Sunday, July 14, 2024

Hair apparent


Onetime Miss Nevada Alesia Prentiss, owner of Tonsure Hair.

Las Vegas native Alesia Prentiss recently opened her own business, Tonsure Hair Boutique, located at 2600 W. Sahara Ave. The onetime Miss Nevada, who was named Miss Congeniality in the 1992 Miss USA Pageant, has had an enviable journey as an entertainer and entrepreneur: She portrayed Cleopatra at Caesars Palace, has written a children’s book and designed greeting cards. Today, she shares her thoughts about her newest role: a force to be reckoned with in the world of hair care.

How long have you been in business?

I have been in business for three years, and opened my Tonsure Hair Supply Store on April 1. We had a little showroom at an office building before I opened up my current storefront business. It was a little office unit in a complex where you rent space and receive phone service and other amenities to save money. I really used the space to store hair that I was selling online and delivering to select customers and salons.

What inspired you to go into the hairsupply business?

I have been wearing hair my whole life. But about four years ago, I was ordering hair online and I got really bad customer service. When I got off the phone, I was in total shock. I said, “I am going to start my own hair business.” I decided to be a competitor, and that is what I did. I was paying a lot of money for my hair and the level of customer service that I received from that company was very upsetting to me.

Who influenced you to go into business for yourself?

I never really liked working for other people. I had a lot of ideas and I am a very creative person, and it was just natural for me to start my own business. I sell my own brand of Tonsure Hair around the world with my website,, as well as at our new storefront. Our storefront is doing great business locally and I take pride in the fact that we sell a quality hair product. I personally test the hair that we sell to make sure that it is quality. This business is really hard to break into and position yourself to sell other hair brands that are out there. It’s kind of hard to get into the game.

What kind of hair do you sell?

We only sell all-human hair that is virgin. I do have it dyed by the manufacturer, and customers can also dye the hair themselves. I carry Indian, Malaysian, Peruvian and Brazilian hair.

What is the biggest misconception about women who wear hair weaves?

Speaking on behalf of African-American women, wearing hair extensions is not hard; it is easy. Our hair is so delicate. For example, I have hair that is really healthy, but I wear hair extensions because it protects my natural hair, especially living here in Vegas. We sometimes do more damage to our natural hair in trying to maintain it with relaxers and other chemical processes than we would if we pulled it back and wore hair extensions or hair weaves. Hair extensions are easy, and if you are going to beat anything to death, it’s better that you beat hair extensions rather than your own natural hair. You can replace it — and it’s hard to replace your own hair.

What are some of the different types of hair applications your store offers?

We have a lot of different applications. I used to personally sew in a hair weave, before I opened my own business. Currently, I do the clip-on hair extensions, I-Tips Clip-ons, West Hair, so I either clip hair on and I also use U-part wigs. There are a lot of girls who are making them, and there are a lot of YouTube videos on how to make your own. So I have made a line of them with clips, and you can clip them into your hair. Hair does grow underneath the U-part wigs with an extension clip on. You can either braid your hair, or pull it back in a ponytail and apply the extension clip-ons.

Alesia Prentiss, right, joined by sister Sharon Harvey, left, and niece Chianti Prentiss.

How did you come up with the name of your business?

I got the name from the movie “Good Hair” starring Chris Rock. I was struggling with trying to find a name for my business and had a list of 50 names, but I really wasn’t excited about any of them. I asked the universe to please help me find a name, and the next morning I rented the movie … and when Chris Rock went to India in the movie, he talked about the Indian ritual where the women sacrificed their hair for religious beliefs. This method is called tonsuring, so I knew that would be a great name for my business.

What is your projected growth for your business?

I am so excited to see how we do with the new store. My sister and niece are currently helping me with the store and it is going really well. My plan is to have Tonsure Hair Stores in malls in major cities across the country. I hope to soon have a storefront in our local Fashion Show mall and expand from there. Also, I would love to service celebrities. I look forward to offering specials to a key celebrity clientele.

What is your advice to other young people in Las Vegas who are unsure about their opportunities for success?

If you have a dream and it’s something that you feel you can really do, then you should pursue it. A lot of times if you share your dreams with people, they try to put it down and tell you that you can’t do it. You can’t always put your dreams out there. You have to just know that it is inside you and shoot for it every day.

For additional information about Tonsure Hair call 702-754-4247 or go online to

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