PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Whitney Williams was a contestant on “Big Brother” during the summer of 2021. But after that season debut, the local mother of 2 said she had to give up her successful hair and makeup business. Now she’s facing 2 separate court cases.
Williams told KOIN 6 News she is the victim in all of this and also blamed her mental health. A small claims court case claims she ghosted a bride-and-groom and a lawsuit accuses her of breach of contract and fraud and says she owes her would-be business associate tens of thousands of dollars.
In July of last year, Paul Schwarzer said his wife-to-be, Aly, booked Williams’ company Northwest Makeup and Hair to do their wedding. “Right from the get-go, there was very sporadic communication between them and my fiance.”
In August of this year, they filed a small claims case in Multnomah County trying to get their $1800 deposit back. In the court papers Schwarzer and his fiance wrote: May 29, 2022 – Final communication from Whitney Williams and NW Makeup & Hair. Whitney states that …”I spoke with a financial advisor last week and together we came up with a plan to begin making refunds…now I’m trying my best to get approved for a business loan. I went to my bank on Friday and unfortunately I wasn’t approved, but I’ve been speaking with a couple connections who are into investing and private loans, and it really looks like we’ll be able to figure something out…”
“The most frustrating part is obviously the lack of communication,” he told KOIN 6 News. “It’s also extremely frustrating to go on her social media pages and see her out and about around Portland.”
He is talking about social media posts on Instagram and Twitter showing Whitney Williams in Miami, Texas and Los Angeles. She also has an OnlyFans account where subscribers currently pay to see her adult content.
Williams told KOIN 6 News the social media posts in Florida are because she was hired to do promotional work for a car rental company and magazine.
Another customer who asked to not have her identity revealed complained to the Better Business Bureau after losing her $400 deposit for her wedding with Williams’ business.
“Months on end of not hearing from Whitney despite trying to be understanding,” this customer told KOIN 6 News.
KOIN 6 News spoke with Williams to set up a time for an interview. She agreed, but later sent an email that said, in part: “I have been battling with severe mental health issues that started to worsen over a year ago, and I was at a breaking point. Because of this and wanting to spend more time with my children… I decided I needed to take a break from the industry.”
Williams blamed the financial problems on her business associate that she said was taking over the company: “The new ownership did not communicate well with the brides and it has truly been a nightmare for all those involved.”
That business associate, Shannel Reed, recently filed a lawsuit accusing Williams of fraud and seeking $43,885.87 in damages, unpaid work and for money in case clients go after Reed for services that were not performed.
“My client is owed a large sum of money. We understand and sympathize with the brides who Ms. Williams has not reimbursed and we demand that Ms. Williams pay Ms. Reed what she is owed and reimburse the brides she did service for,” said Reed’s attorney, Ted Roe.
In an email, Williams said Reed “decided to no longer buy me out but has kept everything related to my business with a new name. I am still trying my best to make things right, and will continue to make payments toward refunding these clients, but it’s going to take time.”
“She had a great concept for her business in general, which was unique in the sense of empowering women,” the unnamed customer told KOIN 6 News. “And she’s done the exact opposite with bailing on people she committed to.”
That unnamed customer and Schwarzer told KOIN 6 News they blame Whitney Williams, not Shannel Reed, for their situation.
Whitney Williams full statement:
Thank you for your time. As you may know, I spent eight years building my business and was proud to become one of the top 3 rated makeup companies in the state. I joined this industry because of my love of working with women, connecting with them, and helping them to feel beautiful and empowered.
However, I have been battling with severe mental health issues that started to worsen over a year ago, and I was at a breaking point. Because of this and wanting to spend more time with my children (I am a single mother of two), I decided I needed to take a break from the industry. Shannel agreed to take over my business (clientele, booking system, website, contracts, assets, training manuals, lesson supplies, the artists I trained, etc., all that I built) in exchange for 20 percent over one year. I still truly believe this was more than a fair exchange.
My heart absolutely breaks for the brides who have been let down leading up to such a monumental day in their lives. Unfortunately, the new ownership did not communicate well with the brides, and it has truly been a nightmare for all those involved. While I was out of town, Shannel told the clients that she will no longer be taking over my business. She also told them that they would need to cancel their contract with me, and then rebook under her new company and pay her higher prices. She has decided to no longer buy me out but has kept everything related to my business with a new name. I am still trying my best to make things right, and will continue to make payments toward refunding these clients, but it’s going to take time.
I really hope that everyone involved can find resolve and move on with happier times ahead. It has been a dark time for me. My kids are my pride and joy and are why I would like this to be the last I speak about this situation publicly.
I know this is not much of a story, but rest assured, I am working to make things right even though I am no longer the business owner. It is a process, but it is getting done because it is the right thing to do.
Thank you for your time and sincere consideration.