Monday’s are one of my favorite days of the week, because I usually schedule spontaneous things on that day.  Such was the case with my interview with a up and coming Cosmetologist, Debra Bailey.

Our lunch meeting was scheduled at the new Soul Food Factory restaurant in East Orange, NJ.  As I was preparing to be seated at one of my favorite tables my line of sight was interrupted by a fashionably dressed woman. She was clad in all black with a splash of black & white around her neck provide by her wool scarf; above the scarf was a well styled head of black hair, and hint of afternoon make up.  As her eyes glanced in my direction she immediately flashed a warm smile that made me know this was Ms. Bailey and it this should be a great interview.

The initial reason Debra accepted the offer to do the interview for this story was really quite impressive.  Even though she is in front of cameras and often in the limelight because of her career, Debra was more excited to be able to tell her story to me with the hopes that other young men and women could be inspired by her journey.  The message that she wants young people who read her story to know is, “It’s never too late to change your life”.   Ms. Bailey was a East Orange High School graduate who had and exceptionally difficult childhood.  As the daughter of teenage parents, who both became addicted to drugs, made life for her and her younger sister a challenging experience to say the least.  Their father died a very early age and her mom reached a place in her addiction that she could no longer take care of her children.  Debra found herself living with her paternal grandmother who in her words provided them with food and shelter.  Unfortunately the demonstrative love and encouragement she needed personally, her grandmother was not emotionally equipped to provide for her.

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Debra said that she remembered that her twenties and thirties were seemingly a dark place in her life that she just aimlessly drifted through. Until one average work day in 2008 she was working her customer service job and she felt ill.  By that evening she was in the hospital and diagnosed with a collapsed lung, her body filled with fluids and all the medical professionals could not find determine the source of the problem.  “I was in the hospital for over 30 days, the bills were mounting up and I recalled asking God to please heal me and I would make my life better and more meaningful.” "God answered that part of my prayer because, they finally discovered what the cause of my condition was and I fully recovered."

"Later that year a woman asked me “what do you love to do, what is your passion?  I remember thinking that I did love to do hair and makeup.  Thank God in 2008 President Obama opened up the doors for continuing education programs and at 41 years old I enrolled in school to become an Ultra Sound Technologist. I enrolled at a local cosmetology school when a friend of mine and the owner of Soultry Scissors Hair Studio in West Orange, encouraged me to follow my dream and I changed my course of study to cosmetology.  I went to school at night and she hired me to manage her shop during the day.  I worked on my own personal development and read books by authors like Crystal Wright to help me understand all about the industry I had fallen in love with. 

Although I got a late start in this business I am getting some great exposure by getting my hair styles published by some wonderful professionals like John Blassingame, Nick Fowler, and others.  John was the one who gave me my first opportunity as a professional and I will always be thankful to him." 

Some of Debra’s upcoming projects will be for Marcus Blassingame Jan 2014  issue of  Black Magazine  hair by Debra … In February look for a feature spread by New York designer Marco Hall as well as her work for Sofia Davis, in the March 2014 issue of Fashion Ave News Magazine

I asked Debra what would her closing thoughts be to our readership and she said “It’s never too late, follow your path and find your passion” to find Debra Bailey go to or

Writers Note: A Cosmetologist is an individual who cares for people's skin, hair, and nails. The words origin comes from the Greek language and it means “beautifying”, it’s the study and application of beauty treatment.  A Cosmetologist is trained and  licensed in all of those disciplines; so ask questions about how to take care of all of those parts of your body not just your hair…if your stylist cannot answer your questions or does not get you the answers, perhaps you need to interview a new professional   Sign up for our E-News