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When we first met with the Brooklyn based stylist and blogger, Latonya Yvette, she came into our meeting wearing bold gorgeous prints and orange lipstick. It was one of those meeting where you both keep saying, “RIGHT!” “YES!” and thinking ” This chic totally gets it!”  The conversation quickly turned to all the bullshit that’s out there online, and on Instagram and how refreshing it is when you come across people who are just real about life, and that sometimes it’s really hard and shitty, and sometimes that what’s beautiful. So in that first meeting we knew we wanted her to break it down for us, how to stay authentic and have integrity in blogging, because Latonya is for sure one to tell it like it is! While her blog is full of pretty images, and she works with big brands, her work has a voice of authenticity that makes it truly special.

 

You must have tons of brands reaching out to you to collaborate. How do you decide what’s a good fit?

I think it’s great to have a sort of path during blogging. Or simply, know your voice and what you’re putting out there. Really being in touch with that narrows down your readers, which narrows down the brands you work with. I find that sometimes, narrowing down readers doesn’t seem like a good thing- bigger agencies are focused on numbers- but a small pack that is invested in you can make a brand if paired correctly.

Latonya Yvette

What do you think people relate to most about you?

I think an attainable lifestyle. I think people, even if they find my personal style a bit out there- they connect with a lifestyle that feels true to them. Whether it be the color of my skin, family life, me being a young mom of two, or simply choosing my own career and making it work. A lot of people are in the same place in their life, and need more answers, or simply want more inspiration in that area of life.

 I think people, even if they find my personal style a bit out there- they connect with a lifestyle that feels true to them. Whether it be the color of my skin, family life, me being a young mom of two, or simply choosing my own career and making it work.

Any rules that you apply to involving your kids in shoots or posts? Do they enjoy being involved?

Put simply, I am here trying to share my story as a mother. I don’t have a right to those stories. I want them to create their own path, and have their own childhood.

Latonya Yvette

What sort of project gets you excited?

I love projects that speak to the stylist in me, but that require me to be a businesswoman behind the scenes too. Putting things together and watching them come to life, from finances to creative, get my going. I think it’s great to have investment projects, not just one-off relationships.

I love projects that speak to the stylist in me, but that require me to be a businesswoman behind the scenes too.

 

Any advice you can give to newbie bloggers on how to stay authentic?

Don’t be too hard on yourself! And don’t get into it with intentions to be xyz. It just doesn’t feel good if you are that blogger- I’ve been there. Just don’t try, be true to you and blog because you enjoy it. Not to be some household name. It doesn’t work like that. True relationships, even readerships, are developed when there is transparency and love in it.

 

Do you socialize with a lot of other bloggers? What’s the community like in New York?

You know, I didn’t notice a huge NYC blogging community when I first started, but there actually was! Now, I have about two or three amazing blogging friends in NYC I’ve had for years and years.  Blogging isn’t really discussed in most of our relationships. We are friends because we are friends. It’s what we do, not who we are. Initially, I developed a lot of relationships online with the common ground of being a blogger. They weren’t sustainable relationships, because in reality, behind it all, we didn’t have much in common. It takes some time around the block- and at one point I was confused about it all. But now, I’m really relieved. Life is full. The few blogging friends I do have are dear friends. They’re the wine night, pajama party, call me sobbing-lets raise our kids together friends. I love that.

Latonya Yvette

Do you feel it’s important to surround yourself with like-minded creative women? If so how has this been important to you?

I think in general, you need to be surrounded by creative people. But of a variety for sure. I have a ton of friends who are amazing freelance writers- some are writing books. I have designer friends, and jewelry making friends, friends who own stores, friends who are artists and musicians. I think it’s good to be in circle with constantly floating creative energy-but not just in your field. I love how a lot of my friends have no idea what i’m talking about, but we all leave so inspired by each other. That’s the beauty of New York, everyone is doing something, it’s easy to find a creative just being true to them and trying to make it here. It’s really magical.

 I have a ton of friends who are amazing freelance writers- some are writing books. I have designer friends, and jewelry making friends, friends who own stores, friends who are artists and musicians. I think it’s good to be in circle with constantly floating creative energy-but not just in your field.

 

What do you see happening on-line right now? Is there a push for people to be more real and take down the curtain? Show what’s really happening?

Yeah, I do think there is a huge push for people to be real. But there is still a huge curated following as well. I mean, this push for authenticity is shown all around right now. It’s the time we are living in. People are sick of just plain same story- pretty picture only things. If you attended NYFW you probably noticed how most of the models were your beautiful everyday girls of all shapes, sizes, and colors. This is happening everywhere, in all areas- not just online, it’s beautiful to see.

 If you attended NYFW you probably noticed how most of the models were your beautiful everyday girls of all shapes, sizes, and colors. This is happening everywhere, in all areas- not just online, it’s beautiful to see.

How do you think this is affecting the rest of the on-line community and the way brands are working with content creators?

In general, I find that brands are looking for people with a story- where readers are invested in the lives and the stories.

 

Is there such a thing a sharing too much?

Hell yes.

 

Any women you admire out there, that do a great job of being real and innovative on line?

My friend Sarah Sophie Flicker is an activist, and has become one of my closest friends and mentors. She doesn’t share too much personal stuff, but she will make you stop in your tracks and read. She makes you want to pick up and change the world, and pops the bubble of many on the daily. It’s refreshing. Especially in such a curated space, where it’s taboo to note the obvious bad (and good) in this
 To learn more about Latonya, visit her blog here.

 

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