At first glance you see this beautiful woman with long nails and a bald head but when you delve a little deeper she reveals a woman who has, and continues, to live a life full of trials with survival being its reward. I do believe, just like me, you will come away having learned, as my grandmother would say, how to "make a way from no way". Miasia shows us how to do it with grace and panache.
Photograph by Christine Crescenzi
AOTCE: Can you provide some details about your beginnings and those who gave you encouragement to
be a designer and is responsible for your caring and giving back nature?
Miasia Pasha: In 1975 I was a fat housewife of 25, married to my first husband who was in the Army.
We lived in Flint, Michigan, where all of my family is from. I started selling the product in 1976 to
make a little extra money so I could buy myself some trinket. I found out I had a talent for influencing
others to believe in the products as I did. I made a lot more than trinket money and so I divorced my
husband and moved to Oklahoma City to continue my business. I worked and sold for a popular
cosmetic company as a consultant for 8 years and made a lot of money for them.
My children have always inspired me to be the best Mom I could be because I was the child of parents
who did not show a lot of love outwardly. I wanted to raise them to be proud women, so I had
to go out into the world and find myself first. I have a very old and dear friend Barbara, who I met
when I was 26. She told me that I was a beautiful woman and that I should stop wearing wigs.
She inspired me in a lot of ways, like looking your best at all times and going after whatever, you want
in life. We still speak often.
AOTCE: Can you tell our readers what type of work you do?
Miasia Pasha: I am on the Board of Directors of CASS Central Arizona Shelter Services. I am the proud mother of two beautiful and accomplished daughters ISIS and Kenyatta and I also am a Designer of a clothing line that I call Snapswraps. I do fashion shows and in-home parties.
AOTCE: Would you tell us a little about the Arizona Shelter Services?
Miasia Pasha: CASS is the largest emergency shelter in Arizona. We house over 500 persons each night. 300 men and 150 women sleep at our facility in the city. Our shelter is not only a place for them to sleep but we offer a vast array of other services to assist them in getting back on their feet.
AOTCE: That is incredible. Could you tell us a few of the services your organization provide?
Miasia Pasha: We provide case management for all our clients, housing and budgeting opportunities, clothing bands, and access to other resources in the valley. We also have a family shelter which houses 30 or more families with children.
AOTCE: Are you able to follow up with any of the people in the shelters?
Miasia Pasha: I personally provide motivational sessions once a week for the woman who live at CASS and I do a Xmas party for them and a Mothers day Fashion Show. Because it is an emergency shelter, where people come and go quite frequently and sometimes without warning, our ability to keep up with most of them is difficult. We have a large group recurring of faces that seem to come back often. Since I have been on board for over 28 years, I have personally seen over 30 or more women who I’ve developed relationships with and still stay in contact with after they leave the shelter. I call them my success stories.
I myself was homeless in 1991 after a breakdown and lived in CASS for 5 months. I went from being a guest to the board of directors after finding out that they had no one sitting on the board who had ever been homeless and they had no knowledge of what the homeless needed other than shelter. I am still the boards conscience.
"I wanted to raise them to be proud women, so I had
to go out into the world and find myself first."
In 1991 my first ex-husband died of AIDS. I had a test done and found out that I was HIV positive.
That’s when I had the breakdown and went into doing drugs to try and take my own life because I did
not want to live with the disease, the stigma and the discrimination I would face. My youngest daughter was 16 and had one more year of high school. I was living in LA and she was here with her father in Phoenix. I didn’t wand to move to Phoenix and he refused to come to LA so I had to come here to make sure she graduated and was alright after her father’s death. Moving upset my life so much and I did not want to pick up my pieces and start my life again. Too many demons, six ex-husbands and now HIV! I tried to die but fortunately for me god had me surrounded by angels who told me I was not ready for heaven yet. I have since got free of drugs and renewed my faith and devotion to my god and my family and to this community.
AOTCE: Your nails and shaved head are iconic. Why did you decide to cut your hair and grow your nails?
Miasia Pasha: When I was 32, I shaved my head and began to grow my nails long. It was a huge contrast to anything I had ever done but it was also a freedom I had never felt. I was asked to perform in a play called Queens of the Nile and I found out that I loved being on stage. I moved to Los Angeles in 1981 and my life blossomed. I changed my name in 1983 and became the beautiful queen you see now. I started selling oil and incense, which I did for over 20 years and still do occasionally. I began selling clothing in 1994 which gave me another form of income. But when I started doing fashion shows I hit my mark. I could be on stage and make the whole world smile. Two years ago, I started to make my own tops and called them Snapwraps because you can change your look in a Snap!
AOTCE: Are your Snapwraps available for purchase? Do you have a place or website where they can be purchased?
Miasia Pasha: I do have a room at my home in Scottsdale where supporters can come and shop
until they drop. I also have a Facebook page in the making and I hope to have all of my photos posted on it real soon. It will be called