My friend and I wanted to create something fresh and new for young readers and for them to be able to see themselves in various relevant categories because we didn’t really have that growing up. Like why was I reading Teen Vogue getting advice from Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen to use a paddle brush on my hair? Totally not relevant to a black girl like me, so we wanted our readers to have a better experience than we did.
What made your magazine different from others on the market?
Our approach was to be a “big sister” type to our readers. We never wanted to come across as adapting to societal norms. We had a team of wonderful writers whose articles had tones of “if you’re looking to try this, here are some ways to approach it” vs “this is how you should do a certain thing”. We had fashion advice, college and school advice, tips for taking care of your health and more. Some of the things we learned later in life and we wished we had known when we were younger, so our goal was to give our younger readers that opportunity.
Is there an issue or article that stands out in your memory the most?
We had one of our writers put out on article on human trafficking and bringing awareness to the issue. Growing up, we really didn’t have the internet readily available the way it is today (hello dial up!). In the digital age of being able to seeing anything and everything (sometimes with limited information) it was important for us to bring awareness to it in a controlled environment. We always did our research and provided other resources to give additional information. What we’ve discovered is that you’re never too young to make a difference and to be informed on local and world issues and I’m really happy that we were able to publish that.
What was your biggest obstacle as a magazine editor?
Knowing when to say no – we had so many great articles and ideas. Learning how to fine tune an issue or save an article for a better month was definitely a hurdle that was worked through and a good learning experience!
What are some of your favorite magazines to read?
In recent years, my tastes in magazines have changed (I’m almost 30 haha). Instead of reaching for the Elle Magazine when I’m in the checkout line, I’m reading more NPR, New Yorker and Rolling Stone. I still read Refinery29 and The Cut online. I also watch lots of vloggers on YouTube – I know that’s not a magazine, but sometimes I draw my fashion inspiration from there.
What are some of your favorite Fashion & Style Trends?
The one trend that I think I’ll forever be dedicated to are fringe or tassel earrings. They such a simple accessory that can elevate any outfit.
One thing that I will say has “evolved” in the way I buy clothes and style myself is I try not to jump on the fads too much – it gets expensive trying to keep up. The great thing about fashion is that it’s cyclical and there’s always going to be a trend that comes back. I’m not a fan of the 2000s coming back – low rise jeans are the worst if you got a little junk in the trunk. Lately, I base my personal fashion on moments. For example, if I’ve been listening to Michael Jackson’s Bad album on repeat, you might see me wearing lots of black with accents incorporated somehow. If I see flowers blooming, I leaning towards lots of flowy and light colored clothing.
If you could have dinner with any three people in history, who would they be & why?
Michelle Obama, Rosa Parks and Diana Ross – besides my mom these were three women that I have felt really inspired by over the years and would love to get personal advice from them.
What was the main lesson you learned from running a magazine?
Expect the unexpected – you never know how people will surprise you and you need to be prepared to be open to new people and experiences.
What are you up to these days?
When I’m not working full time, I’m in the process of revamping my YouTube channel! I took a break to plan my wedding weekend – it was amazing and felt like the party of the year!
What kind of content will you be writing for THE SUITE?
I’ll be writing Fashion & Style content for The Suite! I’ll keep you posted on sales at stores, what I’m packing for trips, my favorite can’t live without clothes, and maybe even sneak peaks of what’s in my closet from time to time. I’ll have you styling from when you go to bed (yes pajama fashion) to when you’re out and about.
Do you have any advice for anyone interested in starting their own publication?
Be consistent! It’s so easy to get lost in the running tab of fabulous ideas running through your brain. Think out loud and have brain storming sessions with yourself in unconventional places to unleash your creativity. Also don’t be afraid to run your ideas with people trust so that your point of view is on the brand you’re trying to create.
What are your top 3 Cons of Running a Magazine?
Working with the different schedules of everyone on a team, working full time, and working out of state
What are your top 3 Pros of Running a Magazine?
Being inspired by a group of dedicated women who wanted to make a difference, working with my best friend, releasing an issue and getting feedback!