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The Legacy Of Beauty Transcends 4 Generations


Essie Mae Wynn, Mae Alice Judge and Sakeya Donaldson


     Throughout 4 generations, The Wynn-Judge-Donaldson legacy has grown in the city of Tampa. The legacy of beauty has always been a way of life for this family, breaking barriers and building businesses in the process. In an ever-evolving industry, beauty transcends mere products and trends.  From the pioneering spirit of the first generation to the cutting-edge innovations of the latest, each era has contributed to shaping the landscape of beauty in its own unique way.

      It started with Essie Mae Wynn, one of the first licensed African American female barbers in Tampa. In 1959, Ms. Wynn opened a barber shop on 7th Avenue in historic Ybor City. At that time, she was following her passion, not knowing that she was building the foundation for generations to come.

      The legacy of beauty is about more than just hair and cosmetics; it’s about empowerment, self-expression, and confidence; something that Essie Mae embodied.

      The journey then continued with Mae Alice Judge, her daughter, who started her career as a hairstylist at PaceSetters in 1972 in Tampa Park Plaza, located on Nebraska Ave. under the watchful eye of her mentor and owner of the salon, Lila Johnson.

      After 6 years of honing her skills, Mrs. Judge decided to venture out on her own and become a salon owner.

      In August of 1978, Mrs. Judge opened Total Image Beauty Salon at East Gate Plaza on Hillsborough Ave. In 1984, Mrs. Judge made the bold decision to purchase commercial property instead of continuing to rent. She became one of the first African American women to own a strip plaza in East Tampa, relocating The Total Image Plaza to 40th Street.

      Mrs. Judge became a beauty and fashion icon within the city of Tampa, known for her fabulous hair and over the top fashions.  A long standing member of St. John Progressive Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Dr. Bartholomew Banks, Mrs.Judge became a leader in the community and the go-to stylist for African American women. Total Image Plaza became a fashion and beauty incubator for small African American businesses, with salons and boutiques on site.

      While in her sophomore year in high school, Mona Judge joined her mom in the family business working as a receptionist and shampoo girl at the salon. Upon graduating from King High School, Mona enrolled at Erwin Tech Vocational Schoo,l where she obtained her cosmetology license. In 1983 she became a licensed cosmetologist.

       Over the years Mona and Mae worked side by side traveling the country to attend hair shows and expos. They were the mother and daughter beauty duo up until Mae retired in 2020, due to health conditions.  Mona is now the owner of The Total Image Plaza as the family continues to build its legacy.

      Now great-granddaughter of Mrs. Wynn, Sakeya Donaldson has taken over the reins and leads the charge into a whole new stratosphere with The Science of Beauty STEM Program. Although Sakeya isn’t in the service side of the beauty industry like her predecessors, there is no doubt that their influence is a part of everything that she’s doing. Sakeya started her career in 2003, after graduating from Clark Atlanta University.

       Upon graduation, Sakeya moved to New York City to attended FIT, The Fashion Institute of Technology. She then started her career as a wardrobe stylist in Atlanta. Working with superstar artists like Usher, Nicki Minaj and Zendaya, Donaldson solidified herself as the go-to stylist in the industry. Holding titles like boutique owner, fashion editor, author and on-air fashion correspondent and now founder of The Science of Beauty, Sakeya is poised to expand on the legacy.  Partnering with Spelman College and brands like Proctor & Gamble and Bronner Brothers, the legacy of beauty is now in good hands.

      While their paths differ, the influence of those who came before is evident in everything Sakeya and her predecessors do. From owning boutiques to pioneering STEM programs, the legacy of beauty remains vibrant and relevant, inspiring future generations to come. 

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