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Rising Stars: Meet Shelly Thomas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shelly Thomas. 

Shelly, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I’m what a lot of people refer to as a Jade of all trades. My Big 3 consists of comedy, music, and hair/beauty. These 3 things have shaped me to be the woman I am today. 

It’s so interesting running into people who knew me when I was young. They’re surprised that I’m a comedian because I was not the class clown in school. I had 2 friends and everyone else knew me from doing the morning announcements over the PA system and being in the marching band. I ended up getting a degree from the University of Houston in Broadcast Journalism and I play my trumpet for fun these days. 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a deep connection towards comedy. When I was a child, I surfed the internet hunting for stand-up clips, and stayed up late to watch BET’s Comic View. Growing up, my mom and I would watch standup comedy together (Lavelle Crawford was our favorite.) Her laugh is so infectious, it sorts of sparked something within myself making me want to do it myself. It wasn’t until I was 23 that I finally got the courage to get up on stage. Before I ever thought about being a comedian, I made friends with a few comedians in the scene. 5 years later and I feel like I’m just now stepping into my own. I got my start out in Houston after relocating there at 19. After hitting several open mics, I began to make a name for myself and booked shows all around the city. Just before 2020, I decided I wanted to travel to Chicago and stay for a few months to get my name out there on the scene. Some of my biggest comedian influences are from there. That lasted for 3 months until the pandemic started. With that in the background, I decided to move back to my hometown Detroit, instead of going back to Houston. The first year and a half back was rather slow with everything shut down. Things are picking back up and I’m back out on stage again. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has not been a smooth road at all. Due to me relocating several times, it slowed down my paid gigs tremendously. Even though I’m from Detroit, it’s like being the new kid on the block because it’s still so many people who don’t know me for comedy. 

It’s been a challenge to stay the course and not give up. It’s hard to want to create when you gotta worry about making money. I also work as an entrepreneur doing hair. I had to grow a new clientele base in the middle of a pandemic. There’s been a constant battle to just say eff it and get a “regular” job. Detroit is a flashy city so it’s been in my head like damn “I gotta get my money up” it’s a good thing and a bad thing. 

All in all, just having the finances to sit down and focus on the art I want to put out in the world has been my biggest struggle. I try not to let the world get me down 

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a Standup Comedian. I specialize in dark humor. I’m known for a multitude of things, depending on where you met me at. For example, I do hair and I have an only fan page… sooo I’m most proud of my ability to relocate at and adapt. Something that sets me apart from others is my fearlessness. I’m my 28 years, I’ve lived across several states and performed in front of thousands of people. 

My Hair Brands is Called Catch the Switch Up. I specialize in Natural and Protective Styles. I’m known for my faux Locs. I often do wild color installs that you wouldn’t normally find in your regular beauty supply. I’m most proud of my customer service. I really enjoy transforming my clients and giving them a style that just keeps getting better. My faux Locs last for months with proper maintenance. 

What matters most to you?
My peace of mind matters most to me because, at the end of the day, when I go home alone, I have to be at peace within myself. No one else can sustain that for me but me. 

Peace of mind that I’m on the right path and am making the best decisions that serve the betterment of myself and my family 

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