Rashida LaShawn, also known as The Glam Doctor, was recently featured alongside Jennifer Hudson in a Mastercard commercial. The commercial is part of Mastercard’s Strivers Campaign, a consumer-facing platform the company said elevates the visibility of Black female business owners overcoming obstacles.

Rashida LaShawn, also known as The Glam Doctor, was recently featured alongside Jennifer Hudson in a Mastercard commercial. The commercial is part of Mastercard’s Strivers Campaign, a consumer-facing platform the company said elevates the visibility of Black female business owners overcoming obstacles.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Southfield small-business owner featured in Mastercard commercial

By: Jacob Herbert | Southfield Sun | Published March 9, 2021

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SOUTHFIELD — Rashida LaShawn is self-made.

After 14 years, she left a comfortable telecommunications job after her department closed and sent her job overseas. LaShawn said she could have stayed on with the telecommunications company, but something else was calling her name — makeup.

Starting in 1997, LaShawn began doing makeup on her own. There were no makeup classes for her to learn from or social media followers to gather advice from. LaShawn went to the local library to check out books on how to do makeup. Amazon was gaining traction around this time, so she was able to have the necessary products shipped to her door.

In 2001, her big break came.

LaShawn was approached by a friend to do makeup at her wedding — her first official event as a makeup artist.

“I am a faith-based person. I love God. I prayed about it and said, ‘God, is this a sign that I should be doing makeup?’ I promise, as audible as I’m talking right now, I heard God say, ‘Yes, do makeup,’” LaShawn said. “It perfectly made no sense because back then I was a singer in a Christian group and I could act very well. So to be led in this way for beauty, I didn’t understand at the time, but I ended up throwing myself into it.”

Fast forward to the present day, and LaShawn has her own small makeup business and her own building to work from. The Glam Doctor is located near the Southfield Freeway and Eight Mile Road.

Just as things were looking up, one of the worst things that could happen to a small-business owner happened: the COVID-19 pandemic. When the coronavirus amped up, LaShawn had to change a lot about the way she did her business.

LaShawn’s business and income depend heavily on weddings and large events. She estimated doing roughly 50 to 60 weddings per year. After the pandemic hit, she was only able to do makeup at 10 weddings. She applied for grants and loans, but that was hardly enough to stay afloat.

The community heard of the hardships LaShawn faced and stepped in to help.

“I had clients that sent me money. They would cash app me and send money to my bank just because they knew I wasn’t able to work,” LaShawn said. “People don’t have to be nice and kind to you. I had clients that would call, check on me and ask me what I need. I thank God because my clients know how I served them. I don’t just look at my clients as money; of course they pay me, but it’s not that kind of situation. There’s a great exchange that happens when people sit in my chair. I’m more than a makeup artist.”

As LaShawn battled her way through the pandemic, a casting agency took notice of her and reached out. They wanted her to interview for an audition for a Mastercard commercial at the beginning of December 2020.

Mastercard recently announced the Strivers Initiative, a consumer-facing platform the company said elevates the visibility of Black female business owners overcoming obstacles to maintain and grow their business as role models for the community and future generations.

“For years, Black women have built businesses at a pace far greater than any other minority group, with a focus on building businesses that give back to their communities,” Cheryl Guerin, the executive vice president of marketing and communications in North America for Mastercard, said in a press release. “The pandemic has delivered financial headwinds that threaten the economic progress of Black female business owners, and because of this, Mastercard is taking action, while also calling on consumers and corporations alike to shop, share and support these women.”

LaShawn was picked to be one of the women highlighted in the Mastercard commercial. The day after she sent in an audition tape, Mastercard reached out for a callback. Soon enough, LaShawn would be featured alongside spokeswoman Jennifer Hudson.

During her spot in the commercial, LaShawn told a story of perseverance. She had to adapt on her own just to keep her head above water.

“Being a Black woman in business, perseverance is one of our biggest things,” LaShawn said. “We don’t get to sit around and cry about things that are happening to us. You have to figure it out. If we don’t have the money, we figure it out. That is something that I talked about along with mediocrity. You can’t be mediocre as a Black person in business. You have to be the best at what you do so you can be looked at and seen.”

LaShawn was able to offer advice to other small-business owners based on her experience over the last year. The biggest piece of advice she offered is to “know your why.” Know why you’re doing what you do. For LaShawn, her why is helping women to feel beautiful every time they step into her shop. The camaraderie formed with her clients was enough to keep her going during unprecedented times.

“I know it’s about women and me making them feel amazing about themselves when they come into my space,” she said. “I see something and I make them feel good by just being in my very presence. That is what has kept me afloat.”

Anyone looking to contact LaShawn for an event can visit www.theglamdoctor.com.

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