After losing her mother to breast cancer and being diagnosed herself, Ouidad is committed to supporting research.
Every year Ouidad—a renowned hair stylist who created a company that bears her name—gets a mammogram around the time of her birthday. It’s a routine rooted in loss. Her mother died of metastatic breast cancer when Ouidad was 25 years old.
“After my mom passed away, I felt it was vital to take care of myself,” she said.
In 2002, after her annual mammogram, Ouidad received a call to come back for a biopsy. The test later revealed she had breast cancer. At the time she was 46 years old, the same age her mother was when she died from the disease.
“It was a shock,” Ouidad said. “But I was determined to make sure my kids wouldn’t grow up without their mom.”
She underwent a bilateral mastectomy and was put on tamoxifen for five years. After her diagnosis and treatment, Ouidad remained committed to her health but also saw an opportunity to help others through her company.
“My diagnosis changed my life and it changed our business,” she said.
As a hair stylist, she had witnessed other women with breast cancer lose their hair during treatment. Her own experience with the disease gave her a new perspective on this loss, and she decided to make it a priority for her employees to address the unique needs of this community.
“It put me in different paradigm,” she said. “It empowered me and my team to help others going through a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.”
For Ouidad, this extended to advancing breast cancer research as well. She has supported BCRF’s mission for 15 years, first through her company, Ouidad, and most recently through her Curls for a Cure donation program, which she promotes year-round.
“I think research is changing the world,” she said. “It changed mine. I’m a result of research.”
She hopes her company’s commitment to BCRF’s mission will give her a chance to leave a lasting legacy beyond the one she has maintained professionally.
"When I’m gone, I want people to say ‘She's the one who helped her clients emotionally through a tough time in their lives,’" she said.
“Research is the reason I can help others.”