After twenty-five years, in the beauty industry serving as a professional hairstylist and hair educator, Peta-Gaye McCalla has finally found true fulfillment in enjoying her craft. The realization that her own happiness was often right in front of her has allowed her to live life peacefully, see her vision come to life and trust God through every process. Hence, she is now ready to share with the world.
In her new book Journey: My Life behind the Chair’ examines the experiences of Peta-Gaye McCalla. She shares unique and complex stories demonstrating how a woman can succeed in America under exceptionally difficult circumstances; through drive, grit, intelligence, compassion and faith. McCalla offers advice that will inspire other success seekers to follow in her footsteps.
PWH: At what age did you and your siblings join your mother in the U.S.? How was that
PM: I was twelve years old going on thirteen when my mother came back to get me from Jamaica.
My brother was nine years old. The transition was rough for us because we were outsiders. We
dressed differently and had accents. But we were able to quickly learn and adapt to the
American way and grow up.
PWH: How many years did you work as a shampoo assistant before going to beauty school?
What did you take away from that experience that has stuck with you throughout the
PM:I went to beauty school and worked as a shampoo assistant for one year. Being a shampoo girl
taught me the business from an entry level viewpoint. It also taught me how to train my assistant
properly. I didn’t like how I was treated in the first place that I worked, but in the second place, I
was treated with patience and nurtured so I could grow as a stylist. I carried that with me. I am
able to give my assistant the same opportunity to grow with a skill set of how to do each position
and how to manage a business.
PWH: What is your recipe for success?
PM: My recipe for success is maintaining balance in my life.
- Get plenty of rest for clarity
- Know what your gifts and callings are in life.
- Work at it consistently.
- Don’t focus on anyone’s else’s accomplishments and shining moments negatively.
- Everyone’s accomplishment happens in due season.
PWH: What would be some advice for those who are still working through their trauma and
are ashamed to talk about it?
PM: My advice for anyone who has been through trauma or feeling ashamed is to talk to a
professional. Therapy is helpful in getting to a place where I understand who I am – the good
and the bad. And I just don’t give a F what other people think or say about me.
PWH: What kept you focused to push through in attaining your dreams with all the legal
barriers of immigration?
PM: I was able to stay focused because I have huge responsibilities. I have children and a business
to run therefore I had no choice but to show up daily despite my situation.
PWH: What are the failures you cherish most and why?
PM: I wouldn’t say I cherished my failures, but I can say the most impactful failure in my life is my
failed marriage. I never saw divorce as an option. I felt my home life was my stability. To have
that fall out from under me caused me to evaluate myself and my choices and the things I had
been avoiding. In other words, it propelled me forward when the pain could have held me back.
PWH: If you could go back 10 years, what advice would you give yourself?
PM: If I could go back 10 years, I would basically tell myself to dream bigger. I would say, “You have
more in you than you think, Peta-Gaye. Your fear lives in your head.” Lastly I would tell myself
to be bolder.
PWH: Finally, what legacy would you like to leave?
PM: I would like to leave the legacy of being a good mother to my children so they will pass that
down to their children. I would like to leave the blueprint of being a faith-filled visionary, hard
worker, and wealth builder for my children and every woman desiring more for her life. Lastly, I
would like my legacy to be that I kept dreaming and doing the work despite age and