In episode 159, Erik and Kerel talk with Shalita Grant, Founder and CEO of Four Naturals Hair, a company designed to care for type 4 hair, about her upbringing, how it made her tough and resilient, eventually taking her to a full ride at Juilliard at 17, going on to Broadway and nominated for a Tony, to becoming a series regular on NCIS: New Orleans. She also shares her on-set experience of her hair becoming more and more dry and abused by ill-equipped hairstylists eventually leading to leaving her TV show, and how that has brought her business Four Naturals Hair to fruition.
Shalita shares how she researched, experimented, and saw incredible results from the plant ingredients and practices she gathered from India and North Africa and has made it her mission to help those with type 4 hair. Four Naturals Hair is all about education, being yourself, and improving the lives of Black women, men and children’s lives with their hair.
“At the end of the day, if you want a better life, you have to do stuff to get it. And you have to be open to opportunities, and you have to be ready. And it is unfair, because you never know when the opportunity is coming. But that's life, baby, like use what you got.”
We want to welcome all of our listeners to another episode of MRP, Minority Report Podcast with Erik and Kerel. Each episode we talk with real operators and leaders in media, tech and business. Today joining us is Shalita Grant, who's the Founder of Four Naturals Hair. We're excited she's here today, so, Shalita, welcome, how are you?
Shalita Grant 00:27
Hi! Great. And I'm excited to be here.
Excellent. Excellent. Yeah, we are thrilled to jump in and get to know you. Shalita, I want to hear all about Four Naturals Hair, but first, I'd love to know a little bit about you. Shalita, where are you from? Where were you born and raised?
Shalita Grant 00:46
Oh, boy, alright, this is a whole other podcast. So, I was actually born in Baltimore, Johns Hopkins Hospital. My parents were kids. My mom was 18. My dad was 17. And I always say kids make terrible parents. There was a lot of moving around. So for the first like, five ish years, I was in Maryland. But after a year, my mom gave me to a grandparent. And then that grandparent gave me to another grandparent. And then my mom went to jail. She got a felony charge. And that's how I got down to Virginia. I lived there for 10 years. She did like two years. When she got out, we moved a lot. So I went to six different elementary schools. I went to the same middle school, but moved a lot during that time, and I went to two different high schools. So in the middle of 10th grade, I moved with my dad's family in Baltimore, and I was there for two, two and a half years. And then I got myself into Juilliard when I was 17, and I lived in New York for seven years. I feel like that city like, gave me the adult bones that I needed to go with all the hard knocks I took for the 17 years prior. And yeah, after getting nominated for a Tony, I moved out to LA. So I've lived pretty much all over the US, but the East Coast is where things got started.
We are not going to just gloss over the Tony nomination.
Shalita Grant 02:22
Back to that. But I'm fascinated and thank you for sharing your background and your history as, you know, you're certainly not the only one to have, I think, a life that has you even sort of live with almost different multi generational sort of households. And also, you know, living with maybe two different parents and different times in your life. So I'm curious, what were those experiences like living with your grandparents when you were younger? And then also living with your dad a little bit later? Tell us a little bit about that.
Shalita Grant 02:57
Yeah, so my mom was the oldest of seven. So all of my aunts and uncles were also kids, right? And so they did like a lot of the childcare, right. And so when you're a kid raised by kids, I feel like I came into like, like consciousness a lot, like sooner. And that experience of like, okay, like, everyone around me is just kind of like figuring this stuff out. I feel like the ends don't justify the means, but you know, the career that I chose to go into, and the career that gave me a passport before anybody in my family, I left the country before anyone [in my family], I got on a plane before anyone in my family. So like, this career that is very, like not the thing that is stable, not the thing you want to encourage people to go into, was actually the thing that I was super successful at. And it's because, you know, from a very young age, I had to learn how to adapt, right? Like, when you're raised by other kids, everyone's figuring it out. So I knew I couldn't depend on getting support or depend on getting, like guidance, like when I had a problem. And I was the oldest of my mom's kids. So between my two parents, I'm the only child. So all of my step siblings are half step and then they decided to even adopt a boy, boy. But, you know, I'm the oldest, so a lot of times I was home alone with the kids. And so it was like me having to figure out like how to solve these basic problems. So I feel like in a lot of ways, I was way more ready for adult life than even some of my Juilliard classmates. So the thing about Juilliard for the Acting Program is that you know, everyone's a different age. They have like the kids that are coming out of high school, but then they have people that had whole careers, like Adam Driver, he was in the military and used his military package to pay for Juilliard, right. So he had his own set of, you know, experiences and life experience, right. So everyone's coming with this different stuff, but, you know, in my class, I kind of felt like I was a contemporary with the older students, because I had such a thick life up till that point.
Interesting. Yeah, I was just gonna ask you about that, you know, your 17 year, like, I'm gonna go to Juilliard at some point, right? So, what's that like? Like, how do you prepare? And then what's that process like to sort of get started down that path? Because that was obviously really impactful for you and your life as well.
Shalita Grant 05:50
Yeah. So okay, we have to talk about high school. So, high school... okay, so middle school, I was hanging out at the high school. And so in eighth grade, we had this like sleepy meeting where these people came in, they were like, "Oh, we're opening these Governor's Schools and there's one that's like enrichment and it's like for the super smart kids. And then we have this Governor's School, that's for the arts kids." And so at that point, I was like, okay, well, I know what Petersburg high school is like, this is in Virginia. So I think I'm gonna try for one of these governor's schools, because again, I don't have anything to lose, right? Like, everything is always up for me, baby, you know? So I was like, I'm gonna audition for the Acting Program. I get into the Acting Program. And this is something that happens to people like a lot, and it's managing your disappointment, right? You think you want something, and then the reality of the thing, there are all of these, like, aspects of the experience that you are not prepared for. And so one of those was like, we weren't really acting, you know, it was like, glorified, like, you know, just like a better school to go to, but it wasn't challenging. So, you know, I reverted to some really bad habits. I started skipping, and you know, whatever. So then I get shipped off to Baltimore, and I live with my dad's family. Now, my dad, he was 17 when I was born. But when he was 12, he just decided he didn't want to go to school anymore. And because he was my grandmother's only biological child, he was like her Jesus. He was just like, "I don't want to go to school." And she was like, "Okay!" And so he just lived this, like 'New Jack City life' and he just assumed nobody wanted to go to school. So when I moved in with him, his thing was like, she don't want to go to school. So I became the live in nanny babysitter for the other kids. And so after, like, a month or so of this, I'm like, uh uh, like, I'm wanna go to school. (laughs) So I had to petition him, like, I gotta go to school. So he had told my mom he got me into the Baltimore School for the Arts. He never even called them. So we just like showed up to BSA, my dad, you know, he's looking like, you know, Dipset Crew. And me. We're like, he's like, I need to see the head of the program or whatever. And so they bring Donald Hicken down, and I'm like, "Listen, I have extenuating circumstances. I'm coming from a different state. I know I'm late, to old, you know, for the audition, but give me a shot. I'll audition for you right here. Like, I got monologues, right." And he was like, come back in a week, we'll do this right. I got myself into that school. So that experience for me was like, listen, it's only you and you. Like, at the end of the day, if you want a better life, you have to do stuff to get it. And you have to be open to opportunities, and you have to be ready. And it is unfair, because you never know when the opportunity is coming. But that's life, baby, like use what you got, right? So in my last year at that school, that's when they kind of, and this is another thing, mentors are so important, right? They were like, "Hey, there is Juilliard, there are all of these like scholarships that you can win and all this stuff. So they put us in these like, these scholarship program like competitions and stuff. And I just started winning. And then I had to get a passport because I was going to England and I was going to China, you know, my last year of high school, and then the auditions for the colleges came around. And for me, it was like, I don't have any money. I'm going to fill out this FAFSA and like hope to god somebody gives me some scholarship, and I auditioned for three schools, Juilliard, NYU, University of the Arts, and I got into two of those schools and Juilliard gave me all the money. So I was like, "I guess I'll go to the Juilliard School." And guys, like, I did not know what this was, okay. I just was doing what these mentors said to do, like, you know, be prepared, apply, you know, whatever. And for me again, it was like, it's a financial thing. I can't go to any of these schools if they don't give me any money. And so the school gave me all the money. My first week in New York City in my orientation for Juilliard was when I found out I got into the school for Acting.
Well, congratulations on getting into the school for Acting. Tell us a little bit about your experience at Juilliard.
Shalita Grant 10:44
Yeah, so when I got there, you know, it was intense. It's like, the military for the arts, right? Like the first year, you know, 9am to 10pm and you're guaranteed one hour for dinner and one hour for lunch. That's your first year. Like, it's intense Monday through Friday, like there were entire weeks where I wouldn't actually touch actual, like concrete like sidewalk, right? Because I was up in the dorms, and then down into school building. And so the Acting Program, you know, the first year anyway, you're getting exposed to everything. Our 9am class was actually a workout class. We did ballroom, we did stage combat. And then later on in the program, we do like full scale productions, right. And so the last year, I feel like the first and the last year are the most, like, impactful, right? Because the first year you're getting introduced to the schedule. Now this schedule, they had a cut program. My year was the first year that it changed. So prior to my year, I was group 39. And the group numbers correspond with the amount of years the Drama Division was open. So for Juilliard alumni, it could be like, oh, I'm group seven, well, I'm group 28, so we know like, oh, we never saw each other, right? Well, for 38 years, they would accept 22, with the understanding that they were going to cut it down to at least 18 by the middle of the second year. So even though you got accepted into the program, your first year was a glorified audition. You know, they cut great people. And for years, it was called the Juilliard curse. They cut Robin Williams, they cut Eric LaSalle, like they cut like, people who went on to be greats in the industry, and so like the Juilliard curse was, if you made it through all four years, you didn't have a career. So my first year, they decided, "Okay, we're gonna adjust this cut program, and only accept 18 people." And the hope is that we keep 18, but the way you got cut is if you were late. So you only had three lates before you were on probation.
Shalita Grant 13:09
You only had two unexcused absences before you were put on probation. So, it was intense to, you know, have to raise your standards, right? For a lot of people being on time is a big barrier to entry, right? So the first year having such a thick day, and having to be present and on for all of it was a lot. And then the fourth year, you're learning about the real world, like we literally had a class called the real world. And so you know, you're in this like institution for four years. And you just think, "Yo, I saw this person graduate, and they got a movie. And I saw this person graduate, and they like got a series. So I'm about to pop, like I know, when I get out of here, it's over, right?" And in the real world class, she was like, "Look, you need to take a whole sheet of paper, blank sheet of paper, and fill it up with a bunch of stuff you like, just anything you like to do, anything that interests you, put it on a piece of paper. When you're done understand that that is what you're going to be spending most of your time doing. Because your full time job as an actor is looking for work. Your vacation is when you actually get a job, which is kind of why people act like assholes when they get on set. Like, I've been out here, you know, and now I'm here and I'm getting the money, ya know, like, people respond to success differently, right?
What would you say is your biggest lesson learned at the time you spent at Juilliard?
Shalita Grant 14:50
My biggest lesson? Honestly, it was just stay prepared. Like it was like you have to always be ready. Always be ready, always be on.
Mhm, gotcha. Now tell us Juilliard to NCIS. How did that happen?
Shalita Grant 15:09
Oh, wow. So three years after graduating, I'm a Tony nominee, I lost. That's what nominee means.
You were nominated. That's an accomplishment? (laughs)
Shalita Grant 15:21
(laughs) Yes, very much so. So as I'm walking past the trash cans to get to my Broadway show, I'm 25, and I'm like, "Alright, you know what it took to get here, do you really want to stay in New York City, and get another Broadway show and go through the Tony season and try to win? Like, is this the goal? Is winning the goal? Or do you want to go climb another mountain?" And so I thought, I'm gonna climb another mountain. So I go to LA, as soon as my show closes, I move out to LA, this is in 2013. And from September of 2013, to August of 2014, I went on 57 different projects, which is like over 150 Auditions because you get called back, and like for test deals that fell through. What's a test deal? That's like two auditions before you book, they're like, "We're really interested in you, let's talk money." And so you learn, "Oh, I gonna make all this money per episode," and you start spinning it in your head and you go, do the next audition, do the next audition. And they don't pick you. That happened to me four times. Well, in August of 2014, something broke, and I got my first job. And after that first job, I either worked a job or booked a job every other month, until I booked this amazing opportunity in 2015 for NCIS, New Orleans. And then I was also shooting another mini series, Mercy Street. So at this point, I'm thinking, hey, you know, I hit the jackpot cuz NCIS, that's residuals, that's like long seasons, like this is going to be amazing. And again, that experience was a study in managing disappointment.
Shalita, I have to ask you about your nomination. Like, what's one of the kind of first things that like runs through your mind and like, what do you do? What's your reaction like when you learn that you're a nominee?
Shalita Grant 17:39
You know how in the movies like, something happens, either good or bad, but they'll like change, like the color grade of the movie?
Shalita Grant 17:49
Right? That's how it felt. So I lived in this like, condo building that was flanked on two sides by the projects to get to my like, subway stations, the ABC 125th, or the one train 125th. And I remember walking through projects to get to the train and it was just like, the grass couldn't have been greener. The brick couldn't have been redder, the kids couldn't have been happier on the basketball court. It was like, nobody knows this feeling. Nobody knows what just happened to me, you know. And getting to the theater it was really amazing. Because the producers, we had like a champagne toast and everything. I mean, it was a really cool day. In that way, like getting that call is the win, right? It's like, you go through all of this stuff and all of these things had to happen for you to get to be one of the four or five.
I want to ask you about your life experiences. And you know how that really, you know, transitioned into your business now. I would love for you to tell us the story of Four Naturals Hair. Tell us a little bit about that.
Shalita Grant 19:11
Yeah. So the first thing you should know is that my grandma has owned a hair salon since before I was born. My grandma on my mom's side. So there was a good deal of my childhood that was literally in the hair salon. And I considered my grandmother, a great black business owner, and a great black hairstylist, she was a learner. She went to these conventions, and she would learn these new techniques and things. But there was an experience like we were right by Fort Lee. And so we would get soldiers and there was a black woman that had come in and she had spent time in Germany. This is the 90s and she had asked my grandma if she used oil on the scalp. And my grandma laughed about this for weeks. You know, like the idea of putting oil on your scalp back then was just like, it was so silly. Like you got to use grease, right? So, you know, for me, I knew what the hair salon knew about black hair. And I knew that it was all about hiding it, styling it, frying it, dyeing it, but not really thriving it, right. So the problem with this is, I'm an actress, and I have typical type four and what's type four, this is the hair pattern, right? So Afro textured hair, it's dry, it breaks so easily, it's inconsistent, it's hard to get a routine because the hair the way it even reacts to hair products, like the same one, it changes. So I have this a-typical career that requires the use of my hair. So in the theater, it never really affected me too much. Because I was in wigs and it's very like everybody's in wigs. The men are wigs, all the women on wigs, we wear wigs, but the truth of my hair would always like come up. So for the Tonys, for instance. Right before my Tony run, like a year before, I had an audition. And I had been natural, meaning like I've never flat ironed, I didn't chemically straighten I had been natural for seven years. And I get this audition. I'm like, "Oh, I'm going to flat out in my hair because I know like this is the look right?" I get a call back, don't get the job. I'm in the shower, I'm rinsing out my hair, and my hair is heat damaged. What's heat damage? That's when you'll have no more texture, your hair is straight. It's mush. It's horrible. Like you lose all your volume. So for over a year and change I was like trying to manage my hair. And so I decided to cut it. And then I went back to you know, chemically relaxing it. So now I'm on this Tony run. And you'll see like when we announced the Broadway show, I have like this, bob, by the time we close that show, I had a pixie cut. Why? Because my hair would just break. So even though I wasn't using my hair on stage, I have to do all these interviews now. So now there's like all this like, wear on my hair. So I go to Hollywood in 2013 and I have this pixie cut. I have a meeting with an agent. You know, they call me back, they call my managers and they're like she's great, super effervescent, you know, her energy is very young, but her look is a little old because my hair was short, would she consider wearing wigs. So this is how I started wearing wigs on TV. So to do these auditions, like the year of failure, I literally was on my couch going "This is how LA kills your dreams!!!" like with tears in my eyes, because I was a Tony nominated bartender. And on these auditions and things I would do all these wigs and all these like different looks. So by the time I got to NCIS, I was pretty comfortable like being in my wigs situation. And understanding that, you know, the hair departments on set are really lacking when it comes to our hair. So with the end of season one, I got the call that "Hey, you're going to be the new series regular." So I thought, great. So this definitely means that they're going to find me, you know, a great hairstylist, or at least I'll be able to wear a hairstyle that works with my hair because I'm the regular, right? Wrong. So season two, I came on in this like wet and wavy, like extensions, right. And the thing about Hollywood sets, and this is for every black actress, is that they will pay for you to get your hair done offset, but they're not going to pay that woman to come watch you on set. So if anything goes wrong, there's literally nobody qualified to help you. You're on your own. So there were literally times when I would have like, you know, my wig would be showing or whatever. Season two I ended that season with traction alopecia in the center of my head and I'm in my 20s, so I have a bald spot in the middle of my head. Season three, I come back and I'm in a wig and I'm like just use the perimeter of my hair and like flat iron that into the ponytail. Well by the middle of season three, the hair or along my hairline was visibly different than the hair that wasn't being used. And by the time I got to the hiatus, maybe a month before we were going back for season four, the hair on my hairline, I had like an inch and a half left. And so it was that hiatus that I was like, I have to quit my job because at this point, you know, I've had meetings after meetings and changes after changes and nothing was getting better. And you know, this is true for Hollywood, but it's also true for other industries. If you have a problem and it cannot be fixed, you become the problem, right? So for me, it was like, I have to leave the show.
How tough of a decision was that for you? Here you are, essentially, after your nomination, and you finally get a break, you're in season three, it looks like you know, your acting career is about to go to the next level, if you will, right. Like how tough was that decision?
Shalita Grant 25:31
I like to encapsulate it as like, the random limitation of black hair. You know, like, you're right, I was a Tony nominated actress, there was no, like denying that I was capable, right? I would do my own stunts, I worked on chemistry with my co stars. After a while though, none of that mattered. The tweets, the comments, were all about my hair. And so in that dressing room, because I was actually getting my hair dyed and I took off my hair hat. That's what I used to call my wigs, because I wore them like, for everything. I took that off. And when I saw the damage on my hairline, it was devastating. Because for me, it was like, "Are you really going to quit your job because of your hair?" But because of your hair was years of damage and being misunderstood and you know, just a hostile work environment even.
Shalita Grant 26:36
So, for me, it was that random limitation so it felt deeply unfair, because it was like I am surpassing the bar in all of these other areas. But because there is a lack of knowledge, willingness, whatever on their part, and the reality that my hair is very fragile. Like these two things, the fact that we couldn't find a middle ground, it was painful. But at the same time, it was like, "Do you also want this to take you out of the business?"
Shalita Grant 27:17
So, you kind of have to make that choice.
Yeah, I hear you. At the end of the day, you have to be comfortable in your own skin. And you have to be doing something that not only you enjoy doing, but allows you to be you. It feels like like that was obviously at the heart of the decision you were making.
Shalita Grant 27:38
Yeah, yeah, definitely.
Gotcha. And then so from leaving NCIS, to starting Four Naturals Hair, obviously the idea came about from, you know, your experience and acting, but tell us more about how you launched the company and where the company is at today.
Shalita Grant 27:58
Yeah. So when I left that show, the fear was I wouldn't work again. I did work again, problem was both of those characters were in wigs. So in 2019 I thought, okay, this is my black actress problem, my hair. And because I know I'm not going to get it solved in all these other places, no one's coming, so I need to solve this for myself. So I had to really analyze my life for all the friction. Where is my hair causing me friction? What parts of my life is my hair this random limitation? So going to the beach, you know, black girls can get their hair wet. Yeah, because it requires appointments and time, right? Friction, you know, going to the gym, sweat, how that affected my hair and like scalp care after. So there were all of these areas. And I thought, okay, there has to be some plant out there because I am from the Earth, I know God has created things for humans. So what is out there for all of these myriad hair health problems? So first, I looked at cosmetic chemistry, which is the study of hair for hair products. Most of what we know, is from the cosmetology board. And speaking of the cosmetology board, they don't teach detangling, they actually don't even teach hair types. They say all hair is hair and they pass out straight hair mannequins, which is why we're all having the same fucked up experience. Can I say fuck?
Shalita Grant 29:42
Okay, thank you. (laughs)
Shalita Grant 29:46
Just had to check. (laughs)
Especially when it applies. (laughs)
Shalita Grant 29:51
(laughs) Yeah, it's applicable. So for me, I learned from these journals all of the ways that our haircare is just ritual, there is no science in it. So sitting with mayonnaise avocado Tresemme shea moisture on your hair for hours sleeping with it, you think, "Oh, when I rinse this out, it's going to be slick city" and you're back to dryness right? Doing the twist out to make a curl pattern, the heat damage, you know, all of the things that we do to remedy these problems, they're ineffective, but they're all we have. So we're insane because we just do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result and we don't get it. So then I started looking at non white but successful hair cultures - India, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Greece, and I looked at what are their beliefs, like, how do they approach problems, and I found the iron Vedic approach, the belief that there are practices but also plant medicine that solves our human maladies at their root cause, not just the symptoms. And so I looked at henna, Cassia Obovata, slippery elm. And then I found like online in YouTube, okay, are there black women that have used henna and it went wrong, right? Because I want to know, what is wrong with this plant for our hair, because everything that I read about it, this is what we're looking for. Well, I found that they made three mistakes. One, they use henna that contain metallic or chemical salts. So 30 minute dyeing hennas, they used henna watsonia the plant, but only with water, no humectants like aloe vera, no other ingredients in their mud mask. And three, they didn't decondition after. So I experimented with everything that I had learned what could go right, what could go wrong, I created my first for naturals treatment. And the results, I have to say I had some black girl trust issues, right? It's like I've been hurt before with the products, you know, they work and then they don't work anymore. So the results that I saw was like, my hair looked richer, I saw curl definition, it was softer. But I was like, I don't know. By my third treatment, my hair was undeniably different. I remember I walked past a mirror and I had like epic curls. And this was after sleeping with no bonnet, I pole danced for exercise back then, so you know, rolling around on the floor. And I had like these great curls, hair that moves. Like it was moisture retentive, my hair was pointing to the ground instead of up to Jesus to pray, right. So I was like, okay, I think I solved this problem for myself. And so it was actually a pole class that I took that was like, "You need to start this as a business." Because I had the experience up till that point, I was poling in wigs, right? I had jobs. So I would wear the wig that I was wearing. And you know, I would go upside down. And I was like, I know, they can all see everything, know this ain't real, right. And so it's like, you got to kind of get at up, you know, alright, whatever, I'm wearing a wig. But it was poling in my natural hair, that was like, the most freeing experience because I knew there was no sweat, there was no move that would change these curls. And I didn't feel different, right? Which is like centering straight hair, right? Or a type three, right? I felt special because nobody in here has these beautiful spiral curls that I have. And so there was another black girl in the class with me and she had on braids, and I knew what that was about, right? Like, you don't have to deal with it for a couple of weeks or months. You know, like you got the the extension, you know, you can work that and I just thought, damn, if every black woman felt the freedom and the power that I just felt from dancing for like two hours and sweating. I'm going to be the richest woman on the planet. So the thing that you also have to understand is my mom is a felon. And so as a felon, she did a lot of get rich quick when she got out right. So for me the lesson that I took from you know what she was doing, versus my grandma, her mother, was that you can only have one job. If you're going to be successful, you can only do one thing, you can't do 50 things and so it was spiritually a little hard for me to you know, "alright, I'm gonna get another corporation. I'm going to, you know, set up and make this a business, I'm gonna apply for my patent. It took a lot every step of the entrepreneurial journey. It was a struggle, because I was struggling with this limiting self belief that I couldn't possibly be successful because there's no way that I possibly know what I'm doing, right. And so years later, that was 2019, I've now helped hundreds of women across the country, I get messages, like this morning, I put it in my stories. This woman, Amore, who came to me two years ago, she had this hair dream, she's a licensed cosmetologist of having like, vivid red, long hair, shaved head on the sides, and she would dye your hair, it would deteriorate, she would big chop, and then she would grow it out, she would dye it again, big chop. So this for natural treatment was an intervention, and she didn't have to change her dream. And so today, you know, now she has different hair color, and her hair is like down her shoulders. Now she's like, I cannot believe that it's been two years. And this Four Natural's treatment has kept me from cutting my hair, like this is really amazing. So every hair health problem that we have, the Four Naturals treatment is a very simple plant based solution.
Very cool. Very cool. I love that. That's awesome, powerful story. And real. Shalita, I want to ask you, you're very busy, obviously with work, what's kind of like a work life balance like for you? Like, is there such a thing? And what's that like? What is your sort of work life balance?
Shalita Grant 36:42
So, um, since the strike has happened, I feel like I've leaned into something that me and my partner, Jessica Aguilar have adopted, we adopted this, because I realized that I lacked the work life balance. By 2020 things like, you know, the pandemic happened, so I had to pivot to direct to consumer, and now I'm working with my cosmetic manufacturer. So, things, right. And so we now do a Shabbat. So I work my ass off, I get up at 5am, sometimes six, but I try to see five, and I work my ass off until I'm ready to go to sleep. So that's like making videos, that's you know, managing people that's like, doing whatever, like, "Hey, my special customers," reaching out to them, looking at my reports, making sure that they're right. And now that the strike has happened, I'm in the process of getting ready to raise money. And so that puts my business and all of my affairs like I have to like up my game and adjust things, make pitch decks, so...
Your business is your life right now.
Shalita Grant 37:59
Exactly. But Friday at sundown, we put everything down. And from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown it's all about rest. Rest and investing in, you know those interests that we have, right. So sometimes we'll paint or I'll do my nails, things that like would make me feel good after having done it, you know, during the week. And then Sunday, I'm right back at it. But I do find that taking that, like, we're not Jews, so it's not a strict Sabbath, but I do find that they have great guidelines for what work actually is, right? So like we order in on Saturday, right, so we don't cook. We take walks, we enjoy nature, we try to spend time with each other. So sometimes it's like, all right, it's sundown, let's turn the phone off and put it in the closet, you know, for 24 hours. What I find is when we take that breath, it really helps, like clarify what's important to accomplish for the week.
Hmm, awesome. I love that because you've you found something that works for you and your partner and you know, and Erik and I asked that question about work life balance, I mean, this is our 160th recording, I mean everyone's answer is a little different because you have to find what works best for you. And it seems like you've done that. I like that a lot. Okay, you've had an acting career. Now you're an entrepreneur running your own business. Any similarities between the two? Acting and running your own business?
Shalita Grant 39:56
I feel like there are but and where the friction is, is where they're not alike?- Yeah. So, one of the aspects of acting and I don't know if you've picked up on this, but you have to be very resilient, because most of what you're going out for, you are going to get rejected. So for me, it's like, in business, like reaching out to warm leads, reaching out to cold leads, I don't have, or at least I'm more aware of when the little punk, little punk shows up, like, I'm scared, it's like, "Shut up, you did this in front of CBS, and, you know, blah blah blah blah blah, you fucking made it happen, get out there, send the email!" you know? And then getting in front of people and talking to them, right? Like, that's, like, part of acting too, right? The career part of it, right? I mean, the actual art of acting, I would say that there is an art to being an entrepreneur as well. And just like with acting, you know, you go so much further when you are educated, right? So look at the child stars who didn't go to school, but they got the job, and they got the fame and they got the, you know, whatever, but they don't have the foundation to be on, right. So if they get another role that's a little bit different, they only know how to act like themselves, right? For me, what I've learned is, "Hey, actually, there is an art to being an entrepreneur. It's called an MBA." So I actually was like, "Am I gonna stop my business and apply to business school?" No, I listened to complete MBA for Dummies and you know, I'm really happy I did, because I learned a lot from you know, listening to that book of like, wow, these were a lot of the mistakes that I've made. This is the wrongheaded thinking that I have about how to accomplish X, Y, and Z. And there are actual practices and theories that I can rely on and apply to my business and see how they work, right. So that's definitely the top three that come to mind.
They're different, yeah. Gotcha. Okay. Love that. Alright, fun question that I have to ask you. What's in your music rotation right now?
Shalita Grant 42:27
Alright. So look, so I was on Instagram, right? And somebody had put like a compilation of these new black country singers and they are so fire. So I actually looked up a couple, but, okay, so I just opened up my daily drive on Spotify. The first one is Psilocybin, Jhené Aiko, you know. At the end of that song, he's like, "are you living or are you just surviving?" you know, so it's really important to do mushrooms - no. (laughs) Say Yes, Triggered, Freestyle, a lot of Jhené Aiko. There's some Lolo, I kind of like, like bad bitch music, you know, like, let's get the bag. You know let's manifest shit, you know? Like, that's kind of my shit.
(laughs) Love it. Love it.
I love the list. I love it. Kerel, I'm gonna ask you what's one of your latest that you listened to? I'm curious.
I mean, I'm, it's the 50th anniversary of hip hop so I'm all into hip hop right now. Everything from Run DMC, EPMD, up to, you know, Jay Z, who's my favorite of all time, you know, and everyone in between. So I'm all in the hip hop right now.
Nice. Nice. Nice.
Shalita Grant 43:52
Oh, me? Oh, man I'm all over the place right now. Like, I'm like, way in deep on like, like a bunch of like Afro beats. And like, some Afro tech like, way in deep like, I'm like, I can't get enough and I'm all over the place. Like, finding like new music that way. So I'm in real deep there.
Shalita Grant 44:14
So I'm a little all over the place too, but I actually use music, like I use it right? So like in the car that was my daily drive, but when I work I hate it. If I'm at a club, I hate it. There is something about house music when you gotta work that has me like going. So I'll do house and if I have to do something that's like really hard I put on frequency music. Oh, interesting. Yeah, try to adjust-
I'm researching new artists and I'm also like teaching myself Nigerian words and like, you know what I mean? Like yeah, just because like I need to know this verse, this hook, it's so incredible I'm like, what's going on? You know, so like [inaudible. Those are all my latest ones. I'm a big Curren$y guy so I'm like, you know, I've discovered a couple of old things there and then Bad Bunny is in the mix. So anyways, yeah, that's me.
I'm also, I got very deep into vinyls over the pandemic as well too. So I've ramped up on my vinyl collection and two soundtracks classics that I recently purchased that I, I listened to both of them last week, the soundtrack from Beverly Hills Cop and the soundtrack from Footloose as well too.
Oh, man, I love it. I love it. I love it.
Shalita Grant 45:40
The first one, Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack!
Now you're gonna put me on the spot. I have to Google it now. I got it right here
Shalita Grant 45:53
Just put it on Netflix. Beverly Hills Cop.
Look at the album, you should frame that. That deserves a frame.
Let's see, you got New Attitude, Patti LaBelle, you know, you got a bunch of like, classic classic stuff on this one. Yes.
Shalita Grant 46:11
I can see that being framed in the back. Yeah, nice, nice. So much fun talking with you. And our listeners and viewers would love to stay in touch. Also find your product. So where can they find your product number one and number two, how can they stay in touch with you? What's a good way to follow you?
Shalita Grant 46:31
Yeah. So, first you want to go to www.fournaturalshair.com, visit the education page and like, illuminate yourself on some of these like problems and then head over to the store and change your life. And then follow me at the same address @fournaturalshair on Instagram and @4naturals_hair on TikTok.
Thanks so much. And thanks everyone for listening to another episode. You can find more episodes where you find all your audio and even video and just search for the logo. Thanks again for joining us for another episode of MRP Minority Report Podcast. Talk to you guys soon.