Ulta Beauty recently launched the MUSE 100, a celebration of 100 inspirational Black voices in and around beauty, from entrepreneurs and creators to visionary leaders, and more. These individuals are creating impact and driving change in the industry and beyond, to help make beauty in our world possible. Each MUSE honoree will be awarded a $10,000 grant to help accelerate their impact, totaling over a $1M commitment from Ulta Beauty.
The MUSE 100 honorees embody the commitment of Magnifying, Uplifting, Supporting, and Empowering Black voices – and, Haile Thomas is someone who totally reflects this commitment. She has been named an honoree of the Next Gen category, “the emerging young Black leaders shaking up our world.”
As a Wellness and Compassion Activist, an International Speaker, Author, and CEO – among many other things – Haile has accomplished so much so far, and because of her deep desire to want to make a change in the world, she definitely isn’t stopping anytime soon. Between creating her non-profit, HAPPY to make plant-based nutrition and education more accessible, working with big brands to help teach others how to have a healthier lifestyle, and writing a healthy cookbook, Haile is someone that many look towards for both inspiration and wisdom.
We got the chance to sit down with Haile to learn more about her life, how she feels about being a leader, the power of her own voice, and so much more. Read below to hear what she had to say, and help us celebrate her as an honoree of MUSE 100!
Her Campus: Who is the muse who inspires you to stand up for what you believe in?
Haile Thomas: My greatest muse will always be my mom. She’s a beautiful example of living life with honesty, passion, and care for others. She’s never shied away from speaking her truth or emphasizing the importance of uplifting others in need of support. Through her example, I’ve learned that standing up for what I believe in also means embodying those same values in the ways I stand up for myself.
Her Campus: What does being a leader mean to you?
Haile: I think being a leader means connecting to the guiding force within you and choosing to honor/nurture it. To rise above the noise of what others are doing or the expectations projected onto us takes incredible strength. Yet, when we choose to nurture that which we feel called to embody, share, or create, despite those projections, we activate leadership from within — and this inner guidance pours into everything we do. To have clarity amidst the noise, intentionally choosing how you wish to show up for yourself and in the world captures leadership. When we live through the lens of our clarity, we act through it, too, elevating the ways we consciously and unconsciously make an impact.
Her Campus: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Haile: Honestly, I think my greatest achievement is learning to honor my well-being throughout the years. I’m deeply grateful for the spaces I’ve been a part of and the opportunities and support I’ve received over the past decade. But I wouldn’t be where I am today nor accomplish what I have without practices that remind me of how vital my spiritual, physical, and mental wellness is. This journey of care has met me with challenges but has also created pathways for greater self-love. It’s taught me how to set boundaries and create safe spaces to refuel the creativity and energy that allows me to do what I love and make a positive impact. While it’s imperfect, I know that continuing to take care of myself is intrinsically connected to the care I can provide to my community and beyond.
Her Campus: When did you first feel the power of your own voice?
Haile: Growing up, my parents affirmed that my voice was powerful simply because I had one. I’m deeply appreciative of the ways they’ve nurtured my expression because I never had the chance to develop the thought that my voice didn’t matter or that it wasn’t impactful. I think a lot of the work I do today is rooted in echoing the same sentiment back to others, no matter their age. I hope to remind others that their unique perspective and articulation of their experiences are powerful and deeply needed in our world.
Her Campus: What is one piece of advice you would give your younger self?
Haile: Nothing. I wouldn’t offer any advice to my younger self because the lessons I’ve learned without guidance have been essential to unfolding my truest self and forms of creativity and impact. I think we learn from and understand life with an irreplaceable authenticity when we live it ourselves and embrace the clumsiness of each version of who we are. It’s often in that confusion and discomfort that we’re presented with opportunities to dig deeper into the core of who we are.
Her Campus: The Muse 100 mission is to amplify and uplift Black voices and individuals. How are you personally aligned with this mission?
Haile: I love the mission of the Muse 100 because amplifying and celebrating voices that have been historically silenced expands the possibilities for connection and reflection. Through each other’s stories, experiences, and special ways of expressing/creating, we witness the world and ourselves in more expansive, beautiful, and unexpected ways. As we make room for more diverse stories to be shared and celebrated, felt, and digested, new possibilities arise. This is one of the most exciting things about Muse 100. It’s 100 Black stories converging in this space with celebratory, joyful, and inspiring energy. In celebration, we are transmuting the grief and pain that has often solely been associated with Blackness and showing that our joy, creativity, love, and resilience are far greater.
Here’s to Haile, and all of the other MUSE 100 Honorees!
Click here to learn more about Haile and the other MUSE 100 honorees!
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