Black girls do it better, especially when they have equally kick-ass Black girlfriends. Somto found me many months ago when I was featured on Art Hoe Collective. We discovered that we were both lifestyle bloggers in the same graduating college class and from there we just hit it off. Somto and I decided to blend our shared interests for social justice, fashion, and photography in a blog collaboration.
We're proud to present to you a super post, packed with Black girl magic! We styled outfits for each other and conducted two different interviews. Sound cool? Cool.
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Somto and I agreed to style two fun articles of clothing: off-shoulder tops and headwraps.
Outfit one, styled by Somto, includes an off-shoulder top from Forever21. You can find one with a similar cut here. The shorts I'm wearing were picked up from a boutique in La Jolla, similar ones here. And of course, I had to throw in some classic hoops which you can pick up here from Forever21.
Outfit two, styled by me, features The Wrap Life's Chaka headwrap in blue. I'm also wearing my favorite new jeans from Cotton On. They're called the Pull On Jean - hassle free, button free, and zipper free. That's what I'm talking about. The bodysuit is Forever 21's Scoop Back Ribbed Bodysuit, similar here. Shout out to American Eagle for the bomb yellow denim boyfriend shirt.
After you're done filling your online shopping cart with all these kick-ass pieces, check out the interview Somto conducted of me below.
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Based off your social media presence, skincare and DIYs are main aspects to your personality. What has your journey into these projects taught you?
I’ve always considered myself a crafty gal. I've always been drawn to illustrating (no pun intended), collaging, painting, and making things with my hands. As I became more and more disillusioned with the way that many acne treatments further damaged my skin, I knew there had to be a way to fix it myself. That’s the Virgo in me, always wanting to fix things.
I struggled with acne for many years. While the pills prescribed to me by a dermatologist did help to prevent really intense breakouts, I realized there were two things in my control that I could alter in order to save my skin. The first was the products I put on my skin; I decided to go natural last year in college. I traded Neutrogena for tea tree oil, Clearsil for coconut oil, and make-up wipes for my own DIY cleansing balms. The second thing in my control was my diet. I am currently in the process of making my diet healthier because I sometimes eat way too much sugar and processed foods.
Being able to make something myself has been incredibly empowering and I know my body is thanking me everyday for making these choices.
Favorite product you’re using right now? Name one product you’re planning on getting next.
I love the facial oil that Herbivore Botanics sent me! I recently reached out to them and they sent me some products for free; their Orchid Facial Oil is absolutely amazing. It’s a lightweight oil that you use after cleansing and toning. I’ll have to retire it during the harsher, colder months and invest in a heavy-duty moisturizer. But for now, it’s my must have product. They sent me a small roller size so it fits in my purse. Plus, it has a really subtle floral scent that I’m not used to but I love it because it smells so fresh.
In the future, I really want to try some products from 100% Pure. I first heard about them through my favorite curly girl YouTuber, SunKissAlba. Because their products are on the pricey side - and rightfully so - I’m hoping this will be a “treat myself” or birthday haul.
How has discovering your identity affected your personal style?
There are three identities that I think have the biggest influences on the clothes that I wear.
I’m a California girl through and through. I’ve lived my entire life in the sunny suburbs of San Diego, so I think my love for the sun and all things relaxed have influenced the way I dress. I’ve tried wearing mostly Black, it just wasn’t for me. I need color! I think my love for greens, blues, and pinks comes from living in a place like San Diego.
As a feminist, I believe women should be able to wear the clothes that they feel best express themselves, allow them to live and work without fear of being harassed, and ultimately just have the right to choose. Whether it’s choosing to cover up, choosing to show it all, or maybe even somewhere in between, feminism encourages me to be loud and bold starting with the clothes I wear.
Finally, as an African-American woman I am forever inspired by Afrocentric clothing. This past summer I began wearing my hair in headwraps and I haven’t looked back. When I wrap my hair in colorful prints, I feel closer to my distant, but present, African roots. I also like the idea that modesty can be achieved by covering your hair.
What would you like to see your passions manifest into?
All of my life, my mom has told me that there is always a way to make a career out of your passions. I hope to blend social justice, writing, photography, and my growing knowledge of skincare into a brand where I can give back to marginalized groups. I’ve considered going into education, magazine/newspaper/freelance writing, and even dabbled in the idea of creating a skincare line. Right now, I’m pursuing my undergrad degree in Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies. We’ll see where my passions take me, but something tells me I won’t have a problem turning the hobbies that I have into a career that allows me to give back.
Describe yourself in one sentence in third-person point-of-view.
Shelby is an enthusiastic creator who wants to use her passions to help people in the most unimaginable ways.
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That's a wrap for today, everyone. I've got a busy next couple weeks: leaving San Diego on Monday, moving back into the dorms on Wednesday, starting classes the following Monday. I hope you all enjoyed this post, it's definitely different from my usual.
One more thing before you go! Don't forget to check out Somto's blog. She's got an incredible eye for pleasing minimalistic visuals, and I admire how she uses her voice.
You can head on over to MNMLISH (pictured above) to check out her version of this post.