SunShine: Yolanda thank you so much for taking out the time to share your journey with us!
Yolanda: Thank you for having me SunShine, I’m so excited about the interview and this opportunity to further explain how dope the natural hair community is!
SunShine: How long have you been natural? Was it an easy choice for you? Any hiccups?
Yolanda Renee: Don’t laugh but I’ve been natural since May 2012 (big chop)…only 8 months and counting. And it was not an easy choice. I started transitioning in November 2011- I kept my hair weaved up until May. But that entire time I talked about going natural to my friends and they didn’t believe me because I was the weave queen, for real! Lol. I wanted to transition for a long time so I wouldn’t have to do the big chop. But girl having two textures was not easy. Seeing my hair break where the textures met, thinking my hair was nappy comparing it to the permed hair, and having to hide it all the time gave me more than enough reasons to just get rid of the permed hair. So those things made it a bit easier to go natural. I actually was watching Keisha aka MakeUpD0ll/Natural Dolly on YouTube when I went for it. She recorded her big chop experience and I immediately got the scissors! Lol. My hair was soooooooooo short. Maybe 2 or 3 inches. Give or take. And not to brag but it was easy from there. No hiccups! I love doing hair and I have so much patience so I think both of those are needed to have an easy journey. (I so agree! Patience is the drug choice for naturals!)
SunShine: What are your must have products and favorite hairstyles?
Yolanda Renee: My must have products are Garnier Fructis shampoo and conditioner, Kinky Curly Knot Today Leave In Conditioner, Cantu Shea Butter, Garnier Fructis Morroccan oil, and Eco Styler Gel. Jenell (KinkyCurlyCoilyMe.Com) is going to kill me for not saying Shea Moisture. Lol. Just kidding but I do love their Curl Enhancing Smoothie and Souffle’ mixed together. Which I do use instead of the Cantu Shea Butter sometimes. I really alternate between those products, but the Cantu is my fav! And since going natural I’ve been getting a lot of compliments on my Bantu Knot Out. Its my fav style too! Some have a hard time achieving the style but I think I’ve mastered it! (Oh yes you have girlfriend!)
SunShine: Who are some of the blogger/YouTubers you follow and why?
Yolanda Renee: OMG! Of course you and Jenell (KinkyCurlyCoilyMe.Com) are my top favs because you are so knowledgeable when it comes to healthy hair. Both of you have been helpful with my journey with hair and my career. So y’all are soooooo special to me! You have been added to my amazing graphic design client list! Yaaassss! Lol. Besides you and Jenell I love Keisha (MakeupD0ll/Natural D0lly) because she inspired my big chop, Candice (NaturallyCandi) because she is so crazy and down to earth- her hair is amazing she is not scared to do different things with her hair; Brosia (xGoldn) her videos are so dope and organized, she is well spoken and I love her twist outs- she is all about loose styling; Laila Jean (FusionsofCultures) she has amazing growth and she does a lot of natural hair treatments and styles, and her accent is so cute lol; and Chyme Edwards (HairCrush) can you say HAIR CRUSH for real. Her hair is soooooo long so she inspires me so much with her length alone. There are so many others too but the list would be sooooooooooo long! He he!
SunShine: Aside from having beautiful hair, you are also a blogger/vlogger and a graphic designer. How do you balance your time and what do you like most about what you do?
Yolanda Renee: Yaaasss girl…I am a very creative person so when it comes to anything creative I am interested and I will do it which is a gift and a curse because I’m just doing too much. My boyfriend told me I need to narrow it down and put more focus in one thing and it will be that much better. And it makes sense. So right now I’ve narrowed it down to blogging on my fashion blog, www.etcblogmag.com and graphic design for my clients. The vlogging is apart of www.etcblogmag.com so that doesn’t count, right!?! Lol. What I like most is graphic design. Its very challenging and rewarding. I also get to work with awesome clients like you, Jenell Stewart, Necole Bitchie, and more! Yes I’m bragging…lol, I’m very proud to finally get noticed. Ya know!?!
SunShine: Tell us what we will find at Et Cetera Blog Magazine?
Yolanda Renee: ETC BLOG MAG is all about fashion, style, beauty, and now natural hair! The main focus is celebrity style on a budget. I study celebrities because they have the top stylists dressing them. So I get all kinds of tips from them and recreate their looks for less for my viewers. I will style an outfit similar to the celebrity but of course with a touch of my own style sense and for less! I link all the items for easy purchase. So its like I’m your very own personal stylist, for FREE! You will also find outfits of the day, makeup tutorials, natural hair tutorials (I have an entire NATURAL HAIR tab with lots of tips), and a lot of celebrity entertainment news! There is a little bit of everthing on there! Lol. Never a dull moment, trust me! (I love it!)
SunShine: What projects are you currently working on?
Yolanda Renee: Besides what we already touched on I am working on a jewelry line and t-shirt line for my “curls” out there! I’ve posted teasers on my instagram (@etcblogmag) and plan to launch them both in late February. I’m really excited about the t-shirt line because it is hard to find tees for naturals. All my designs are sketched by me- I love drawing! So all the tees have natural hair sketches and that’s the feel I want the tees to have…like I sketched them directly on the tee and you are wearing the canvas. Lol. I think my tees will be different from others because they have attitude. You will see! I’m so excited about it, can’t you tell. Lol.
SunShine: What advice would you give a new natural and or a person who is interested in becoming a fashion blogger?
Yolanda Renee: My advice to new naturals is have patience and have fun with your hair. Don’t focus on length and someone else’s length for that matter. Enjoy your hair and your length at every stage. If you love your length you will turn around and bra strap length in no time. Lol. Also document your journey. I take pics all the time on facebook, instagram, twitter, etc and being able to scroll through my timeline and see the results is so rewarding. Those social networks documents your journey without you even thinking about it. Take pics ladies!
As far as blogging, you have to have a passion for it. If you have a passion for it, it will show in your work. Have a schedule so you will always have material to keep your viewers interested. Reach out to other bloggers to gain exposure and to show your sportsmanship. Contests are always a good way to give back and get exposure too! Contests also gives you an opportunity to work with other people as well. I’ve started some great business relationships with jewelry designers and more! And finally, have a great presence on social networks- Instagram is my fav! There is so much more advice I can give you but that’s for starters. Lol.
SunShine: Where can the SN&LI! Community find you?
Yolanda Renee: Please keep up with me on all my social networks: INSTAGRAM , FACEBOOK , TWITTER , TUMBLR , and BLOG Check out my work as a Featured Blogger on http://necolebitchie.com and www.addicted2candi.com.
SunShine: This includes your inteview Yolanda Renee! Thank you so much for taking out the time to share your journey and offer advice for new naturals and inspiring entrepreneurs.
Yolanda Renee: Thank you so much for having me SunShine and ladies I may be able to add SunShine’s Natural & Loving It!.Com to the list soon as a featured Fashion Blogger! (You’re in luck curls! Check out Yolanda Renee’s fashion piece featuring one of my favorite curls Solange here)
SunShine’s Reflection: I just have to say that Yolanda Renee is such a breath of fresh air. She became my graphic designer immediately after seeing her work for Nicole Bitchie and Jenell of KinkyCurlyCoilyMe.Com. She was very professional, which is a big deal in my book and she just just got me. She is able to capture my thoughts and the essence of my brand with little to no edits and I love that about her. Yolanda Renee is also a fashionista. Her eye for fashion is incredible and her Bantu Knot Outs are just fab. I just wanted to be able to share her with you all. Please be sure to check her out on all her social media sites and be sure to tell her SunShine sent you. For serious business inquiries please contact Yolanda Renee at email@example.com and I’ll see you guys on the next chat! xoxo