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ST. LOUIS – At just 19, Kaniya “Major” Slusher is making a major impact in our community. She owns Major Beauty Salon, where she and her staff welcome clients from all walks of life. But her journey to becoming a six-figure business owner was no walk in the park.

Slusher’s mother struggled with severe alcohol addiction and, at times, Slusher felt as if she was raising herself. Where that lack of guidance and understanding would have held many people back from reaching their full potential, Slusher used her experience as motivation to create a better life for herself and the people around her.

“You’re not subject to your environment and I feel like that’s the story and message I want to represent to anyone that comes in contact with me or anyone who I am blessed enough to meet,” she said.

Slusher aspires to inspire beauty from the inside out through mentorship and philanthropic work in our community. She staffs eight other women through Major Beauty Salon, hosts lash and brow tech exhibitions, and mentors other women throughout the region in hopes of helping them reach their dreams as well.

Elizabeth “Sugga” Randle met Slusher shortly before opening her salon and is now a lash brow tech at Major Beauty.

“A 19-year-old was telling me ‘you can do this.’ A person that I don’t even know believed in me who doesn’t even truly know me, but she believed in me that much and now I’m living out my dream,” Randle said.

Lash tech Mikayla Woods, who started as one of Slusher’s clients and is now her co-worker, said Slusher has changed her life for the better.

“She’s just very inspirational, and I’m very grateful for her because I feel like God sent her into my life. I can’t explain it,” Woods said. “I feel like God sent her into my life at the perfect time and it’s just great. We all love it here. She’s an angel. God took his time on her.”

Slusher recently applied for a grant provided by a group of local organizations, including the St. Louis Mental Health Board. They presented her with a $2,500 check on Thursday to support her business and assist her mentorship efforts.

“She wrote a grant that she wants to do something inspiring young people. You heard her talk about how she wants to inspire people to have beauty from the inside out, so we are giving her the opportunity to do that and we want other youth to apply as well,” said Lisa Potts, project director of the St. Louis Mental Health Board.

The grant is available to young people between 19 and 25 in St. Louis City and County who desire to find their voice, express themselves, and make a positive impact in our area. Young leaders can apply for this grant at www.stlareavpc.org.