It’s amazing how time flies. Ten years ago, I was living at home with my mom bored as all hell watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s for the 70746289th time. I was a broke college student but I loved creeping on a few blogs (namely Afrobella, Clumps of Mascara, and Rouge 18, formerly Beauty Blogging junkie) to keep up with the latest MAC releases. I wanted to talk about makeup but my friends were over it so I decided to go on my Windows PC (still on dial up), sign up for a Blogspot account, and here we are.
Back then blogging wasn’t a business. Blogging was a dirty word. It wasn’t cool and I’ve certainly had people make fun of me (I was in college when I started okay). I didn’t think of a title that was SEO friendly. I didn’t draft a business plan and having an agent was the most laughable idea. I literally used a quote from Breakfast at Tiffany’s as my URL because I loved the movie and didn’t want anyone finding me on the internet. The only “promo” for it was the MySpace page my friend created (remember MySace?!).
And my has a lot has happened over the past decade.
Personally, I grew up. I was 19 when I started this hobby. A baby! The woman I am today is so different from the young girl who started this site. The one constant was my love of makeup and all things beauty. I was angry and hot-tempered. I’ve matured over the last few years and really made it a priority to look out for myself above anyone else. Unrelated: I went from having relaxed hair, to a pixie cut, and now I’ve got a ‘fro. Talk about growth.
Professionally, I had one of the best opportunities when an executive from Lancôme found my blog and offered me an internship. I went to Paris! With Lancôme! For a girl who grew up in the hood in Brooklyn, with no connections in the fashion or beauty world, this was major. The chance to work at one of the most prestigious brands blew my mind. I’m forever grateful to Kerry Diamond for opening my eyes and giving me career advice (I don’t even think she knows how much that internship changed my life). From there I went to an agency to work in “social media.” I took a chance, skipped out on law school (sorry mom!), and now I work for one of the biggest brands in the world (shout out to Estée Lauder!). I’ve had the chance to cover backstage at New York Fashion Week, interview some of the best makeup artists and hairstylists, meet Iman, and so much more.
Blogging has also changed considerably. Firstly, it’s no longer just blogging. Now we’re all “influencers.” So many of the people who started out with me have either quit their blogs, moved on to become freelance writers, and work on the media or brand side. YouTube has overtaken the blogs and some have even told me blogs were irrelevant. For someone who loves the written word, it’s a bit sad to see. I did launch a YouTube channel (here) but I love writing a bit more.
Social media has become an industry and the hobby aspect seems to have disappeared. Being on YouTube has morphed into a full time job, with some people earning more in one video partnership than I earn in a year. I went from shooting on a point and shoot camera to seeing people invest thousands into camera gear, drones, and fancy editing apps.
More and more people are in it for the money or the free products with forums popping up telling people how to pitch brands for free shit. While I’m truly grateful for the opportunities, I sometimes miss when it was just for fun. I miss being excited about a product launch because it was dope and not because it’ll get you a ton of views. I miss the raw honesty of people saying a product was trash (though I’m not afraid). It seems that some influencers are loyal to the brand more than to their readers OR are so clickbait-y that you don’t know what to trust. While I understand why influencers do sponsored content, I hate when people shill. This coming from someone who actually pitches influencers sponsored content.
If you’ve read this blog long enough, you would have noticed that I often take LONG breaks. That’s because blogging burnout is real. It starts to get overwhelming. Suddenly, my value is the number of followers I have on Instagram and not those of you who actually read and trust my reviews. I started stressing over the dips in traffic, the lack of comments, and how to grow my follower count. The fun was lost. It become a job, a chore, and (quite frankly) a bore. Sometimes your girl just doesn’t feel like writing. I have a full time job dealing with influencers so the last thing I want is to see yet another blog, even if it was mine. I get brain dead. Trying to find the right words to tell you about another lipstick launch just couldn’t come out. It was a never-ending cycle. I wanted to make sure I stayed relevant but then you get caught up in the hype.
While we’re being honest, I can’t sit here and act like everyone can “make” it as a blogger/ YouTuber/ Instagrammer. There’s a certain look if you catch my drift and women of color just aren’t given the same opportunities. Just saying.
That said, it’s not all doom and gloom. I love seeing my favorite influencers collaborate with bigger brands and it’s such an exciting time to be in the industry. We’re in interesting times and the beauty landscape has shifted so much. Legacy have to be nimble and indie brands have really changed how business is done. Influencers have shifted business models and it’s because of the changing landscape that I don’t think I’d ever take this blog full time. I like being on brand side. That and I like having healthcare.
I do want to thank everyone who has supported me and this little blogging journey of mine. I hope this rambling post makes sense! I love connecting with everyone whether it’s in the comments, Twitter, IG, or when you guys email me. I may not be America’s Next Top Influencer but I like my little corner on the internet. Algorithms may change but no one can take this away (maybe except GoDaddy who stay playing me with their fees).