Mahisha Dellinger is an entrepreneur and the brain behind the hair company CURLS. I had the opportunity to speak to the business owner during the Girl Power Sleepover held in Atlanta over the weekend.

Mahisha was definitely dressed for the occasion, business attire and dripped in Chanel, but she easily dismissed any preconceived notions that may have been made when she walked in the room. The businesswoman is the beautiful example of the song, “I don’t look like what I’ve been through.”

Born and raised in a dangerous community in California, Mahisha witnessed generational poverty, gang violence and drive-bys (her brother was in a gang), drugs and her first sexual experience was her being held at gunpoint and she ultimately became a single mother. Living in circumstances that are detrimental and erratic, Mahisha used education as her way out.

“Everything looked dismal and all the odds were stacked against me, but I was determined to change my destiny through education and entrepreneurship,” she says. “My book Against All Odds: From the Projects to the Penthouse, tells my story and it details everything. I know what struggle is and if you are hungry and thirsty, then you’re going to struggle until you get where you need to be. I had a powerful reason to make it, I had a baby to care for by myself.”

That determination and resilience helped her build CURLS, a natural hair company who’s products have been used by celebrities such as Halle Berry, Nia Long and Alicia Keys. Created in her home in 2002, Mahisha learned that hustling and “powering through the no’s” was her only way to become successful.

She even used an example of when she did a pitch for Target, in which she now has her products in. “I pitched a lot of retailers and when I had a meeting at Target, they asked, ‘why didn’t you pitch this years ago?’ And I said ‘I did, you rejected me!’ Now, since Target gave us a chance, everyone else is open.”

Mahisha also started the foundation Curls Girls Rule the World where she speaks to young girls who are in the very position she escaped from. “I speak to girls in projects where I’m from so I can show them I did it and they can too. I do a lot of speaking for that purpose. I now have a destiny for all of my kids and that single handedly changed the generation of poverty in my family,” she says.

Visit her site