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Savvy ex inmate uses her viral mugshot to turn negativity into a booming hair business

Shia Yearwood


Savvy ex inmate uses her viral mugshot to turn negativity into a booming hair business

We always hear the saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” But seeing examples is way better than just hearing alone.

When the Mecklenburg County Sherriff’s Department (@charlottemugs) posted hairstylist’s Shia Yearwood‘s mugshot photo, it quickly went viral.

But it didn’t get the negative attention the police department desired.

Instead people positively retweeted Shia’s mugshot.

When one person wrote, “Okay, but who did her hair?” the 24-year-old sensed opportunity was knocking.

“Me,” Yearwood replied, according to the Charlotte Observer.

She retweeted the mugshot, adding “can’t hold me back either” and the hashtag of her business, #braidsbyshia.

braids by shia

That’s the savvy business move made by Shia Yearwood, a hairstylist in Charlotte, North Carolina, after she was arrested on a misdemeanor charge for violating a domestic protective order last Wednesday.

Yearwood said the arrest stemmed from a dispute between her and her son’s father over visitation, according to WAFB-TV.

Since then, the mug has been re-tweeted more than 4,000 times, and Yearwood says people are contacting her about setting up appointments.

Yearwood said the retweet was her way of taking ownership of the situation.

“I retweeted it because me and my friends were joking between us like I [should] just clown myself before my friends find it and clown me first,” Yearwood told

She added: “I felt like I look good in my picture.”

Shia Yearwood

She told BET that “I thought my braids looked amazing — they were literally done two hours prior to the mugshot.”

Yearwood has been braiding hair since she was a youngster, and credits her grandmother and godmother for teaching her how to do it, even though she wasn’t a big fan at first.

“To be honest, I wasn’t quite interested in braiding because I use to do micros, and they took way too long to do,” she told BET. “Then I learned to do the Poetic Justice braids when I was experiencing hair loss after my daughter was born. I got a good reaction from family and friends. Because I was a young mom with no money for daycare, I did hair to just make a little money to get her [the] essentials.”

Yearwood views her reaction to the arrest as a positive.

“I overcame it,” she told Inside Edition. “I am not bad. I am not sad. I wasn’t hurt. Someone tried to break me and it just worked out in my benefit.”

Since her mugshot, Shia has also seen an uptick in business. “I have definitely seen an increase in inquiries since my tweet. Really, more so in support of what I do and how I turned my situation around.”

Her advice on going viral? “No matter what, if you stay true to who you are and what you believe in you will flourish. When people try to break you, stand up tall and proud and look people in the face — and don’t be ashamed! Own it and then flip it. The goal in life is to secure the bag and prosper.”

While we can say bravo to her, we can also look at this from another perspective. She says her baby daddy tried to break her, and the newspaper tried to embarass her. But she flipped it on both of them and used her mugshot to her advantage. Sometimes men really do women wrong, and the woman is strong enough to overcome. We don’t know who is wrong in this case, but there are definitely lessons to be learned. The most important one, don’t stand by idle, while someone is trying to take you down. Use the bricks tossed at you, in order to build yourself a mansion.

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