For Women’s History Month 2023, The Shade Room’s “She’s A Trailblazer” series celebrates women who have shattered glass ceilings and made groundbreaking contributions to creative lanes across social media. Join us to celebrate these inspiring trailblazers who empower future generations.
Bridgid Coulter Cheadle may be the longtime partner of actor Don Cheadle, but she’s far from your average “trophy wife.”
The 54-year-old – who married Cheadle in 2021 after a 28-year engagement – has never wrested on her husband’s laurels, and instead has paved her own way as a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist, breaking through the corporate world’s glass ceiling as a woman of color while paving the way and creating safe spaces for Black women to thrive in their professional endeavors.
Clearing The Path For African American Interior Designers And Breaking Through Career Obstacles
In an industry where Black representation is still lacking, Cheadle has emerged as a true trailblazer. According to a 2019 report from Architectural Digest, Black designers make up less than two percent of the American Society of Interior Designers’ membership.
But Cheadle’s story is different. She completed the highly-regarded post-graduate Arch_ID Interior Design Program at UCLA, gaining a deeper understanding of design complexities.
As she shared in a 2021 profile with Shout Out LA, one of her favorite affirmations is “Be bold and trust your instincts.” This mindset has served her well in paving the way for more Black interior designers and smashing through glass ceilings.
“An inquisitive, imaginative, and socially conscious woman who is a mother, wife, philanthropist, advocate, and successful entrepreneur.”
Can you provide a statement from Cheadle about what she does:
“I consider myself a curious and creative person who’s passionate about making a positive impact in the world. As a dreamer, activist, mother, wife, philanthropist, advocate, and serial entrepreneur, I’m involved in a range of different ventures. Specifically, I manage multiple businesses including my own interior design firm, where I’m both the owner and principal designer. I’m also a co-founder of Home+Maker, which is a boutique real estate developer. In addition to these roles, I’m the founder and CEO of Blackbird Collective, which is a community that aims to promote work and wellness among women of color and allies, with the ultimate goal of creating meaningful change in our society.”
After starting her career as an actress, Cheadle eventually left Hollywood following projects that she felt were impactful and featured great artists, which helped her discover her own artistic potential.
As a designer, Cheadle quickly developed her own unique style, which she describes as a blend of global, collected, and modern zen elements.
After finishing graduate school, where she was encouraged by her interior design professors to explore holistic building concepts, Cheadle ventured into real estate development. She bought a small remodel project in Venice and successfully built and decorated the house herself.
Cheadle treats each of her ventures as a form of artistic expression, paying meticulous attention to detail. For her textile collections, she draws inspiration from her travels and the natural world, creating original designs through sketching, painting, and pattern-making.
We aim to create a co-working space solely for Black women as our way of giving back to the community
But Cheadle’s impact goes beyond her personal and creative journey.
In 2019, she founded the Blackbird Collective – a co-working space designed for ambitious women of color, centered around productivity, wellness, activism, and community-building.
— blackbird Collective (@blackbird_house) December 9, 2022
RELATED: She’s A Trailblazer: Meet Kelsey Ashley, The Stylist Behind Jayda Cheaves’ 2023 NYFW Slay
“The mastermind behind Blackbird Collective, Kelsey Ashley, attributes her uniquely equipped ability to create this impact-driven community space at the present moment to her diverse range of experiences.”
Blackbird Collective is a vibrant physical and online hub for professional women of color and allies, providing a safe space to connect, share ideas, and speak authentically. Cheadle, the founder, is a proud mother of two who, like many working women, strives to balance family and career.