Digame: Shaira Frias Talks Being a First-Gen Afro-Latina Entrepreneur

Since launching Luna Magic in 2019, Shaira Frias has taken the brand to major retailers including Target and Walmart

Shaira Frias Luna Magic

Credit: Shaira Frias/Luna Magic | Courtesy

Shaira Frias co-founded Luna Magic with her sister Mabel and leads the product design, development, and global strategy. The brand launched in 2019 and immediately drew fans including Cardi B and later launched in Target, CVS and Walmart. They went on Shark Tank in 2021 and accepted a deal with real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran becoming one of the few Latina-owned brands to land a deal with a Shark on the show. She was raised by Dominican parents in New York and holds a bachelors in Journalism & Spanish from City University of New York (CUNY) — Brooklyn College and is also a graduate of the UCLA Anderson School of Management Executive Program.

“Being Afro-Latinas, my sister and I were always immersed in beauty and music. Beauty is such an important element in our culture,” she previously told HipLatina. “It felt most natural to build a company based on an industry that we are so passionate about and that there is room for us to tell fresh stories and represent Latinas in an authentic way.”

Which Latina(s) have had the greatest impact on your life and why?

Growing up the only Negra Latina I saw on TV that looked like me was Celia Cruz. I saw my grandmother, my mom, my lineage in her. Seeing Celia on TV being admired, adored and respected by so many Latinos gave me the confidence to know that las mujeres negras Latinas were seen and acknowledge in mainstream media.

If you could meet a Latina icon who is no longer alive, who would it be and why?

It would be Celia Cruz If I could meet a Latina. I would simply thank her for paving the way.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

The best piece of advice I have ever received was “Be yourself, no matter what and they will life you”. The more I get older I realized how important that valuable advice has been in throughout my journey. I’ve seen first-hand how people around me eventually feel burnt out because they are exhausted by the times they have to morph into so many different personalities depending on the rooms we’ve entered.

Who was the first person to believe in your dreams/goals?

My grandma was my cheerleader growing up. To me she was the only person that would cheer me on no matter what I told her, good or bad, she would always pray that I would make my dreams come true. She is what we call in Dominican culture, “Una Abuela Apoyadora”.

How do you stay connected to your cultural roots?

The biggest gift my mom gave me was “deporting” me to Dominican Republic at 12 years old. She sent me to the Dominican Republic as punishment because I was starting to become a “rebellious” child. What my mother didn’t know is that in that 2nd world country, I learned the true meaning of family, unconditional love, and the true feeling of belonging. I learned how to be genuinely happy with an empty fridge, I learned the art of living day to day because “Dios Proveerá” , and how to take a siesta at 12 pm. Because of my mother’s blessing to “deport” me to Dominican Republic, I consider myself Dominican first and American second. I visit my family at least three times a year, I stay in sync with everything in the country every single day, to the point that I only watch Dominican news and not American News every single day. My Dominican culture is what gives me the fire to keep going. I know that my success is their success and they depend on me to get out of the hood.

What do you wish more people understood about what you do?

I wish people would understand that owning a business is a marathon and not a race. That staying focused on your goals, in your lane, will get you further than chasing the shiny object. Your business values and objectives shouldn’t change because of what’s “in season” at the moment. Respect your vision and your integrity.

What motivates you?

As simple as it sounds, I am motivated by knowing that If I am successful I can provide a better future for my family. I am the typical first generation child that has her entire family on her shoulders. Sometimes I am exhausted, and I want to tap out, but I know that if my grandmother did not leave the country, I would be living in poverty. So I do it, so she sees that although she has a second grade education and that she doesn’t know how to read or write, her sacrifices were worth it at the end.

How did you end up on the professional path you’re on now?

My successful path was not luck. When I was 14 years old, I used to watch the Oprah Winfrey show every day after school. In one of her shows she spoke about manifestation, the power of intention and about “not letting your environment determine who you become in life”. At the time I didn’t really know what that meant, but for some reason, the message stuck with me and it made sense. Throughout my school years I kept seeking to understand what manifestation really meant. I started researching the topic in my local library and little by little I understood that you are the creator of your life once you become aware of your consciousness. In high school I started consciously speaking into existence what I wanted. As a teenager I saw that if I decided what I wanted to do and took the necessary steps to achieve it, It would happen. I used my conscious awareness to graduate from college even though all odds were against me and eventually to start my business. Everything that I did PRIOR to starting my business became a stepping stone when I actually started my business.

What is your greatest professional achievement so far? Personal achievement?

I am at awe that I’ve had Luna Magic for five years. This was suppose to be a pet project because I was bored in my house and now it is in three of the biggest retailers in the nation. I wake up every day happy because I don’t feel like if I am working, I am living my wildest dreams and it is still surreal. My greatest [personal] achievement is living my dream every single day. The freedom that I have to decide what I want to do every morning is truly a dream come true.

What is a goal you have that you haven’t accomplished yet and what are you doing to get closer to accomplishing it?

I’ve accomplishes all of my most important goals. I always knew that I was going to be successful, but I thought it would happen when I was in my mid-thirties. But when God has plans for you, there is nothing and no one that can change that. Everything I ever dreamed of came to be in my 20’s and when that happens, your brain does not adjust to your new reality because “the elevator went up too fast”. Last year after some therapy sessions I realized and accepted what everybody saw in me but it was so hard to see in myself, I am a successful woman.
What pop culture moment made you feel seen?

How do you practice self care?

Self-care to me is being alone in silence, with my thoughts. Reading a book, watching a movie, listening to the ocean waves. I am the quintessential Aquarius, people drain me. Chaos drains me, “being on” drains me. Because I am hypersensitive to every human in the room, I notice things I don’t want to feel. This year I am prioritizing myself and taking care of me. I love getting a massage, getting my hair and nails done and going out dancing.

Quick Fire:

Shoutout an Instagram account that could use more love and tell us why you’re a fan:

Honey Beauty (@Honeybeautynyc). I am mentoring her right now to help her organize and think through her business model. Genesis reminds me of my family that still lives in New York City, helping her is an example of my genuine desire to give back to my community.

Shoutout your favorite Latina owned business and why

Shoutout to Rizos Curls (@rizoscurls)! I like the brother, sister dynamic Julissa and Tony have. They complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses and respect each other.

Digame is a monthly series featuring prominent Latinx leaders, activists, entrepreneurs, and public figures uplifting the community and making a difference.

In this Article

Afro-Latina afro-latina entrepreneur afro-latina owned Black History Month digame Dominican Latina entrepreneur Latina-owned beauty brands luna magic Shaira Frias
More on this topic