Lakeland swimsuit designer Altrichia Cook won a lot of attention in June when Nicki Minaj wore one of her fashions on the cover of Cosmopolitan. She’s enjoying a new round as she became one of Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Businesswomen of the Year and appeared in Essence.
One of 10 TBBJ winners, she was honored in the Under-30 category. Cook, 28, acknowledged in the Essence piece that her overcome-the-odds story has inspired other young women.
She was pregnant when she graduated from Bartow High School but maintained her commitment to enroll at Florida State University as a single mother. After earning a master’s degree in social policy administration from FAMU, she came back to Lakeland as a probation officer.
She opened her fashion business, Allusions by A. LeKay, after people wanted high-waisted, two-piece swimsuits like the one she made for herself to hide pregnancy imperfections. And the business took off after Minaj was photographed for Cosmo.
“I have women email me about how they are so inspired and uplifted by my story of true fearlessness,” she told Essence. “One customer expressed her excitement to wear a two-piece swimsuit again after 20 years.”