Tell me about yourself.
Danielle: My name is Danielle. I’m black and I was born in New York but my parents are from Trinidad. I studied marketing and started a full-time career in finance and investing. I started my blog in 2007 as something to promote my image consulting business. Then I realized I could reach more people. At first, my blog was for all women, but now I like to focus on women with darker skin tones. We don’t have the ability to walk into most stores and have a selection of makeup that works for us. A lot of people tell me they are really thankful for my blog because my swatches help them decide what to buy and what will work with darker skin tones. I’ve been to London and Paris and they have it worse than we do here in the United States. Oddly enough, I went to Stockholm, Sweden and I saw more diversity and options for darker skinned women. It wasn’t the best but it was better than other brands in Europe. In addition to blogging, I consult with beauty brands campaigns and social media!
What are beauty struggles?
Danielle: That's an interesting question for me. I’m in my 30s and the older I get the less I care, but when I think back to the early days of Instagram I had just big chopped. I was trying different hairstyles. Back then if you didn’t have a big fro with loose curls you weren’t popping. I realized I was gonna do me and if people didn’t like that then forget them. A lot of those things shaped who I am today, but I kiss the ground and thank God there was no social media when I was growing up. I feel like young black girls are under so much pressure. I didn’t start wearing makeup until I was 23. There weren’t that many options then anyway. Now girls as young as 11, 12, and 13 want to contour. We didn’t have that pressure to be done up.
What advice can you give to younger girls?
Danielle: Make your mistakes. Everyone has the thought that there is this big blueprint and if you don’t have this or you haven’t achieved certain goals, then you have failed. First of all, calm down and make mistakes and learn from them. You have to drown out what people think. It’s much easier said than done but it comes with time. Take your time. March to the beat of your own drum. Filter things out. If you don’t like something block or unfollow; only follow things that make you feel good. I don’t allow negative things to fill my timeline. People get desensitized on social media and forget that there is a human being on the other side of the phone.
Are there things that you encounter that others do not?
Danielle: Jackie Aina recently posted a video where she discussed how problematic "not seeing color" can be. Throughout my 10 year journey of blogging, I still go to beauty events and they reveal shades and they have no colors for me. A woman from Tarte sent me a box and I was so excited to open the box which had so many products. I tried 2 of the many foundations and they didn’t match at all. This happens pretty often with new makeup launches. It sucks because as a beauty blogger you want to review the newest products, but it's difficult to do so when so many brands don't offer our shades. Also, there is a serious pay problem. People of color receive significantly less pay than other influencers. There are things I have to turn down because the compensation isn't fair.
What makes you feel unstoppable?
Danielle: I absolutely love the idea of women coming together. It’s crazy how women of color get erased from the conversation. I personally don’t have the energy to keep reminding people that we exist. What keeps me going is the love and respect I receive especially from black women. It’s like gas that keeps me running. From the comments on Instagram to running into people who read my blog. I often run into my readers when I'm out and about and they tell me how much they love my blog.
What is your self-care routine?
Danielle: I have a bad back and would sometimes work through it, but now realize I have to take more breaks. When I first started blogging, I would rarely take breaks and it would lead to me having poor eating habits which led to weight gain. Now I force myself to take a real lunch break. I stay conscious of when I’m overworking myself. Sometimes it’s just going to Target or taking a walk for fresh air. Beauty items like face masks and makeup have become synonymous with work for me so that’s not really a form of self-care for me. I love to lounge and watch t.v. and I also like to cook! I also like to listen to music---I love classic hip-hop. Some of my favorite artists are Missy Elliott, Wu-Tang, Big Daddy Kane, and Lil Kim. I also love Soca music.
Keep up with Danielle on her journey: