African American History Month: Loudoun’s Own Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures is an extraordinary movie that spotlights the untold story of three educated African American women working at NASA. These ladies were behind one of the most historical space launches with astronaut John Glenn. During their era, African Americans, especially African American women were not openly acknowledged for their contributions to the NASA’s Space program. My name is Ayesha Pough and while watching the movie, I was very inspired by how these remarkable women empowered each other. It was during this moment that I decided to spotlight the Hidden Figures within my own community. Pastor Michelle C. Thomas, Danyel Trammell, and Nikki Mc Nutt-Thiem and their daughters. These ladies have various backgrounds and like the movie, they are educated African American women who also happen to be local to Loudoun County.

Pastor Michelle C. Thomas and Anna Thomas

There’s no glass ceiling that Pastor Michelle C. Thomas can’t crack.  After graduating Magna Cum Laude from the prestigious Duke University School of Engineering in 1994, she shattered the corporate glass ceiling and started her own IT Consulting Firm, moving from IBM employee to partner. Retiring at the age of 27, she transitioned to her life’s work in ministry becoming the first African American woman to establish a church in Loudon County, Virginia (Holy & Whole Life Changing Ministries Int’l). In 2012 Pastor Michelle  joined the exclusive ranks of select pastors nationwide, chosen to give the invocation for President Barak Obama on the historic re-election campaign tour. Carefully watching her mother’s every move and diligently recording her lists of firsts, is her 8-year-old daughter, Anna J. Thomas, the aspiring actress, community activist, and you tube talk show host.

Danyel Trammell and Skylar Raiyn

Danyel is the CEO of Hair I Come, mobile hair care services. With a business degree in Government Contracts and Acquisitions, she leaped from her corporate career to hone in on her passion; healthy hair. With a successful business under her belt, Danyel has used her experiences to nurture and guide her daughter, Skylar Raiyn with her own business, Sew Fly Sky. Skylar is a brilliant seamstress with a passion for fashion. Her developing clothing line is just the beginning of her mark on this world. Skylar also made her outfit for this photoshoot as well.  

Nikki McNutt-Thiem and Bella

Nikki McNutt-Thiem has been in the fitness industry for more than a decade, when she stepped out of her packed classes in big box gyms to start her own small business, Full Out Fitness in Sterling Va, specializing in group fitness. Her 11yr old daughter Bella also has the entrepreneur gene with her custom silk scarf business, 1 Small Piece which supports her autism therapies.

Myra Downey-Myra Downey Photography

Myra Downey is the owner of Myra Downey Photography. She believes in using her lens to capture feelings and emotions not just pictures. Because she wears many hats such as wife, mother and a full time employee with the County of Loudoun, she understands the importance of not only connecting with her clients, but capturing those unforgettable memories. Myra can be contacted at and through her website at

Ayesha Pough- Professional Certified Makeup Artist, Creative Director

Ayesha Pough is a licensed master cosmetologist and certified makeup artist whose currently on the rise. With a MSCE in Guidance and Counseling and formerly working within the school systems, Ayesha’s heart to serve and make women feel and look beautiful led her to become an entrepreneur. She is the owner of AMP’D Hair and Makeup LLC, mobile styling company. Ayesha cultivated her skills as a makeup artist with M.A.C cosmetics as well as learning new techniques from celebrity makeup artist. This has given her the opportunity to work with the everyday woman, brides, host classes, do photoshoots, video shoots, become published and recently become nominated and won Runner Up  for The Best Of Loudoun Awards. It is her desire to continue to build her brand, and help empower women in her community. Ayesha’s can be contacted at . Ayesha’s work can be seen on Facebook at AMPD Hair and Makeup, LLC and Instagram @ampdflywife.