the people in it. No goal is too big or too small. Just go for it with intent, purpose, and give it everything you got.