SYT: Tell us about yourself.
Tiffany: My name is Tiffany Laibhen-Spence. I am African-American, Haitian and Puerto Rican. I was born in Brooklyn, NY but raised in Philadelphia, PA. I have a passion for self discovery (self-love, self care, self acceptance, unlearning toxic beliefs and behaviors, figuring out what you want from life, etc.) and finding ways to make a living by doing things that truly ignite you!
SYT: Have you ever struggled with your perception of beauty?
Tiffany: Absolutely! I’ve been very thin my whole life. Starting around the age of about 7 or 8, family, friends and schoolmates took notice and started regularly making comments about it. I was asked why I was so skinny, if I ate, if I was anorexic, and told that I needed to eat more. I grew up with an extreme complex about my weight, spending most of my childhood, teen years and a good part of my 20s trying to gain weight and convincing myself that I wanted to be curvier. The truth is that I believed everything I had heard all those years and it literally filtered the way I looked at my body in the mirror. It wasn’t until recently I realized how unhealthy it was to feel that way about myself and I began the work of loving my body. I never felt comfortable admitting my struggles because being skinny is considered nothing to complain about and rather worshipped. I am very happy and relieved to have overcome that perception.
SYT: What is your definition of beauty?
Tiffany: My definition of beauty is anything that stimulates you in a positive way. We often think about beauty as visually stimulating, but it’s also about what positively stimulates you on an emotional and spiritual level.
SYT: Best piece of advice you would give to another women of color as she navigates through life?
Tiffany: I would say we are no longer in a time where we have to be each other’s competition, there is more than enough for all of us to eat! I’d let her know that her dreams are valid and although many of us didn’t grow up witnessing first hand the kind of success we seek, we deserve it and will achieve it. Yes, we have to put in more work than others, but don’t settle for mediocrity. Be a BEAST at whatever you decide to conquer!
SYT: Have you ever felt like you did not belong or left out due to your appearance?
Tiffany: I wouldn’t say I felt left out but I have definitely experienced the common struggle of being bi-racial, especially when it came to my hair. My mom has much finer hair so she had to learn how to style my thicker, tighter patterned hair which took hours. I dreaded it because I would constantly compared my hair to my moms and the fact she could LITERALLY wash it.... and go lol. When I went to school, and complained about my hair struggles, my African-American friends would laugh and write me off because they felt I shouldn’t complain because I had “pretty” hair. It took me a while to learn and understand that for myself, I had to create my own definition of hair and not let others define it for me.
SYT: You can only wear one lipstick color for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Tiffany: MAC - Ruby Woo, hands down, no questions asked.
SYT: Is there a reason you started blogging, if so why?
Tiffany: I am an extremely creative person and I’ve always had multiple passions. At one point in my life, I decided that I wanted to be a fashion designer and put 100% of my time and energy into it. After a few years of pursuing it, I hit a really low depression and didn’t know why, but through extreme self searching, prayer and meditation, I kept being called to start a blog. Once I started, I realized that it was an outlet to express all of my other passions and interests. Taking time to explore those other areas, I regained my love for designing, but in a way that didn’t tie me to one thing. I don’t think any of us are one tracked, I believe that we have many things that excite us and we shouldn’t have to choose one or the other. I am able to express all of this through my social media platforms.
SYT: Do you have a side hustle? (If not tell us some of your goals or dreams)
Tiffany: I currently create motivational, made-to-order custom apparel. I also partner with companies to review products and create some cool content. These are things I really enjoy and would consider my side hustles, while I build my ultimate career goal of having my own ready-to-wear women’s wear collection.
SYT: How do you practice self-care? (Yoga, reading, spa etc.)
Tiffany: I’ve made self-care something that I build my life around. I meditate every morning for a half hour to an hour and I am learning to practice yoga daily. I do facials and try to take lavender baths regularly. I also read and journal, watch and listen to Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday/Podcast which has changed my life in many ways. Lastly, doing nothing but watching TV, playing a game, or just relaxing while not feeling guilty is a huge form of self-care for me. The art of knowing that it’s okay not to be on GO mode at all times in a “grind every second of every day” world is vital!
SYT: Scenario: Your on your way to the Met Gala and your stranded in traffic which would make you miss your glam session... but thank god you have these 5 products that you always carry with you. What would they be?
Mac - Ruby Woo
Liner for waterline
SYT: In the age of influencer marketing how do you remain authentic to your audience?
Tiffany: I won’t lie, remaining authentic in today’s world even without being an influencer is extremely hard. As an influencer, I do my best to speak my absolute truth even if I feel like people don’t want to hear it. There are times I share things that I know my audience won’t respond well to, but I share it anyways because I have to keep doing what I love most. If I start posting things for likes, my authenticity goes out the window. I also only post products that work well for me and that I truly believe in. When products don’t work well for me, I will contact the company and try and find a solution. If that still doesn’t work, I won’t post it. However, if a company does something intentionally that needs to be revealed, I don’t like shedding a negative light simple because it didn’t work for me. I know the power of being an influencer and I choose to use it with caution.
SYT: What advice would you give to someone who has just started blogging?
Tiffany: Write down the reason you started and post it somewhere visible to you. Stay true to that! People will try and pull you in different directions but only do things that will help you get to YOUR goal. Be okay with saying “no” and not taking every opportunity. Pace yourself, and unfollow accounts that make you feel inadequate or like you’re not doing enough. It’s so easy to get pulled into a black hole of comparison on social media. Stay true to you and your why and keep making progress, one step at a time. Have tunnel vision!
SYT: Song you currently have on repeat.
Tiffany: Authentic moment: Backin’ it up - Cardi B!!!
SYT: Anything else you would like us to know?
Tiffany: I’m still on my journey to finding my true purpose and figuring how all of my creativity and interests will somehow tie into me making my mark on this world. Someone needs to hear this: “The road of living your true self and building your dream life is NOT an easy one, at all. But to all of those who are afraid to take that chance, who are settling for an unhappy life because of fear of what’s on the other side, I want you to know that with struggle, tears, and fear, at times I wouldn’t trade this journey for the world. Success is not guaranteed, but I’m willing to live my life with hope that the life I dream of can be a reality, rather than giving up and KNOWING that it won’t ever happen. Start that blog, or write that book, learn to dance, or whatever it is. Even if it’s not a career choice allow yourself to explore all the things that ignite you! You never know where it will take you! Bet on yourself!”