Anyone who's been subject to an uncomfortable, all-day hair appointment knows that braids may look pretty, but the process can be anything but that. A good braider is hard to find, which is perhaps why Shia Milan Yearwood's mugshot, which was shared to Twitter last week, is going viral. Social media wasn't very interested in the details of her alleged crime — more so her set of impeccable box braids and artfully-laid edges. "Okay, but who did her hair?" reads the first reply. Turns out, Yearwood did them herself — and now the North Carolina-based hairstylist is capitalizing on her newfound fame as a way to boost her braiding business.
She retweeted the mugshot (which included her hashtag, #BraidsByShia, and an affirmation: "can’t hold me back either") and has racked up nearly 4,600 retweets and almost 9,000 likes since then. Yearwood tells Refinery29 that she knew her mugshot would be posted, but had no idea it would get this much love. In fact, she says she finished her now-famous set of box braids just hours before the photo was taken. "I mentally prepared myself because I knew I didn’t want to look rough or ugly in the picture. I had been jumped a couple of days before, so I was still bruised," she told Refinery29 over email. "I didn’t want to give the person who had me arrested any more power. I didn’t want him to see me sad, mad, or hurt over a picture. I didn’t want him to see me down or bruised up."
She says of her decision to repost the mugshot, "I wanted to clown myself before I got clowned," she wrote to us. "I wanted to show my social media [followers] that my year started off garbage and yet I was still here. Still standing. Holding my head up high, trying to secure the bag by any means." And that bag seems to be secured several times over — Yearwood says that requests for appointments have been flooding in, along with plenty of media attention. "I haven’t made my schedule fully yet because I’m still in a custody battle, and getting that and court situated," she wrote. "It’s hard to book [clients] the way that I want right now.... I have new inquiries about braids every 20 minutes because of the attention from the tweet." Just in case you're wondering (or you happen to be in the Charlotte area), the braids that Yearwood has in her mugshot cost up to $120, without hair included.
Of course, her braids and business don't overshadow the allegations against her, and from what she's told us, she still isn't out of the woods in terms of her legal situation. However, as we've learned in the past, one viral mugshot can totally change the course of your life. And that seems to be exactly what she wants. "I turned this situation from negative into a positive..." she tells us. "I been through so much in the last month alone that should of broken me... I wanted to make sure he saw me and saw that regardless, I made it. Regardless of what he did, he didn’t break me."