Alumna Finds Home in Oz, Again

For many women and children with unruly, curly hair, Tomasina Boyd Boone ’93 may be revered and considered the wonderful wizard of Oz.

36-ozShe launched an online haircare and beauty company, Afro Puffs (www.afropuffs.com.au), a division of Beauty Named Ltd., after trying for years to find haircare products in her new home in Australia (often referred to as Oz by locals).

“As a black woman, I was struggling to find haircare products that would protect and hydrate my hair,” Boone said. “I found myself importing a lot of things from the states. Then I started thinking that I can’t be the only one.”

Today, her company is supplying haircare products to curly-haired women of a variety of ethnicities who live in all corners of the globe—from London to Malaysia to Brazil.

“What I like best about working in the beauty industry is the ability to make a person smile,” said Boone, a former board member of the Oswego Alumni Association and the 2004 Commencement Eve Torchlight speaker. “I’ll receive messages that will say, ’I have a mixed child and your products and information helped me so much.’ That’s really rewarding. I love that beauty can make people feel happy.”

Before moving to Australia with her husband, Eric Boone, for his work in international law, she was a self-described workaholic as the advertising beauty director at Essence magazine in New York City.

It took her years to adjust to the slower paced lifestyle as a stay-at-home mother of two daughters, Emerie and Talia. But she keeps busy now running her company, serving as president of the parent-teacher organization at her daughters’ school and volunteering at a variety of community and service organizations, including programs with the Aboriginal Australians.

For example, through Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., she helped organize and facilitate a workshop about the parallels in health issues between Australian Aboriginals and Black Americans at a United Nations conference held in Australia for NGO representatives.

“The safe haven that I found in Oswego helped nurture me into the woman I am now,” Boone said. “And I feel like this Oz is the same kind of environment for my girls. I can’t even begin to explain to you how I ended up in a place called Oz twice in my life, but I take comfort in it.”

—Margaret Spillett

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