I met with one of my blogger girlfriends the other night for dinner. She’s a bold and eccentric African American trying to ease her way into the fashion world. We recapped on her recent trip to New York Fashion Week which then led into the topic of finding your way into the in-crowd of these industries. As popular as blogging is, it’s a tricky path. Many who attempt fizzle out and few get to live out their blogger dreams. It’s truly an industry where you can’t predict your results.
Before I had my own blog, I obviously followed bloggers I favored. They seemed to be what looked like overnight successes, growing their audiences by thousands overnight and quickly receiving sponsorship opportunities. They all fit a mold, showcasing their messy hair and street style. They had perfect flat-lay photos and could make any plate of food look photogenic. They’d get dressed up every day to take photos of their picture perfect life without bothering to touch on the ugly parts of it. Their captions sounded alike, their writing sounded alike but obviously that’s what people liked. If it works for them, we think it’ll work for us. We mimic what we like about others without even trying because it’s what we’re used to seeing.
I’m only nine months in, but one of my biggest struggles was deciding how much of me I wanted to be with all of you. When I say that I mean, how much of myself I was willing to share. How much of myself was I willing to own? I even had a hard time using Snapchat because I was impartial about people seeing the “real” me, without the poised photos and perfect punctuation. Don’t misunderstand, I adore the real me. I love everything she’s about. However, I was unsure if she would fit into a blogger mold.
You’d think the odds were against me. I’m a multiracial minority, I work a full-time corporate job and I’ll be damned if I put on a pair of heels just to sit on my bed and take a picture of them (talk about unsanitary). I cuss
a lot sometimes and I would never try and convince you that life is a piece of cake served with a cup of coffee that has the perfect latte art. I never wanted to be that kind of blogger. The question was, would I be able to talk about what’s important to me and share that with an audience who would embrace, or better yet appreciate it? Could I succeed without having to change who I was? If you’re reading this it’s proof that I could. When you’re not like them, it’s difficult to believe that there will be a place for you.
I see it all the time. You start a blog and it doesn’t bloom because you sound like everyone else, you dress like everyone else, you copied my webpage design (shade or no shade?) and your content is inauthentic. Let’s be honest, that’s why you were afraid to begin one in the first place right? You were uncertain if you being yourself would be enough for people to care. Your discouragement is a reflection of you wanting someone else’s results.
If you are attempting to find your voice, you’ve already looked too far. You own it already! You don’t have to change how you talk, how you dress, or your guilty pleasures in order to build a brand. You are who you are, embrace that. Walk comfortably in your own shoes. Your individuality is the key to your success and you being you is the only thing that makes you unique. Being me has been proven to work. If you’re needing inspiration, take a look at Shiona Turini and Sophia Amoruso who are always unapologetically them.