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Spotlight On: Sasoneia Atkins

Featured, Influencers, Persons of Interest  /   /  By Nina Louie

Recently, we ducked behind the scenes for a quick conversation with each of the women starring in our new Find Your Perfect campaign. Tune in as we talk closets and careers, makeup and motherhood, and more. 

Sasoneia lives in Golden Valley, Minnesota, with her two teenage daughters and 9-year-old son. On set, it was pretty much impossible to capture Sasoneia unawares. There was no sneaking up on her to get a candid shot—every time she spotted the camera, she gave us huge smiles and glittering eyes. After the shoot, sitting down to talk, we realized that’s just her way. She is lit from within, eloquent and direct, with a gorgeous, generous spirit. We loved that she was just as happy to talk to us about DIY denim and lipstick trends as she was about her commitment to helping homeless families, and how fashion fits into the grand scheme of things. We left feeling inspired on so many levels. Read on to see why.

SS: Where did you grow up?

SA: In Oak Park, Illinois, one of the greatest suburbs outside of Chicago. The neighborhoods were safe. We were able to walk everywhere. It had bike paths, parks we could play in. And the best thing about it was that I made my lifetime friends there. I have the same exact friends that I’ve had since third grade. We still talk to this day.

What brought you to Minnesota?

Peace of mind. It’s a more laid-back environment. I’m sure you’ve read about Chicago, nicknamed Chiraq. As a parent, you want better for your children. I had a safe upbringing, but things changed.

What do you do for a living?

I am a program senior assistant at a homeless shelter, a day center called Families Moving Forward. It’s a 60-day program where we help families try to regain self-sufficiency. If they need to increase their income, we focus on helping them do that so they are able to afford their next place. If they’re looking for a job, we help with that. A lot of people don’t understand: The simplest things can cause you to lose your footing and become homeless. It can just be one thing—something as simple as a car repair that you can’t afford because you’re a single mom, and then you can’t get to work.

What is your day-to-day like?

When the families get there at 7 a.m., I open up the center for them. They’re bused over from the shelter where they sleep at night. We have couches, a kitchen, bathrooms with showers. Once they get in, I’m hugging kids for 10 minutes and then I check in with the parents and see what their days are like. If someone needs a ride to work or day care or school, then I give them a ride.

Oh, wow. You’re like everybody’s mother.

That’s pretty much it. But I wish I could do so much more.

How long have you been doing this kind of work?

I’ve been with this shelter for almost a year, but I’ve done this kind of work for free for most of my life. Helping others is what I really love to do. Years ago, in the ’90s, I worked with my mom—she just retired from doing the same type of work that I do. I enjoyed watching her be a source of inspiration for women. Not even just women—she inspired everyone.

Did your mom influence your style, as well?

To a certain degree, yes, because she always liked to look nice, and she still does. I like to look nice too. I like to wear bright colors. I like to coordinate my colors. I like to accessorize.

What are your favorite colors to wear?

That’s a really hard question. I absolutely love this bluish green color. It looks good on my skin. And orange, and hot pink, and red.

Do you ever wear black?

Yes, but with color. I have some black and orange heels that are super dope. So I’ll wear black jeans and then have my orange top on, my orange shoes on, and an orange jacket.

We noticed you have a ton of great statement heels.

I do. I really love heels. I like either very flat sandals with a bow, or heels. I’ll wear gym shoes in winter, but as soon as spring hits, I want my toes out.

Your earring collection is colorful and fun, too.

I don’t leave the house without earrings. If I do, it’s by mistake, and then I’ll look in the car and hope there’s a pair that I took off. I don’t feel right without them.

Are you into colorful makeup?

No, I’ve never worn any makeup outside of plain black eyeliner and mascara. But I do want to try the new colorful matte lipsticks. I’ve tried blue and purple, but I want to try a bunch of colors that I just saw by Maybelline.

Do you have a signature scent?

I love perfume. Right now, my favorite is Gucci Guilty.

Where do you find fashion inspiration?

I would say that it mostly comes from within, but when I’m trying to find out what’s the latest thing, I go online, because I just don’t consider Minnesota a very fashionable state.

Do you follow the trends?

No, I pretty much do my own thing. Fit is more important—I like my clothes to be form-fitting because I’m already a nice-sized woman. If I got hips, I want you to see them.

Is there one thing you treasure most in your closet?

The things that I cherish the most are my jackets and my jeans. I have a lot of jackets that are really colorful, and a lot of jeans that I’ve made my own. I like to make these beautiful, unique designs by knotting them with rubber bands and then soaking them in bleach. Or I’ll use tweezers to make frayed patches.

Are there any brands that you love?

BCBG always gets me, even when I’m not looking for it. My sister and I have this joke: If I see something I like, 9 times out of 10 it’s BCBG. I also love Levi’s—the curvy fit and the 550 jeans. They fit me so well, and they’re soft.

Is there a certain style?

Right now, I like boyfriend jeans that you just roll up and they’re cute. And destroyed jeans.

What about workout clothes—any favorite brands?

No, just what’s cute. I like print and color. I don’t have to have the most expensive thing or equate my worth with the price. I don’t have a problem with people that do, but that’s just an extra stress in life that’s not necessary. I’m a mom, I have to do things for my kids, so I can’t spend extra money on brands.

How important is it for you to get a deal?

Very important. To the point where if I miss a sale, I won’t go back and buy full price. I’ll be very upset, but I won’t go back.

Do you use eBay to find deals?

I do. In fact, I want to check my mail because I ordered a really beautiful dress that has shipped. The price was amazing. I paid $50 for it in a store. Then I found it in a different color—a really pretty purple that I never wear—for $8 on eBay.

That’s amazing. That’s what it’s all about.

I just know it’s cute, and when I put it on, it’s going to look beautiful.

To meet more of the amazing real women featured in our Find Your Perfect campaign, click here.

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  1. Darla September 9, 2016 at 8:49 AM

    Thanks so much for sharing a little bit of your story and style- you are beautiful and your shine is brilliant!

  2. Sasoneia C Atkins September 15, 2016 at 2:55 AM

    Awwwww Thank you so much Darla. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to share how I find “my perfect.”

  3. M. Ann Pritchard September 15, 2016 at 9:05 AM

    You are such an inspiration and I am so proud of you, Sasoneia! You are so beautiful inside and out!

  4. Tasha September 18, 2016 at 12:45 AM

    Wow, I really enjoyed reading this article and you sharing your insight on fashion but most of all the outreach for the community……..may God continue to show himself through you. Your fellow Chicagoian. 🙂

  5. Deon Love September 21, 2016 at 8:54 AM

    Sasoneia congratulations on your success. I think it’s great that you are out here helping others to get their feet back under them. If everyone thought like you and the wonderful person that inspired you (Your mom) this world would be a beautiful place. You really did your thing and represented not only your family very very well. But us coming from Oak Park. Seeing success in a lot of us coming from Oak Park is so very comforting. I’m proud to know you all and see the success. I know your family is very proud of you. Keep up the great work.

  6. YD September 22, 2016 at 5:41 AM

    Thank you Sasoneia for you article I really enjoyed reading it, you are so much of an inspiration please keep up the good work

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