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Beauty & Soul Business

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The Sunday Series is published weekly to share inspiring stories about our creative partners.


Ashunta Sheriff and Tippi Shorter met on the road.

Before magazine covers, awards, global brand ambassador titles and thousands of Followers. They have been like sisters ever since they found themselves on tour doing make-up (Ashunta) and hair (Tippi) for the world’s biggest stars and entertainers…Alicia Keys, Rihanna, Lady GaGa, Beyoncé, Jay Z, Sean Puffy Combs, Jennifer Hudson.

But their emotional connection makes me remember why Ashunta and I co-created a TV show around their Celebrity Glam Squad trials and tribulations.

And why that show sold. 

And how that one show launched 5th Street East.

In this 10th episode of The Sunday Series we explore our collective respect for one another as female creatives and entrepreneurs and, most importantly, friends.

In this unreal time of Covid, we check in and get real. 

I am honored and thrilled to go deep – once again – with Celebrity make-up artist Ashunta Sheriff-Kendricks and Celebrity hairstylist Tippi Shorter, who reminisce, laugh, cry and explore the most important issues of today with beauty and soul.

Beauty & Soul Business

Celebrity Hairstylist Tippi Shorter and Celebrity Make-up Artist Ashunta Sheriff get real in Tompkins Square Park, East Village, New York.

Filmed by 5th Street East in 2012 for a TV show co-created and co-produced by Ashunta Sheriff & Anna Cheshire Levitan.


In the years since our collaboration, Ashunta Sheriff moved from New York City to Chicago to work on Empire with her client Taraji P. Henson. They travelled the world together for the show, which wrapped in April due to Covid, as well as worked together on Henson’s award-winning movies such as Hidden Fences. Brand spokesperson as well as creator of her own eponymous beauty line, Ashunta Sheriff Beauty, Ashunta married actor/rapper Corr Kendricks in Summer 2019. They currently live in Chicago with their blended family and cane corso puppy.

Tippi Shorter moved from New York to Kansas City, Missouri, where she transitioned from her primary focus on celebrity hair styling to the corporate side of the billion dollar hair industry. A world expert on textured and curly hair, Tippi became the first African American spokesperson for Pantene, the 1st Global Artistic Director for Textured Hair for Aveda, and in 2019, she joined Mizani-Loreal Professional as Global Artistic Director. She lives in KC with her husband Gabe and their 13 year old daughter Zoe.

The Sunday Interview

Anna Cheshire Levitan: ASHUNTA & TIPPI!!! Welcome to the Sunday Series. I’m taking a screengrab.

Ashunta Sheriff-Kendricks: (laughing) I didn’t put any make-up on so I need as much natural light as possible.

Tippi Shorter: Luckily, you’re a pretty girl!

Anna Cheshire Levitan (Georgia), Tippi Shorter (Missouri), Ashunta Sheriff-Kendricks (Illinois) Zooming for The Sunday Series. 

Reality Check

As experts in the beauty industry, what can we expect in the Era of Covid?

Anna: What’s the industry looking like now that you can’t get close to your clients due to Covid?

Ashunta: The Union just sent guidelines on how we should show up to work. Protective gear will be standard. Producers and talent will rehearse in masks and gloves and maintain distances of six feet. Crews will get smaller. A lot of production jobs won’t be coming back.

“Our crew for Empire was over 450 people. That’s not going to happen for a long time.”

Ashunta Sheriff-Kendricks

Tippi: As an educator for Mizani, I travel to teach curriculum to groups from eight to 200. Right before this struck, my entire calendar was booked for the year. I had also started taking appointments at a really beautiful salon here in Kansas City. Some of my clients are calling to schedule, but I think I’m going to wait.

“If I’m blowing your hair and have to wear gloves, how will I know it’s dry?”

Tippi Shorter

(L) Celebrity Make-up Artist Ashunta Sheriff-Kendricks with her client, actress Taraji P. Henson, for The Hollywood Reporter. Photography by David Needleman.

Celebrity Hair Stylist Tippi Shorter, Global Artistic Director Mizani

Anna: How are you pivoting in this unreal situation?

Tippi: It’s actually been a really great time to pivot because I’ve been wanting to create online curriculum for The Textpert Collective, for the past two or three years. I’m finally getting that chance.

Ashunta: I took Tippi’s Master Class! I felt like I was in Hair University. I finally understand porosity. (Editor’s Note: How hair holds moisture.) I’ve also been teaching a ton of Master Classes and producing beauty tutorial videos.

Tippi: (laughing) I took Ashunta’s make-up class. I’ve been learning from this lady for decades, especially with mascara. When you think have enough, do more.


Anna:  Any soulful revelations during Covid?

Tippi: Let me have a moment of transparency. I’ve been seeing a therapist since the end of January. I was walking around like Oh, everything’s great. My marriage is great. My relationships are great. My husband was like, No, we’ve got some challenges. It totally blindsided me.

Ashunta, do you remember ten or so years ago, I apologized to you?

Ashunta: You know, Tippi, I’ve never forgotten that. I’m so happy we’re talking about this. You and I went to dinner in Harlem for tapas, and I’m thinking I’m seeing my sister – how beautiful! And you start to apologize for judging me harshly. For always making lemonade out of lemons.

Tippi: Makes me cry…

Ashunta: There was a time when I was just like you. No matter what was happening, I was like It’s all good – whether I was going home to be beaten, or not dealing with being molested as a kid, or losing my dad as a child. That’s bullshit. I found an African American female therapist and she’s really helped me a lot.

“I found an African American female therapist through Gabby Sidibe. I realized that these are my scars, but they are also my badges of honor to help me be a testimony to others who might be going through that very thing right now.”


Tippi: One of my major challenges is opening up and sharing. I’ve learned it’s because of my insecurity about me not feeling smart. This is the first time I’m saying it to anyone other than my husband.

“I’ve learned that I don’t have to be the smartest person in the room. One thing I have to remember is that I do have a story and I do have something to say.”


Textured Table Talk, hosted by Tippi Shorter (Right) with guests Ashunta Sheriff-Kendricks (Center) and Nai’vasha Johnson (Left). 

Generation to Generation

Anna: I’m so glad we’re talking about this. I heard a recent piece on NPR that Taraji started a foundation to support mental health and is offering free online support for frontline workers.

Ashunta: Yes, The Boris Henson Foundation, named after her late father, focused on erasing the stigma around mental health issues, particularly in the African American community. Ninety percent of the funds from my master class went to support her efforts.

“This virus makes our larger community see the disparity that we have in this country among black and brown people. People do not believe that a cultural head start gives privilege. That is privilege.” 


Tippi: As African Americans, we have a lot of mental issues in our DNA that we’re not even aware of. We don’t discuss our feelings for fear of being labeled too emotional or weak or unstable. We are taught not to trust.

Ashunta: This has been passed down from generation to generation. The virus is bringing out the disparity we have in this country from mental health to healthcare to food and nutrition.

“Covid is attacking us because of our predisposed illnesses, some of which are caused by generational poverty such as lack of healthcare and our poor diet and nutrition.” 


Journey Forward

Anna: Fast forward Post Covid. As creatives we have a wandering spirit. Where will the journey take you next?

Tippi: Gabe, Zoe and I are planning on downsizing from our 4,000 square foot house to 250 square feet, and hitting the road for a year in a motor home. We’re going to road school Zoe, explore the US and record our travel-related experiences. I’m going to do guest speaking and appearances and hold pop-up events. Gabe’s calling it Browning Around – a terrible name, I know. I’m calling it On The Road. 

Anna: A future TV show in the making! Ashunta, what are your plans for the road ahead?

Ashunta: We, too, are transitioning to LA to work on a new show for my client. Taraji and I are also waiting to hear back any moment on a show we’ve created together so we hope to start working on that as well. Pray for that!

Anna: Always. Ladies, this has been a real honor. I love you both and am so proud of you, for what you are doing and what you will do. Thank you.

Tippi: I feel like I’ve been in therapy with your pen…this has been fun.

Ashunta: Yes. Let’s do this every week!

Vice & Vixen, co-created and co-produced by Ashunta Sheriff and Anna Cheshire Levitan/5th Street East. Sold to WEtv in 2013. This was the first content produced and sold by 5th Street East. In 2014, 5th Street East transitioned to commercial production for lifestyle, hospitality and development. 

Ashunta’s Vision Board

Tippi’s Vision Board


Sunday Short

Short musings worth sharing

Now it’s my turn to get teary-eyed. Today our daughter Hunter turns 23.

Hunter Levitan – 23 Today

And on Wednesday, May 20, Hunter graduates from NYU’s College of Arts and Science, receiving a BA in Journalism and English with a focus on Creative Writing.

I can’t put into words what Hunter means to us because no words exist to celebrate, honor or do her justice.

No stranger to change, challenge and tragedy, Hunter simply transcends.


All the time.

I dedicate this Sunday Series to you, my love.

Happy 23rd Birthday, dearest Hunter.

Happy Graduation, our great Warrior One with Sparkles.

Our Magic Maker. Our Funny Girl.

Our Hope and our Humor.

Always and everywhere, You are our Absolute.

We love you.


To See Hunter’s Sunday Album


The Sunday Series is published weekly by 5th Street East to celebrate, highlight and share inspiring stories about our creative partners and collaborators

Stay Happy

See you soon

5th Street East