Her forthcoming book encourages Black youth to embrace their natural hair
Faatemah Ampey is an award-winning hairstylist and educator on beauty who spent her childhood in Maplewood and St. Paul. Ampey, who currently resides in St. Paul, is writing a book with the intent of empowering young Black women and girls by encouraging them to wear their natural hair.
Her upcoming book is a dialogue with young Black women and girls about maintaining and embracing their natural hair. It is largely a product of the author’s experience as a child and as an adult embracing her daughter’s natural hair.
“This book will speak to that little girl that thinks that she is misunderstood,” said Kimberly Steward, Ampey’s sister and manager. “Because of Faatemah’s own experience as a child and an adult embracing her own natural hair and [having] a daughter that would walk through similar experiences, she can lead this dialogue with certainty.”
As indicated by Steward, Ampey, who spent her early childhood in St. Paul before moving to the mostly White suburb of Maplewood, grew up feeling different than her peers. “When we moved to Maplewood I transferred schools right away,” said Steward via email. “Faatemah stayed in school in St. Paul where there were more kids that looked like her. Even [then] she still always felt different.”
Ampey also attributes her professional success to feeling different growing up: “I always just felt different and, I don’t know, that feeling different has now made me quite successful.”
Ampey attended Central High School in St. Paul but transferred during her high school career. She went on to graduate from North St. Paul High School before attending Aveda Institute in Minneapolis, where she gained her cosmetology and esthiology (skin care and makeup) licenses.
Her career highlights as a hairstylist include campaigns for Target, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom. Ampey’s career highlights also feature her work on commercials for ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC. She has also styled for Metro Magazine, Modern Salon, Ebony and Arizona Bride.
In addition, Ampey also has a celebrity clientele that includes Nicole Miller and Holly Robinson-Peete. She was recognized as a North American Hairstyling Award (NAHA) nominee, winning the Fashion Forward category. In addition, Ampey also was on the Bravo TV show Shear Genius 3.
Steward also spoke about Ampey’s career as an educator: “Faatemah has traveled globally and has taught students from around the world, helping them to further their education in various hair techniques and trends. [She has been] teaching at the biggest beauty shows, in salon sessions, and as a part of the exclusive Intercoiffure America/Canada. Faatemah has traveled to Canada, France and more.
“Her teachings have been dubbed ‘Edutainment’ (via HairNerds), have been experienced by the industry’s top professionals, and have inspired the industry’s newest stars.”
Ampey hopes that her upcoming book will have an influence on her readers that transcends the book’s content. “The impact that I hope it [the book] will have,” said Ampey, “even though it’s a dialogue with young girls about maintaining and embracing their natural hair, is that it will empower them not only to do that but to love the way they are just as they are without chemically altering their hair.
“I want to make sure that young girls understand you can be beautiful just the way you are.”
Daniel Abramowitz is an MSR journalism intern and a student at Macalester College. He welcomes reader responses to email@example.com.