Because we all know looking your best online doesn't have to break the bank... or do we?
Get to know more about my budget fashionista ways, and why I believe it's important to show women of all ages that you don't have to break the bank to slay lives online --and in person.
[Interviewed by Guest Blogger Fontaine Foxworth]
1. How did you get started in the fashion/beauty?
My story is an interesting one. I was scouted at the age of 13 years old by a model agent, while out shopping with my mom. I had no prior knowledge of the entertainment industry, therefore my mother enrolled me into a 6-month modeling program where I learned everything from walking in high-heels, to washing my face the correct way (hey Barbizon!). After completing the program, I signed my first modeling contract at 15 years old with Wilhelmina in PA, and became a working model/beauty brand ambassador!! This stage of my life heavily influenced my career path, and peaked my interest in beauty, fashion, and skincare.
2. What motivates you to be frugal and share your gifts and talents with your audience?
I come from very humble beginnings, so I've always been responsible with my shopping habits. What really kicked my budget lifestyle into full gear was when I moved to New York City in 2013 with a suitcase and a DREAM! I didn't have a clue what I was doing, or how I would survive in the concrete jungle; however, I allowed my faith and motivation to lead the way. During my struggling moments (and trust me there were many!), I had to find a way to keep it together and "look the part" whenever I went out to gigs, events, and interviews. That's when I started hunting for local boutiques, China e-tailers (yes, CHINA!), and stores that fit within my budget. These stores were my go-to for everything from makeup, hair care, skincare, and outfits. Through this process I quickly learned how to "ball on a budget" and look the part without breaking the bank! What motivated me to start sharing this info with my audience is because I know there are thousands -- if not millions of girls, just like me that are trying our best to look as good as we want to look, while maintaining enough money to pay the bills.
3. Is there a stigma surrounding being frugal in your field, and how has social media influenced you to be transparent and open about working on a budget?
Everyone on social media (especially Instagram) is rich -- or at least tries to look like it. This can mess with your self-esteem, confidence, mindset, and views on life. We compare ourselves to the fake personas that reside online. It seem as though whenever you get online, you see millions of people "living their BEST life", and that's just not the case. Now don't get me wrong, some people ARE def living good, but most people are just getting by. I have learned that comparison leads to disparity, thus resulting in depression and feelings of inadequacy. You have to learn how to live for YOU! To be honest, it took me a while to clear the fog and realize that people online are JUST LIKE ME! We're all trying our best to live a life we have always imagined.
Since developing my confidence and expertise in this field, I have became comfortable telling people where to find the best deals. It no longer matters how much something cost, as long as it looks good to me. I use my Youtube and Instagram to talk about everything from $5 foundations for brown girls, to looking like Rihanna for $50. I try my best to inform, inspire, and show people that it is okay to live within your means, all while looking good and feeling even better. There are a few moments where I'm hesitant to share that my outfit or bag cost less than what people assume, but then I remember who I am and why its more importance to be genuinely me, than to live a factitious life. I love brands like Fashion Nova that has made affordable fashion more acceptable and "cool", because not everyone can afford what their fav celebs are wearing. Just know that if you search in the right places, you can look just as good as them!
4. What is your best frugal makeup/skin care & fashion tips or tricks that you live by?!
My best frugal finds come from research and Youtube! I have learned so much about skincare, makeup, and fashion deals all from doing targeted searches online, and of course "trial and error". My three tips to the best frugal finds are:
a. DIY Skincare
To find the best skincare tips I research Korean and Indian DIY recipes; as they are known for having the best ancient remedies for skin and hair. You can find so many different skincare solutions that cost little to nothing to make, and they work! I've used everything from egg whites to brighten my dark marks, to putting onions in my socks whenever I catch a fever (it works!). I find the best remedies that work for me, then share the knowledge on my Instagram stories and Youtube channel in order to inform my audience. I also create my own skincare products at home which I share on my blog as well, and this helps me save money and cut the cost of buying these expensive products at the store.
I enjoy my good ol' drugstore and beauty supply store finds. You can walk out of them with a full makeup bag, and a nice wig for under $50 if you know where to look. The only downside to drugstore shopping is that you usually can't test the products before you buy it; like you can at bigger brands, but there's always a way around that. Whenever this is an issue, I either buy it and try my luck (since its kind of cheap anyway), or I write down the product and go find reviews online done by girls with my skin tone/type. You can't go wrong with doing your research, and if all else fails-- return it!
I am a true Budgetnista! I shop at my local boutiques and wholesale outlets for everything-- mainly in the sale sections. There's no shame in my frugal game, and most of the times I revamp the look! You can find so many great deals in local stores and outlets due to the quick turnarounds on styles, and the prices are relatively affordable due to the competition they get from fast-fashion retailers. I honestly enjoy budget shopping, and I truly get a kick out of slaying lives for $50! I am all about affordability and practicality. If it makes sense for me and my pockets, then its a winner! In this new age of social media, you truly have to find what works best for you and your lifestyle.
5. What is the most impressive look, accomplishment, or creation that you have pulled off on a budget?
I had a birthday party last year, and the dress I ordered didn't come in time so I had to improvise! I got into my "what would a frugal Rihanna do" state of mind, and hit up my local boutiques to save the day. I purchased a super cute peplum black dress for about $25.00, then went to Michael's to buy black rhinestones that I later hot glued to the top of the dress to make it sparkle! I also stopped by Marshall's and bought some matching jewelry and heels to top off the look for about $27. The outfit came out perfect, and I actually liked it better than the one I ordered online. In total I spent about $55 on this birthday look. No matter the tax bracket, I'll always be the kind of girl that looks for steals and deals because I have a creative imagination, and I love knowing I can create things at the drop of a hat. Don't sleep on your imagination!
I hope you've learned a thing or two from this write up, and I hope you allow your creative juices to flow! Remember this: "No one is you, and that is your power.
Stay Flawless xo