Just recently, WWD named UOMA Beauty founder and creative director of UOMA Beauty, Sharon Chuter as one of the 50 Most Powerul Women, and we couldn’t agree more! As the founder of this inclusive beauty brand, she has completely revolutionized the beauty world and we believe she’s only just begun! We had the chance to sit down with Chuter to discuss this special recognition from WWD, the inspiration behind UOMA Beauty, and much more!

WWD named you one of the 50 Most Powerful Women. What does this honor mean to you?

Normally, I’m not one to really look at awards, but for me, the significance of this and why it makes me excited is because it is not really for myself, it’s for other people. I think it’s great that other women, women of color can see that you can truly be yourself and make an impact. I’m excited that this acknowledgement means power. When you talk about powerful women, my power is purpose. My movement is one of love, freedom, expression, and equality. To see that it’s considered power is incredible. I think for me what is most exciting and what I hope it means to this generation is that you don’t have to do it the way they do it in the past to be a businessperson. Ethics and business are not mutually exclusive. They can go hand and hand. Power, ethics, and morality are not mutually exclusive – which is how we were raised to believe. I’m excited that the woman making that list is a woman with tattoos from Nigeria. On her best day, she may be considered a crazy human being (laughs). I hope it inspires people that you should be the best version of yourself to be able to do great things.

What inspired you to create UOMA Beauty?

Well, I had been working in the beauty industry and I got fed up with how it was not inclusive. Understanding the impact of non-inclusivity goes beyond hair and shades in makeup for me. I had to understand the deep impact it had on people, especially women of color. We may have been born different, but not different in a bad way. Everything you see and touch reinforces that message to you. Imagine walking into beauty halls for relief from pressures of the world and still being turned away. That’s not okay. Beauty is when we decide to be ourselves. It is not for anyone to validate. It comes from within. I was done complaining. I decided that I wanted to spend the rest of my life actually being part of the solution, and not being part of the problem. That was really the inspiration behind UOMA Beauty. I wanted to create a new world, where everyone could feel welcome and included. It’s a movement of self-love and courage. Confidence is the sexiest thing anyone can wear, not makeup. That’s the movement that I really wanted to set up and I’m really excited to be on this journey and getting more people into our beautiful tribe – where they can understand that every single one of them is welcome. We deliver that promise every single day, whether it’s through our product or not. Inclusion means having beauty brands in the drugstore that are still considered luxury. I came out to set up a movement so everyone can feel inspired, enabled, and confident to express themselves out loud. We are living to that every single day. It makes me beyond proud and I am excited for what’s to come.

photo courtesy of UOMA Beauty

Tell us about the new collection launching this fall?

Yes! We are going to be launching a palette to celebrate Native American heritage. I think it’s one of the things that is so important to me as we discuss culture and celebration. We have to celebrate [in America] the true owners of this land, which I stand and profit from, right? I think it’s a collaboration that I am so proud of. I can’t wait for it to hit the market November 12th so people can see this beauty story and community. Join me and all of America as we celebrate the true owners of the land to which we stand and their beautiful culture.

How do you believe your Nigerian roots play a role in your success?

Nature comes from who we are and culture is a huge part of nature. For me, when you look at the brand, a lot of the aesthetics and colors are so vibrant – it is all inspired by my heritage. I think in terms of how Nigeria got me to where I am, my parents instilled the ethics of the country to me. Nigeria parents always want you to be the best and concentrate on academics. I really appreciate that. I appreciate that they pushed me really hard. I would not be where I am today without their drive. Having thick skin is not easy as an activist. You’re always in the line of fire. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without the culture. It’s one of resilience, triumph, vibrancy, and all of that is a mix of the woman that I am today.

What are you currently working on and what can we expect to see from you in the following year?

Oh my gosh! I have been working on a lot. Of course, working on the brand and the launches that will be taking place next year. Next year is going to be insane with the launches that we’re going to be putting out in the market. We’re working hard on that and once again, expect authentic storytelling and things you have never seen before. Of course, I’ll be working on the initiatives Pull Up For Change and Make it Black. Make It Black is the initiative we hold every February, where we work with brands to promote their products into Black, while raising money for the Black community and female founders. I’m working on that because part two is going to go live in 2022. We’re going to do two! One in February and one in June, so 2022 is really exciting for me. Most importantly, I’ll be preparing and working on taking my first time off in four years for three weeks! That is exciting to me because I have been burning the candles on both ends, no days off, 20 hours a day, seven days a week. I’m excited for a break to recharge and get inspired to be on fire in the year 2022.

For more on UOMA Beauty, click here.

photo by Jared Schlachet

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Featured Image by Jared Schlachet