Wholehearted Stories : Sharmadean Reid


Not satisfied with her WAH Nails empire alone, Sharmadean Reid (MBE, for real) recently dreamed up a whole new social network for beauty fans. A digital beauty salon, if you will, Beautystack has provided a space for independent make-up artists to interact with their communities and vice versa. There’s an irl store too, currently popping up at shiny new King’s Cross hub Coal Drops Yard and hosting a rotating cast of creatives. Sharmadean Reid: instilling everyone with the confidence to start their own business since 2009.

We caught up with 34-year-old Sharmadean — who wears our new Links Wholehearted collection — to discuss women in business, the lies we’ve been told about romance and love letters of note.

Links of London: What do you wholeheartedly believe in?


Sharmadean Reid: I wholeheartedly believe in gender equality. I think that so many problems are based around a gender imbalance and I think that if there were equal opportunities for men and women, the world would look quite different. You can’t have a world that’s 50% women without half the important decisions being made by women. It just doesn't make sense to me. The style of decision making, the style of company building, the style of approach… all of that jazz is different; so when I meet male company founders, it’s really interesting what they choose to focus on in their business vs. what I do.


LL: What drives your passions?


SR: I think I’ve just seen how exciting progress is, and how powerful it is when you give a young woman tools to learn, to grow and how they take that opportunity with both hands and run with it. The thing that keeps me engaged is seeing what someone can do if you give them the chance. Helping women increase their economic empowerment is really exciting..


LL: Who or what makes you feel like anything is possible?


SR: I feel like I can make anything possible myself. I just think about where I came from and what it took to get here and sometimes I’m in disbelief. Staying motivated is one of my hardest challenges, because once you reach every goal it’s like, well, now what? So you have to keep finding new goals. There’s this great line from Dr. Seuss’s Oh The Places You’ll Go, where he’s like: “I’m afraid that sometimes you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win, cause you’ll play against you.” And it’s true, but it’s the only real place you should compete, because if you measure yourself against other people it’s all quite empty — you don’t know their stories or what they’re going through. You have to use yourself as your own motivation.


LL: Which pieces from the collection were you drawn to and why?


SR: I absolutely loved the Endless Love choker. It’s really queen-like and modern. It’s so good. The earrings too — they were really fun, clever earrings. I like how on the Endless Love hoop the heart goes all the way through your ear.


LL: How does wearing them make you feel?


SR: Like an absolute queen. There’s something about chokers, they’re super feminine. Throughout history royal women have worn them, so it made me feel incredible.


LL: What styling tips would you give to someone wearing them?


SR: Well, I got my hair braided because I really wanted to contrast the fanciness of the jewellery with a street sensibility, because my personal style is always about a mix of high and low. The red velvet jacket I wore with it made me feel quite renaissance and decadent.


LL: Whose love story, real or fictional, do you consider to be the greatest of all time?


SR: Where do I begin? I’m obsessed with this. Firstly, the film Love Story — those two are amazing. Maybe Big and Carrie. I didn’t like Romeo and Juliet because I was just like, you don’t even know this girl! So insincere. As for real love; I’m reading a book of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh letters at the moment, which was platonic but clearly a love. Winston Churchill and Clemmie, too. She was amazing.


LL: Have you ever had a heartfelt encounter with a stranger?


SR: Yeah, I had one the other week. I met this guy at a party, we were talking about books and it turned out that he had read all the male writer counterparts to my favourite female writers. We were discussing how I would never read Henry Miller and he would never read Virginia Woolf. We went on to talk about films and music and then I just left the party. It was heartfelt and he probably got excited but I’m like; I’ve been here before mate. Just because we have common ground, doesn’t mean that it’s a solid base for love.


LL: Finally, what is the soundtrack to your most motivated days?


SR: My WAH motivation playlist, which is full of songs like Amerie’s Gotta Work, Survivor by Destiny’s Child and Big Sean’s Hi Haters.