Meander through South Park’s historic 30th & Fern building complex, and Angelica B Beauty’s wellness studio is certain to stop you in your tracks—not just because of the chic-as-can-be space built out by Whiskered Grain, but because of the wall of affirmations owner Angelica Sele proudly displays for all to see: “I am more than my body,”“Perfectly imperfect,”“Equal pay,”“Tough and untamed,” and many more.
Sele’s put thought behind each of these bold one-liners. For example: “Pussy power.” She explains, “That used to be a word I would never say, but there’s power in our bodies. We create life. What we try to do here is spin it and look at it differently.” Altogether, the declarations sum up the premise of her business concept, which is an operating shrine to female empowerment through the products and services provided.
There are five treatment rooms for customized facials, waxing, spray tans, and lash services for customers with all different skin types and in all stages of life. That’s in addition to a carefully vetted selection of skin care, sexual wellness, and makeup products lining the walls.
Sele, a Chula Vista native, wound up in the beauty industry by working at Sephora, where she climbed the ranks from floor employee to corporate staffer. By 2011, she yearned to be her own boss. So she went out on her own and opened a waxing salon in the back of a hair salon in North Park.
“My parents are immigrants,” Sele explains. “To them, success would have been getting a job with the city, something consistent with benefits. I was just never that girl. I was never groomed or encouraged to be a business owner. For some reason, I thought with all my experience in the beauty world, I could make it more intimate and less intimidating. I never thought it would be this big.”
She developed a loyal clientele out of that humble waxing salon and raised enough capital to open a shop that’s truly her own, hanging her Angelica B Beauty shingle in South Park late last year. And she’s been expanding her business ever since.
Sele even knocked down a wall to grow her retail component, namely for green makeup products from Ilia Beauty, Kosas Cosmetics, Ecobrow, and Clove + Hallow. But that just grazes the surface of her catalog. Beyond the wall of affirmations, another head-turner in the shop is a collection of sexual wellness products, including vibrators.
“As women, we have the right to enjoy our bodies. We are not just meant to create life—which is also amazing if that’s what the woman chooses,” says Sele, a mother herself. “I want to give women the ability to enjoy and learn about their magical bodies. I want women to teach their partners what makes them tick. There is power in that.”
It all goes back to her mission to instill strength and confidence in women. Now, she has her own space to do it.
“I am just a girl from Chula Vista that always went against the grain,” she says. “When I was young I was shamed for that curiosity. Now, I have come into my own. I’ve learned that there is strength in that curiosity, and it’s a way for me to help my fellow women and daughters.”