Role Model Beyond Beauty / Part 8

This month’s edition of Urban Call Briefs features another group of “Role Models Beyond Beauty” who are doing wonderful things in our community.

“Role Model-Beyond Beauty” has been a Sophisticates Black Hair Styles and Care Guide magazine feature for more than 25 years. It highlights women of color who have made significant advances in their careers and who have given back to their communities. Nearing its 100th edition, the column has honored black women in a wide range of fields.

The column portrait art by commissioned artist Leo Rucker is also an art exhibition of 180 pastel portraits with the Role Model story about these accomplished women and their distinguished careers are in the personal collection of beauty industry leaders Sandra and Lafayette Jones. Visit and the SMSi-Urban Call YouTube Channel ( In August 2013 the Role Model Beyond art portraits and editorial were featured at the National Black Theater Festival held bi-annually in Winston-Salem, NC where more than 30,000 festival participants had an opportunity to view the exhibition at The Sawtooth School of Visual Art.

The column is written by beauty industry icon Lafayette Jones and is co-authored by his daughter, Bridgette Miller Jones, who joined as co-columnist five years ago. Bridgette is a 2011 Spelman graduate and now East Carolina School of Dental Medicine candidate (2015). The “Role Model Beyond Beauty” column originally debuted as a touring 180+ piece art collection and exhibition.

The expanded exhibition opened for a second year in Winston-Salem, NC, the City of the Arts. Selected pastel portraits of the large collection commissioned by Sandy and Lafayette Jones and illustrated by Artist Extraordinaire Leo Rucker are being shown July 13—August 9, 2015 in the Milton Rhodes Sawtooth. A handful of profiles are included in this OTC Beauty Magazine edition.

Denise B. Gardner

Denise B. Gardner is president of Insights & Opportunities, a marketing and strategic planning firm. She is a co-founder of Namaste Laboratories, the largest minority-owned beauty manufacturer in the United States, and the former vice president of Soft Sheen Products*, where Advertising Age named her a Top 100 Marketer. Gardner sits on the board of The Art Institute of Chicago and the Board of Governors of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She also co-chairs its Leadership Advisory Committee, is vice president of the Chicago Chapter of The Links, Inc. and is a member of the Board of Visitors of Northwestern University’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences. She is a former board member of the Chicago Humanities Festival and chair of its Diversity Committee. In 2011, Gardner was named one of The Chicago Defender Women of Excellence. She holds a BSJ in Advertising and an MBA from Northwestern University.

She is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Chicago Community Trust and chairs its African American Legacy Advisory Board.


*History of Soft Sheen Products: A Wholly Owned Subsidiary of L’Oreal, S.A.

Founded: 1964

Employees: 400

Sales: $94.5 million

Key Dates:

  • 1964: Gary and Bettiann Gardner begin Soft Sheen in the basement of their home.
  • 1979: Soft Sheen introduces Care Free Curl, causing revenues to increase dramatically.
  • 1985: Gary Gardner becomes president and CEO of Soft Sheen.
  • 1996: Gary Gardner resigns, and is replaced by his sister, Terri Gardner. Denise Gardener resigns as Vice President Marketing.
  • 1998: Soft Sheen is acquired by L’Oreal S.A.

Company History: Soft Sheen Products, Inc. is the top U.S. producer of ethnic hair care products. Its 200-plus products include shampoos, conditioners, relaxers, perms and gels. They are marketed under various brand names, including Alternatives, Baby Love, Care Free Curl, Frizz Free, as well as Sportin’ Waves, Wave Nouveau and Optimum Care. The company sells its products to salons, beauty supply houses, and such retailers as drug stores and department stores. In fact, retailers account for approximately 75 percent of its sales, and salons for 20 percent. Soft Sheen markets its products in several countries, including Africa, Brazil, and the Caribbean, as well as in the United States.

Roslyn C. Chapman

Roslyn C. Chapman, president and CEO of The Chapman Edge, is a well-respected marketing and sales professional with a proven track record in packaged goods sales, marketing and business development.

The Chapman Edge, founded in 2000, is a sales management company that specializes in selling and marketing personal care items to national retail chain accounts and wholesalers (Prison System Only). The company has worked on multicultural projects and for many years been selected as the ethnic needs category go confidant by several retailers.

The Chapman Edge has evolved into not only a solid sales representative organization for health and beauty, but through her contacts across all classes of trade has expanded sales focus to include other general merchandise categories both core and closeout. It has also become necessary to study and become familiar with retailer logistics and manufacturer operations to assure full distribution channel customer service to all clients. She has traveled internationally to study retailer practices.

In addition to her entrepreneurial accomplishments, Chapman served as Director of National Sales with Alberto Culver where she was employed for 15 years. The tenure with Alberto Culver was a fertile training ground that generously prepared Chapman to become a successful business manager and marketer. Prior to working with Alberto Culver, Chapman worked with Johnson Products for 6 years. As a college intern she worked with JC Penney in their corporate buying office. Chapman is a featured columnist and consults with several trade and consumer publications: Sophisticates Black Hair, MMR and Chain Drug Review.

Chapman, born in Richmond Virginia still enjoys visiting her family home in Shacklefords, Va. where she has strong family ties. She is an alumnus of Hampton University. In the city she currently calls home—Chicago, Ill.—she is a volunteer with the Museum of Science and Industry and active with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and a past member of the James Jordan Boys and Girl club board. In Chicago and nationwide she enjoys having a supportive friend, mentor and adopted family network.

Pilar Sanders

Pilar Sanders is an actor, mother, entrepreneur, fitness enthusiast and TV personality. One of her favorite childhood memories is delivering Christmas gifts for a charity in her native town of Elmira, N.Y. with her family. “There were 100’s of people and we would pack bags with toys and deliver them on Christmas Eve and on Christmas morning. The night air, the snow and hot chocolate; it was a beautiful time.”

Today Pilar continues that giving tradition in Sanders Claus, a charity she and her husband Deion Sanders established in Prosper, Texas. He is the famous former cornerback for the Atlanta Falcons and the colorful commentator (sometimes known as “Neon Deion”) for the National Football League (NFL) Network’s “NFL Total Access.” Pilar has joined the cast of “Football Wives” on the cable network VH-1. Together, Pilar and Deion raise five children, run several businesses, and are active in dozens of charities, all of which was captured on their hit reality show “Deion & Pilar: Prime Time Love” which aired on the Oxygen cable network.

Sanders Claus, “The Spirit of Giving All Year Round,” bridges corporations with communities. As in Pilar’s childhood experience, the organization delivers clothes, food, toys and other items on Christmas Eve and Christmas day. But as their motto states, they keep on giving all year round. “We bring food, toiletries, clothes, hats, medical and dental needs, wheel chairs—whatever it takes. At back to school time we give away backpacks loaded with supplies,” she said. Another charity the couple works with is the Prime Time Association’s Truth football team. She and Deion founded the program that includes a summer camp for young people five through 14 years of age. In addition to football, students learn other sports including baseball and basketball. They receive tutoring in English, math and science, nutrition education and leadership courses. “Around 2,000 kids try out and 300 are accepted. It’s a tough program,” she noted.

Pilar began a modeling career in high school, continued it in college, then became a professional with the famous Ford modeling agency. Her next foray was into acting. She appeared on television shows such as “Veronica’s Closet,” “The Jamie Foxx Show,” “Walker, Texas Ranger,” and LL Cool J’s “In The House,” where she met Deion. Her creative spirit continues to blossom in numerous ways. She takes joy in designing t-shirts for the Truth youth organization. She is working on several books for children and is launching a perfume line named after the couple’s daughter, Shelomi. Learn more at

Carol Moseley Braun

Carol Moseley Braun was born Carol Elizabeth Moseley on August 16, 1947 in Chicago, Ill. A leading African-American politician, Moseley Braun’s career has been marked by both great successes and missteps.

After graduating from the University of Illinois in 1969 with a degree in political science, Moseley Braun attended the university’s law school. She earned her law degree in 1972, and began working as an assistant U.S. attorney in Chicago the following year.

Moseley Braun held her first political post as a Democratic representative to the Illinois House of Representatives, beginning in 1978. As a representative, she was known as an advocate for social change, working for reforms in education, government, and healthcare. In 1988, she took another challenge; she was elected recorder of deeds for Cook County, Ill., overseeing hundreds of employees as well as the public agency’s multimillion-dollar budget.


First Black Woman Elected to the Senate

In 1992, Moseley Braun made the leap to the national political arena: She ran for a seat in the U.S. Senate, looking to unseat incumbent Democratic Senator Alan Dixon in the Democratic primary. Up against a seasoned politician who had spent decades in office, Moseley Braun appeared to be the underdog. But many responded to Moseley Braun as a chance for political change. She won the primary, but faced another tough opponent in Republican Richard Williamson. Williamson tried to capitalize on Moseley Braun’s mishandling of a tax situation. Although the scandal marred her campaign, she won the election, becoming the first African-American woman to win election to the U.S. Senate.

As a senator, Moseley Braun tackled many issues, including women’s rights and civil rights. She served on several committees including the powerful Senate Finance Committee. Moseley Braun continued to support educational reforms and called for more restrictive gun control laws. Her time in office, however, was affected by claims that she misused funds from her 1992 campaign, spending the money on personal expenses. While no charges were ever filed, this allegation clung to Moseley Braun as she sought re-election in 1998.


Post-Senate Work

Moseley Braun’s re-election campaign was also hindered by her Republican opponent Peter Fitzgerald. A self-financed candidate, Fitzgerald didn’t have restrictions on how much he could spend during his campaign. He won the election by a close margin. After leaving office, Moseley Braun was appointed U.S. ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa by President Bill Clinton in 1999. She left the post at the end of the Clinton Administration. A career-long advocate for education, Moseley Braun then taught at Morris Brown College.

In 2003, she campaigned for the Democratic presidential nomination. Moseley Braun opposed the war in Iraq and spoke out about the country’s economic situation, but she dropped out of the race in early 2004 after failing to garner enough support. She asked her supporters to vote for Howard Dean.

Since then, Moseley Braun has been working as a business consultant, started an organic foods company called Good Foods Organics and serves on the board of North Carolina Mutual life Insurance company. She has one child: a son named Michael from her previous marriage to Michael Braun.

Carol Moseley Braun. (2015). The website. Retrieved 10:33, Mar 01, 2015, from

Each month, Urban Call Briefs covers subjects that provide readers of OTC Beauty Magazine with information on multicultural consumers, Hispanics and African Americans, who are the fastest growing consumer segments in the U.S. The mission of this column is to build a bridge of communications and information between manufacturers and retailers and the ethnic consumers they wish to serve better. The column offers resources covering marketing, retail merchandising, consumer research, purchase behavior, fashion and beauty trends, industry events and people, trade association news, new product launches and a potpourri of information designed to help the readers make intelligent decisions about the customers they serve. Urban Call is a registered trademark of Segmented Marketing Services, Inc. (SMSi). For more information, call 336-759-7477 or visit

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