When she was 15, Sierra Gates found herself pregnant and homeless. Now, with over two million Instagram followers and her own beauty salon, the Atlanta native is quickly becoming a household name.
“My mother was a great mom. I was very spoiled, [but] she was real strict,” Gates, 31, told Page Six Style. “When I got into high school, the first boy I saw I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m in love,’ and ended up getting pregnant. She was not going for it; she put me completely out and I was homeless, so I had to figure it out.”
For the following year, the “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” star slept in cars and crashed at the homes of cousins, friends and even her grandfather. She even lived in her car.
“In 2008, I was 17 and worked at a strip club called Foxy Lady, making $400 to $500 a day,” she recalled. “The manager of the club wanted me to be a dancer, but I had other plans. Seeing women doing drugs [and struggling with] depression and prostitution, I knew I had to be my own boss.”
All it took was a trip to the mall and a little white lie about being a makeup artist at a kiosk station. The owner put Gates’ skills to the test, and she was hired on the spot.
Now with a net worth of over $1 million, the reality star owns her own salon, The Glam Shop, and shares the secrets to her success through her seminars, webinars and e-books.
“I am a strong believer in women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship. I made $50,000 in one week by conducting classes and showing students my beauty techniques,” she told us. “I charge $2,000 per student. Recently in Atlanta, I made $100,000 with 76 students that registered.”
As for the makeup essentials Gates thinks everyone should have on hand? “A brow pencil, lipstick/lipgloss and mascara,” she said. “But if they don’t have eyelashes, they need buy a pair of lashes.”
And despite these uncertain times, Gates says she’s only just getting started.
“This thing is deeper than me. You think God put me here on this platform to reap the benefits and not help anyone? We are on this platform so we can uplift other people, especially women,” she explained.
“I just want to continue to help girls. I want to get married, have more kids and really build my empire, so my kids can continue my legacy — so they can be everything I am, plus more.”