Cincinnati woman uses life-changing diagnosis to launch thriving business

CINCINNATI (WXIX) – An Over-the-Rhine business owner took her cancer diagnosis to launch a thriving beauty studio while helping others.

If you want an appointment at Brow OTR on West Court Street it may take you a month or two to get a spot.

Honor Hook, who owns the studio specializing in Microblading, says business has been booming since she opened three years ago.

The path to opening her own business in OTR was not a path she envisioned for herself years ago.

Hook has always had a love for the beauty industry. She moved from Cincinnati to New York when she was 17 to pursue a modeling career, but soon learned she wanted more.

“I discovered I didn’t really love modeling because it really wasn’t about the person, the woman,” Hook explained. “It was more about the superficial aesthetic and I wanted to do more in the entertainment field.”

So, she packed up and moved to Chicago to study comedy and improv trying her hand at standup. She even landed a gig at the Apollo Theater.

“For seven years, I was doing standup and also working in the beauty industry by day,” recalled Hook. “Doing standup comedy by night.”

Her career was taking off; landing a TV contract for a female comedy show called “Shelarious.”

It all came to a sudden halt after Hook was diagnosed with cervical cancer.

“Something that you don’t expect to happen to you when you’re thriving as a 30-year-old person,” said Hook. “I definitely had stars in my eyes. I wanted that. I had a lot of dreams. I had a lot of goals. I was doing really well in my stand-up career. I had been featured on television and [cancer] stops your life cold.”

To focus on her health, Hook moved back home to Cincinnati to be with family, undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.

Eventually, she returned to her roots in the beauty industry after losing her eyebrows to cancer treatments.

She perfected the art of Microblading, turning it into a new career.

Deciding to take on a new risk, she opened Brow OTR but hasn’t stopped there.

Hook recently landed a commercial spot for the new face of Olay.

“If there’s anything you can learn from life, it’s not to be set in your plans because your plans can change at any moment and the carpet can be pulled out from under you,” Hook said.

Through the ups and downs, triumphs and defeats, Hook says she feels like she’s right where she’s supposed to be.

“I absolutely love coming into this space,” Hook said. “I love my clients so much. It’s more than just offering a great service. You’re offering a connection, you are offering an experience, and I think that’s what makes a successful business, so that excites me.”

Hook says her secret to success is not being afraid to be a bit reckless and taking a risk.

She says to allow yourself to be driven by your passion, not your fear.

This story is part of a weekly segment called Breaking Through.

FOX19 NOW will be highlighting those who are stepping forward to pave the way for a better future.

If you know a woman making a difference in the community, whether it’s a business, teaching, or volunteering, we want to hear from you.

Call 513-421-1919 or send an email to [email protected] with “Breaking Through” in the subject line.

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