Derrick Hayes and Pinky Cole at TV One Urban One Honors
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Slaying Self-Care: Pinky Cole Hayes' Journey To Finding Herself Again Months After Giving Birth

In the dynamic world of food and culture, Pinky Cole shines as a beacon of innovation and passion. As a fellow alumna of Clark Atlanta University, she embodies the spirit of our motto, "I'll find a way or make one," with a twist of her own flavorful magic. From her roots at CAU to the bustling streets of Atlanta and beyond, Pinky's journey with Slutty Vegan has been nothing short of electrifying.

Picture this: Homecoming 2018, where the scent of sizzling burgers mingled with the air of celebration. It was here that many of us first encountered Slutty Vegan, then just a humble food truck dishing out plant-based delights. Fast forward to today, and Pinky's brainchild has blossomed into a national sensation, with over 10 brick-and-mortar spots tempting taste buds coast to coast. Her brand isn't just about burgers; it's a movement, a statement that says veganism can be bold, unapologetic, and downright delicious.

Recently, I had the pleasure of catching up with Pinky at the TV One Urban One Honors, where her presence was as magnetic as ever. Among the glitz and glamor of the event, she remained grounded, a testament to her authenticity and humility. As she continues to trailblaze in the culinary world and beyond, Pinky Cole reminds us that with passion and perseverance, anything is possible.

As a proud alumna myself, I understand firsthand the transformative power of the CAU experience—a whirlwind of growth, discovery, and unforgettable moments that shape us for a lifetime. Pinky, too, knows this journey intimately. With a knowing smile, she delved into her own CAU chronicles, revealing the pearls of wisdom she gathered during those illustrious years.

“I learned to find a way or make one.” She continued, “That means in the face of adversity, that means when your back is against the wall, you're going to pick up and find the resources to be able to do what it is that you need to do to get to the next step. So when they teach you that at CAU, it's more than that. You gotta walk it, live it, breathe it. I’ve had so many situations, and I’m like, listen, if I can make it through my college experience, if I can make it through Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, I can make it through life because I've been able to always find a way or make one.”

But Pinky's story isn't just about business; it's about love, family, and the joy of shared dreams. At Essence Fest 2022, amidst the excitement of wrapping up a panel on stage, Pinky's heart swelled as she said "yes" to Derrick Hayes, her partner in life and in business. Together, they've welcomed three beautiful children into their world, with the youngest one joining the family just a few months ago. These little blessings add layers of joy and meaning to their already vibrant lives, creating a tapestry of love and laughter that defines the Cole-Hayes household.

When the spotlight shifted to the topic of self-care, Pinky offered a glimpse into her world, where nurturing her own well-being takes center stage amidst the whirlwind of entrepreneurial pursuits and personal triumphs. “I've been raw vegan since the day that I gave birth. I've been eating all raw fruits and vegetables and I lost 39 pounds. I'm getting fine again. Getting my lashes done, okay, getting my little microblading, okay, cut my hair," she revealed.

"There’s a rejuvenated spirit in me for 2024, and I believe that every woman who goes through the transition of giving birth and going through postpartum should just really find a shift in energy so that they can find themselves again. So, I'm finding me again. I know that I'm a mother, I’m a wife, I’m a girlfriend. I’m dating, okay, I’m a sister also, I gotta come first because if I don't, how can I possibly pour in anybody else's cup.”

There’s a rejuvenated spirit in me for 2024, and I believe that every woman who goes through the transition of giving birth and going through postpartum should just really find a shift in energy so that they can find themselves again. So, I'm finding me again.

We caught up with #PinkyCole as she stunned on the red carpet of #UberOneMusicHonors and she dropped a whole word! Whew! #BlackCouples #FYP #Explore #CAU

As 2024 ushers in a wave of promise and revitalized energy, we couldn't resist tapping into Pinky's infectious optimism, asking her to sum up what she wants 2024 to be in one phrase. “2024 will be mind, body, and spirit. For a long time, I had mind and spirit, okay, so I got a good mind, I got a good spirit, but the body piece– I'm not talking about weight loss. I'm talking about being mindful of the things that I consume and my physical,” she explained.

“When we talk about mind, body, and spirit, that’s the whole package. You think about Angela Bassett, mind, body, and spirit when you think about Viola Davis, mind, body, and spirit. So, now, when you think about Pinky Cole Hayes, you’re going to think about mind, body, and spirit because that is the motto for 2024.”

As Pinky's journey unfolds, she epitomizes the modern-day superhero: a dedicated mom, a culinary trailblazer, and a relentless force for change. Amidst the whirlwind of motherhood, she found herself again, not just as Pinky Cole but as the visionary behind Slutty Vegan and an expanding empire. Her evolution resonates deeply with the balancing act many mothers face—nurturing families while nurturing dreams.

Personally, I find myself inspired by Pinky's ability to leverage her network, community, and social platforms to drive her business forward. She's not just building a brand; she's fostering a movement—one that celebrates inclusivity, innovation, and the boundless possibilities. Her recent expansion into ventures like Bar Vegan and American Sesh signifies not just culinary innovation, but a profound journey of collaboration and empowerment. As she navigates the delicate dance of entrepreneurship and motherhood, Pinky's story serves as a beacon of inspiration for us all.

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Feature image by Derek White/Getty Images for TV One




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