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Busta’s Person of the Week: Sonya Wagstaff uses mother’s last words to inspire her success

Busta’s Person of the Week:  Sonya Wagstaff uses mother’s last words to inspire her success
June 10
12:25 2021

By Busta Brown

Imagine this! Everything your phenomenal mother poured into you is finally beginning to manifest and you’re extremely excited that she’s alive to see it. Then the unimaginable happened.

“Because of my mother, I excelled in academics and basketball in high school. Her hard work paid off. In 1992 I became a full-time student my freshman year at Old Dominion University and my plan was to play basketball. But then my mother got sick again with cancer. This time her health continued to decline. Between college, trying to work, and maintain a house, I also had to visit my mother each night while she was basically on her deathbed. I couldn’t really grieve because I had to be strong for my mother,” said Sonya Wagstaff. 

Even during Jean Wagstaff’s weakest moment, she remained her daughter’s hero. The super mom was able to find the strength to plant a seed of wisdom that would eventually blossom into this phenomenal woman. “She was so weak she couldn’t speak, yet she mustered up the strength to tell me, ‘Whatever you do, make sure you’re independent. Do what you desire to do.’ That’s always been prophetic for me. So, whenever I’m experiencing something challenging, those words always help me triumph. My mother knew exactly what she was saying,” shared Sonya.

Sadly, her mother lost the battle with cancer. Sonya decided to move to Winston-Salem to live with her aunt Jean Norman, but she didn’t leave her mother’s spirit of wisdom and strength behind.

Sonya Wagstaff transferred from Old Dominion University to Winston-Salem State University, earning a B.S. in management information systems in 1994. She also obtained a teaching certificate and became an educator in 2005. She taught math, ELA, and special education at Southwest Guilford High School, designing a general curriculum for students K-12 with learning disabilities, and was the EC instructional facilitator and coordinator of We Code Coding & Robotics Club at Ferndale Middle School in High Point. 

At Forsyth Academy in Winston-Salem, Sonya taught 8th grade math, was a special education teacher, and the head girls’ basketball coach. In 2018, the team went 11-0 and won their conference championship. Sonya received a much-deserved bonus for her coaching accomplishments and used the money wisely. The seed of independence that her mother Sara Wagstaff had planted, was about to blossom. 

“After losing my mom to cancer, and other family members also passed due to health-related issues. I decided that whatever takes me out will not be health related. I started the Youth Obesity Initiative. I taught kids and their parents about living a healthy lifestyle through physical activity and the proper nutrition. That led to me starting my Wagstaff Cosmetics. I started old school. I was knocking on doors and also received support from my church members at Union Baptist. They’re still extremely supportive today,” said Sonya. 

Today, Wagstaff Cosmetics has 10 different products, with a variety of colors to fit all skin tones. The company is working to launch their 11th product soon. What’s most inspiring about Sonya’s success is that she accomplished all of this while teaching as an adjunct professor at Forsyth Tech, attending grad school, overseeing different leadership programs, and more. 

“Although I’ve been doing this part-time, it’s been incredible so far. Our products are designed to take care of your skin, mind, body and soul. When you look good, you feel good. Confidence helps you eliminate bad habits, make positive and productive decisions, and feel empowered to win in all aspects of your life. When a woman feels good about herself, it creates a winning mindset, and our products give you healthier options to beauty and cosmetics. Your skin won’t have any irritations or adverse effects, and our products eliminate all of those facial issues that come along with stress and aging, because it tightens your skin,” said Sonya. 

The cosmetic company has an array of products, shades and colors: lipstick, lip gloss, and eye shadow in 12 colors, blush in eight colors, concealer in four shades, foundation with SPF in five shades, vegan mascara and growth serum kit, Bamboo Charcoal Facial Cleanser, Vegan Peel-off Mask in three fun colors, and Luxurious Diamond Bling vegan lip gloss in five shades. 

“As a child growing up in Portsmouth, Virginia, I would sneak into my mother’s bedroom and play with her cosmetics and beauty products. So, when my mother told me to do whatever I desired, she knew this would come into fruition,” shared Sonya. 

I asked this renaissance woman what celebrity she would like to be the face for Wagstaff Cosmetics. “Tabitha Brown, because she represents everything our products are made of. They’re safe and healthy for your skin and vegan friendly. Tabitha is very relatable to everyone and I love her positive messages and energy. She’s overcome some health challenges, and now she embraces and lives the lifestyle.” 

Sonya also shared some advice for other aspiring entrepreneurs. “Believe in yourself and your vision. Do the necessary research, and seek out programs like the small business program at Forsyth Tech. The program helped me tremendously.” 

Sonya Wagstaff is the author of “Blade Poems for Life,” co-authored “20 Beautiful Women, 20 More Stories That Will Heal Your Soul,” “Ignite Your Passion,” and “Inspire Your Divine Purpose.”  She is a contributing author of “Exploring Diversity in Education” by Dr. Tarra Ellis, NCARE (North Carolina Association for Research in Education), board member K-12 representative, founder and CEO of the nonprofit Kid Fit For Life, Inc., and founder and CEO of The Wagstaff Investment Group, LLC. She earned a faith-based nonprofit leadership certificate from Wake Forest University School of Divinity in 2019, just to name a few of her accomplishments. 

Romans 8:28 is her favorite scripture:  “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” 

“I had financial and personal hardship. Life happens! That scripture helped me realize why I went through my trials and tribulations and why and how I came out on top. I’m truly blessed.” 

My phenomenal Person of the Week is Sonya Wagstaff. To learn more about Sonya’s company, follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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