Entrepreneur Helps Parents ACT Naturally in Hair IndustryBy Jane Whitttington on March 11th, 2017 /
Aleka Thrash is a master multi-tasker. She has to be to keep all her projects, pursuits and passions running smoothly. Recently one of nine recipients of a LocalFirst LocalMotion award, Thrash keeps herself (very) busy with two flourishing businesses. One, ACTPhotoMedia, concentrates on photography and other media, while the other, NaturallyACT, focuses on hair, specifically for the African-American community.
Thrash says, “With ACTPhotoMedia, I mostly concentrate on business portraits, but I also offer family portraits and senior picture portfolios. As part of my work with the business community, I help individuals set up their LinkedIn service to make it most effective.”
She continues, “I have a passion for cancer survivors, and I am heavily involved with Rock’n the Runway, an annual fashion show event designed to raise money for and awareness of breast cancer. I have the opportunity to photograph and, with a makeup artist, do makeovers for cancer survivors. The woman who started the program, Veverly Austin, is my mentor, and she’s the one who got me involved. Rock’n the Runway takes place every October. The focus is on the urban community because so many African-Americans and Hispanics are dealing with breast cancer, and we want to bring awareness to this population.”
More information about Rock’n the Runway is available at www.rocktherunwaygr.com/
Thrash is originally from Las Vegas. After starting college there, she decided she wanted to continue her education at a Christian college and transferred to Cornerstone in Grand Rapids. She learned photography from her father, an avid photographer.
But ACTPhotoMedia is not Thrash’s only business. She also owns and operates NaturallyACT. According to Thrash, “There are so many Caucasian families who are fostering or who have adopted Black children as well as mothers of biracial children, and they are just at a loss when it comes to dealing with their children’s hair. I actually have classes (the next one is March 25) to help these parents make their kids look great! It started out as an effort to find good, natural products for my own hair and grew from there. As well as my work with families, I work with Black women who are struggling to find the best way to deal with their own hair. As part of that, I offer classes in making products from natural ingredients to promote healthy hair and skin.”
As part of this effort, Thrash also does fashion blogging.
Thrash is a member of Local First as well as GRABB (Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses). She finds Grand Rapids a supportive and cooperative place to be an entrepreneur. She also works with BL²END,. Business Leaders Linked to Encourage New Directions, an organization designed to engage young people of color with the business community and encourage them as their businesses grow.