When your biggest failure becomes your greatest triumph

Meet Claudia Van Schalkwyk, successful business owner of Urban Beauty and founder and owner of the Urban Beauty Academy in Kuils River.


At a very young age Claudia and her family moved from Mitchell’s plain to Kuils River. Their father who was a taxi owner at the time, thought it was best for them to move because it wasn’t very safe to raise 4 young girls there.

The move wasn’t easy for Claudia because it was in a time when apartheid was still very rife. At that time, the railway line divided Kuils river into the two areas, the “coloured area” and the “white area”.

It was an adjustment for her because they were the first coloured family to move into Jacaranda street in Kuils river. And on top of all that she now had to attend De Kuilen High School who was a predominantly white school at the time.

Just imagine what it would have felt like being the only person of colour on school.

I cannot even begin to comprehend how much fear was going on inside of her but she was a woman of great strength and she kept on going. She decided to make a statement and took both English and Afrikaans as a first language. At that time if you took both languages as first languages you were thought of as clever.

In 1995, Claudia was matric and by now she has made a bit of a name for herself already. She was chosen to be a cheerleader at the interschool athletics and was chosen to be Miss Personality. She became very popular amongst her peers but it quickly dawned upon her that it was time to decide what she wanted to do with her life and reality started kicking in.

In that same year Claudia’s sister the Late Leony Sonja De wee opened up a hairdresser in her parents garage. Of course, Claudia jumped at the opportunity to help out because it meant she would get some extra money and she became the shampoo girl.


One day after washing one of the clients hair it dawned upon her that our eyebrows actually shape our face’s beautifully. Being the enthusiastic young women that she is, she started asking Leony’s clients if she could shape and clean their eyebrows for them. And just like that Claudia discovered her passion for beauty.

As the matric year slowly drew to an end, she started researching how much it would cost to go to beauty school and soon realised that her parents wouldn’t be able to afford it.

In 1995 the beauty industry was very expensive and not to mention that it was also predominantly white. She knew that there was no way she was going to beauty school but she didn’t let that stop her from getting what she wanted.

So we went to work at Spur in Kuils River. By that time she already started alienating herself from all of her friends, because she was too embarrassed to say that she couldn’t afford to go to college.

As time went by, Leony’s business started booming and because she had a good clientele it worked to Claudia’s advantage. So she started charging each client R5 to have their eyebrows done.

Claudia was determined to become a beauty therapist. She decided to do online courses on beauty and read day in and day out about beauty on the internet and in magazines. And on Saturday’s she tried out everything she learnt that week on her clients.

She quickly became very good at what she was doing so her late Dad built on a little beauty room for her inside her sister Leony’s salon.

Claudia became so hungry to experience the beauty industry so she decided to spread her wings and wanted to see what it would feel like to work in the “urban city”.

She went for her first interview and nailed it the first time round.

Knowing that she didn’t have a qualification in beauty at that time, she was determined to prove to the Salon Manager to let her do a treatment on one of the clients just to prove her worth and just like that she landed the job.

Getting an opportunity to work at a salon like this made her even more determined to become the top beauty therapist in the salon. She soon became the top therapist and then managed the salon for 5 years after that.

This was when she discovered her deep desire to open up her very own salon and she did so in Gardens, Cape Town. She named it, Bella Nova.

Claudia’s salon did so well that she was able to employ 4 permanent staff members within 3 months of her opening her business.

Sadly, due to fame and fortune, the wrong friends, drugs and alcohol, she lost her business.

Everything single thing that she had worked so hard for including the values her parents instilled in her went down the drain with it.

Angry and frustrated with herself for the decisions she has made in her life, she refused to accept the loss.

She was now more than ever, determined to start her business from scratch again.

So, she swallowed her pride and started taking on clients from home and soon started working from her home in town. Luckily for Claudia she had a good clientele and she was able to start over all over again.

She then decided to open up a beauty spa in the Waterfront and that is where she gave birth to the idea of opening up an academy and that was when she decided to move back home, back to Kuils River.

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Claudia with her students at the academy


This is Bridgette Van Rooyen, PR and Marketing Manager of Urban Beauty. She is Claudia’s sister.

Claudia Van Schalkwyk is a phenomenal woman. Her passion, drive and determination paved the way to help other young women who can’t afford to study beauty.

This women is not only saved, but she loves the Lord with all of her heart. She gives all the glory to God because were it not for him she would not be the person she is today. His grace and mercy carried her through all of her failures and successes in her life and for that she is entirely grateful.

Claudia would like to thank her husband, Emile Van Schalkwyk who has been with her for the past 21 years. He has literally been with her through all the highs and all the lows throughout her career. He is also her own personal handy man who builds all of her décor for her business from scratch. Claudia says she feels so blessed. She would also like to thank her 2 children for always giving her so much love and support and for always having so much patience with her.


This woman has proven that your circumstances do not define who you are.

In her lifetime, she has discovered that you are the maker and creator of your own destiny and it is up to you what you are going to do with it.

I hope that Claudia’s story inspires you today because if she can do it, then so can you.

Stay true to yourself


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Finding happiness

For the longest time I thought finding true happiness meant having a significant other in my life that will eventually make me happy.

And boy was I wrong.  I literally had to bump my head a few thousand times in my life before I realised that true happiness can only come from within.

I cannot depend on or expect someone else to make me happy because true happiness begins and ends with me and only me.

Many people don’t realise this, so they jump from one relationship to the next, trying to find that one thing everyone is searching for called happiness.

Happiness to me is not just a feeling, it is a choice.

It is a state of mind and you are in control of it.

You choose to be happy.  You choose to be sad.  Only you can choose to be negative or positive in your life and no one else can make that choice for you but you.

So stop looking for happiness on the outside and start looking for it within.  After all that’s where all our emotions begin.

Stay true to yourself.






Outfit details:

Shoes:  Vintage Mr Price

Dress, Bodysuit & Belt:  The Fix

Photography done by Radcliffe Roelse and Courtney Roelse from Roelse Events

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Have an attitude of gratitude

How many of us are actually grateful for what we have in our lives?

How can we expect more, if we don’t appreciate the things we already have?

This past month I have really focused on having a attitude of gratitude and it has truly changed my life.

Every morning instead of checking my phone, I start my day off by just saying thank you.

Thank you for this new day. Thank you that I am alive, healthy and mobile. Thank you for all the opportunities that I have received and thank you for all the opportunities that is still coming my way this day. Thank you for my beautiful daughter, thank you that I am loved and thank you that I am so blessed.

Doing this every morning has helped me find joy again and it helped me realise how blessed I really am.

You see, I came to a point in my life, where I lost everything I worked so hard to achieve in my life and I had to start rebuilding everything from scratch. Why? Because I am not someone that hangs onto material things. I let it go because I believe you have to get rid of the old to make way for the new.

I trusted God fully throughout the process and He carried me through.

Don’t wait until you lose everything to become grateful. Choose to become more grateful everyday and if you do, you will start seeing the blessings come your way.

Stay true yourself.






Outfit details:

Shoes, belt & glasses: The Fix

2 piece set: Designed by Peyton Cole purchased through Luscious by Lauren

Photography done by Radcliffe Roelse and Courtney Roelse from Roelse Events

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Don’t compare, be unique

There are so many women out there, who wake up every morning and look at themselves in the mirror feeling shy and ashamed of the way they look.

When they go out, they are constantly comparing themselves with their girlfriends or the people they meet and eventually they start feeling insecure.

Every time they go out, they have less fun and become more withdrawn because they are so focused on trying to be like someone else.

Many people don’t realise that by continuously comparing themselves to other people, they are breaking themselves down.  And by doing that they open up feelings of self-doubt, insecurity, low self-esteem and lack of self confidence.

Nobody should feel that way about themselves because we are all beautiful!

Stop comparing yourself to someone else.  Instead find things about yourself that you love and celebrate them.

We were all created to be different and it is that very thing that makes us so special and unique.

One thing that I have realised on my journey to self discovery, is that if I don’t like something about myself, only I have the power to change it.

Stay true to yourself.










Photography done by Radcliffe Roelse and Courtney Roelse from Roelse Events

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Give yourself a lift

Look around and tell me how many women you see around you wearing the correct size bra?

For many women a bra is just a bra. Something they wear underneath their clothes to hold everything together.

Unfortunately that is where most women make their mistake.

A bra isn’t just a bra. If you wear the correct size bra it can make a huge difference. You appear to be more slimmer, you feel more confident and most importantly you feel more comfortable.

I am sure that many women can relate when I say that there is nothing more uncomfortable, than a bra that is too tight or too loose on your body. Not only is it a huge distraction but it becomes an irritation throughout the day if you have to keep adjusting it all the time.

If your breasts are sagging down to your stomach and you are wearing a bra, that is usually a sign that your bra is too big. And if your breasts are popping out on the sides or on the top, then this means your bra is too small.

If you don’t know your bra size, go to your nearest underwear department and ask them to measure your bust. Don’t be afraid to ask, they won’t bite. They are there to assist you.

Stay true to yourself.










Photography done by Radcliffe Roelse and Courtney Roelse from Roelse Events

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We don’t compete, we empower!

When are people going to learn that their purpose in life, is not a competition?

We all have our own gifts and talents, so there really is no need for us to compete.

When I see my friends flourish, I am genuinely happy for them.

I appreciate the fact that they always keep me on my toes and make me hungry to want more out of life.

Without them even knowing it, they challenge me to set the bar higher for myself each and every year.  They help me see and believe that all things are possible.

It feels so good not to compete against each other! And it feels even better when we work together!


Instead of tearing each other down, we choose to lift each other up.  If we can do this, then so can you.

Stay true to yourself.









Outfit Details:


Bodysuit and Skirt:  Mr Price

Shoes:  The Fix


Boots:  Luscious by Lauren

Dress:  The Closet Sa

Earrings:  Lovisa

Photography done by Radcliffe Roelse and Courtney Roelse from Roelse Events

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Be grateful for what you have because it can be taken away from you in an instant

As parents we can’t always give our children everything.

In my house, money most definitely doesn’t grow on trees.  And at times it’s not always easy to decide what is important and what is not, but the decisions have to be made.

There are many parents out there who are single and don’t receive support from the other parent.  These parents are forced to do things on their own not because they want to but because that is the situation they find themselves in.

There are some household’s where there is only one parent working and in others there are none.  This is the reality we as parents live in today.

We all want what’s best for our children but we can’t always give them everything they want.  It’s hard to admit it but it’s the truth.

That’s why it’s so important to teach our children values.  Things that they can use as guidelines when they get older.

We should teach them not to look down others because just because they don’t have and that having gratitude is everything.

It is so important to be grateful for the things you have because in an instant it can be taken away from you.  So many times things like death, divorce, separation, an accident, a loss of a job, retrenchment etc. can change people’s lives in an instant.  They didn’t ask for it to happen, it just happened.

If I look at my own life, my daughter and I had everything and in an instant all that was taken away.  And not because we asked for it but because of circumstances that was out of our control.

There are so many children out there who’s parents are able to give them everything and because of this they develop a brat mentality.

They look down on others and start calling them out for not having things.  Things don’t make a person but having a good heart does.

Know that just because you don’t have the same things others do doesn’t make you less than a human being.  You are worth more than material things.

Material things don’t define who you are, but the way you treat others will define the person you will become.

Stay true to yourself.








Outfit Details:

Shoes & Bag: Foschini

Shorts & Top:  The Fix

Choker & Sunglasses:  Luscious by Lauren

Jewellery:  Lovisa

Photography done by Radcliffe Roelse and Courtney Roelse From Roelse Events

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Name them and shame them

I am sick and tired of being sick and tired of men leaving comments like this on my page.

Can you believe this comment was made under a status of me checking into gym.

What goes through one’s mind to write such nasty comments on someone else’s page?

And to top it all off we are not even friends.

This boy probably thought I was just going to delete the comment and move on.  Little did he know that I was going to use him as an example of how women are objectified by boys like him.

And I say boys because real men don’t make comments like this.  Only boys do.

We as women are subjected to messages like this on a daily basis.  Some keep quiet and move on and others like me make example’s out of them.

I refuse to be made to feel unworthy!  I am more than worthy!  My worth is not defined by someone else’s perception or opinion of me.

My worth is defined by me and me alone and I will not allow anyone to come on my path and make me feel otherwise.

On a daily basis we as women receive comments like, “you are fat”, “you are ugly”, “you think you are pretty but you are not” and my all time favourite, “you think you are cool but you are not”.

Why do we allow other people’s opinion’s of us to be greater than our own?

Well, enough is enough.  Today I am standing up and speaking out and I am asking every women who has been objectified and subjected to this kind of behaviour to speak up too.

Name and shame anyone who makes comments like this on your page or on messenger that think’s they can get away with it.

Maybe in this way they will start to keep their opinions to themselves instead of hiding behind their phones and computer screens trying to make others feel unworthy.

Stay true to yourself.


My journey to self discovery

For many years I found myself slipping away.

Each year that went by I felt like I was losing more and more of who I was.

There were many days I would look in the mirror and I wouldn’t recognise the reflection staring back at me.  Slowly but surely, I was becoming a prisoner of my own thoughts.

Each day that went by I saw myself falling into a pit of self destruction and soon realised that if I was in that pit for too long, there would come a day that I wouldn’t be able to get out of it.

I was losing myself, to myself.

You see, when you have lost your self worth, you no longer see your true worth anymore.

You don’t see what other’s see.  All you see is what your mind keeps telling you to see.

I will never forget that day I bought the book called Destiny, stepping into purpose by TD Jakes.  This book changed my life.

It helped me find my true self, my self worth and my destiny.

It gave me a new outlook on life.  It made me hopeful and expectant and it helped me find true happiness within again.

You see, we all go through bad days and even bad years sometimes, but what I’ve learned is that it’s all part of one’s journey to self discovery.

Your greatest strength lies in your greatest struggle.

Hold on, don’t give up because things change and get’s better with time.

Stay true to yourself.






Outfit Details:

Boots & Sunglasses:  Luscious by Lauren

Bodysuit:  Choice Clothing

Earrings & Ring:  Lovisa

Photography done by Radcliffe Roelse & Courtney Roelse from Roelse Events

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You are worth it!

Have you ever allowed someone to make you feel unworthy?

You love him, so no matter what he says or does to you, you keep quiet.

At night when everyone is asleep, you lay there next to him while the tears are streaming down your face.

And in the morning you get up and put on that fake smile just so that you can make it throughout the day.

You pretend in front of the world that you are happy, when in fact deep down inside your soul is crying out for help.

You can’t take the pain inside anymore but you stay anyway.

In your eyes you have suffered enough but you choose comfort over sanity because if you leave what are you going to do and where are you going to go?

Every women deserves a certain amount of respect.

She deserves to be loved,  just like man does.

She deserves to feel like she is worthy.  She deserves to feel like she is good enough.

A women should never be put down, discouraged, disrespected or hit by a man.  A women should also never allow a man to make her feel small or minute.

Every women should be appreciated by the man she loves because guess what, love is a two way street and if you don’t treat her right, why are you still there?

If a man doesn’t treat you right then why are you wasting your time and energy on him?  Leave, there is someone out there who will treat you right.

Stay true to yourself.






Outfit Details:

Shoes:  Legit

Skirt, Bodysuit & Belt:  The Fix

Earrings:  Lovisa

Sunglasses:  Luscious By Lauren

Photography done by Radcliffe Roelse and Courtney Roelse from Roelse Events

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