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Saturday, 25 February 2017

British, Black/Mixed/White Blogger: My Experience

I know the title is going to probably raise a few eyebrows, whether its out of shock for the title or confusion, but there is a reason of why I done this.Growing up, I've always been put into boxes by other people, calling me "too white" or "not black enough", and the most common one was filling out a form that didn't have your ethnicity listed.People would also ask my mum, if she actually "was" my mum, because she's "white".People would also pick out on my features, even up until today while typing this, picking things out of whats white and whats black.I know who I am as a person, but the reason for my title is for what people have made me feel like.Not being able to say who I am and what I'm "mixed" with confidently, without someone pointing there finger and saying "no you're not that".This blog post is going to be fairly long, but I wanted to go into much detail as possible of what I've been through, where I'm at now and hopefully help those that can relate to it and not feel alone.
The school years:
Reception and primary school weren't that bad compared to my teenage years, but still the bullying was tough.Its not that I blame the kids as much back then, because some really did not understand, but it was mainly the parents who were extremely ignorant.These "adults" would make comments about me and my hair in front of my mum, and I really don't know how she kept her cool.The looks of confusion we would both get because she was my mother and I was her daughter were ridiculous, and back then I just thought it was people pulling funny faces.Secondary school though had to be one of the top worst experiences that I've ever been through.I remember being extremely excited for my first day, because I was getting away from bullies at my primary school (or so I thought).The first day of school was horrendous, because it was like being taken away from bullies and put with even more nasty bullies.I'm not going to drag on about this too much, as I have done a video about this, with bullies mostly targeting my appearance and my hair, which I've linked below:
I was seen as very different, because not only did  I have big curly hair that would constantly get pulled and picked on for, but because I was a very quiet person.I was too scared to speak out or stand up for myself, because people would gang up on me.I remember when a group of black girls started on me in the playground to attack me and I didn't understand because I thought they knew what it was like being "different?"I remember defending myself which caused no harm to them, but guess who got in trouble and put into isolation?Me.I was pressured into straightening my hair because I was made to feel even more ugly when it was curly.Another girl in my year had beautiful curls and she looked stunning with straight hair too.Then all of a sudden, she just kept straightening it more and more, which caused her to lose her beautiful curl shape.I remember looking at her thinking: "I wish I had beautiful curls like you", because I never saw her picked on for it, but people wanted her to wear it straight and now I know why.Other girls were jealous of her natural curls and made her feel like she should straighten it all the time.I was in a class with the "popular" girls of the year group and they were quite spiteful towards myself and others.If you want to know more about my bullying story, please watch the video above, as I'll end up going completely off topic in this post haha :) 

Why I started blogging and starting out as a hair blogger:
I started blogging when I was at college and back then I didn't really see it as blogging, as it was more of my way of helping others to find products for there hair in the UK.During this time, I was still relaxing (3x) and straightening my hair, because I was made to feel like I was only acceptable and pretty with straight hair.We also didn't have access to hardly any products for our hair types back then, and if we did, they would charge outrageous prices.I would save any pocket money and my EMA (Education Maintenance Allowance) to buy some products from Boots or Superdrug.I would say 98% of the products on the shelves were not for our hair types at all, and the 2% would be products that would say "for curly unruly hair", when in fact, it wasn't for our hair types at all.I remember coming across a page on facebook called Curl Crush, that had a high following of people from America, bringing confidence to curly hair.This gave me the drive to go natural, so I stopped all heat tools (even when I moved house) and started reviewing products like L'Oréal, John Frieda etc, hoping brands would realise about our curl types too.

My blog was temporarily stopped in 2012/2013, because if you've been following me for a while, you would already know that I was in a controlling relationship for nearly 3years.Despite the little bit of attention that I was getting on my blog and social media(with 98% of them being women), my boyfriend at the time didn't like it, so I stopped.This knocked my confidence big time, because I couldn't do what I loved, which was helping others find products for there hair and to embrace there curls.I finally ended the relationship which was nearing 3years, because I could no longer cope with the emotional abuse.The first thing that I did after ending it was starting up my blog again, and I ended up purchasing a brand new template to make it more user friendly.It felt amazing doing what I loved again and being able to help people.The first ever brand that took notice of my work, was Big Hair Beauty, and although we are no longer in contact as much, they were the brand that gave me a chance and believed in the work that I did.
During this time I was suffering from severe anxiety and agoraphobia (not being able to leave the house as much due to being scared), but it felt absolutely amazing to be a part of this movement.It felt great being able to help other men and women (especially in the UK) find products for there hair types and not feel left out.This is when I started to get noticed by more brands and during this whole time that I've been blogging, I have NEVER charged or expected free products from a brand.The only time I ever get paid, is when a company want a sponsored post, for something that I'm personally interested in that I think will benefit my followers/readers.I never email a brand expecting them to send me free products because of my blogging platform, because I would rather know more about the brand first before I go out and purchase there products.I still happily go to Boots and Superdrug to purchase random products, (like the most recent one being the L'Oréal Curl Nourishment) to review them and document my experience so it helps those that are maybe thinking of buying them.
One of my biggest achievements for me and that I felt like I was "accepted" in society, was when I worked with Remington.I have been a huge supporter of Remington's hair tools since I first started using there products at the age of 16, because there hair tools catered for our hair types.They were looking for bloggers to do the "Switch And Protect Challenge", which meant I had to swap out my GHD's for two of there products for 4weeks.I remember looking at the application thinking "I have no chance against other girls", because I didn't feel good enough with my image and I only had around 2000 followers at the time.My mum gave me the push to apply and believed that I could do it, so when I got the email from them saying "You've been chosen!", I cried.I sat in disbelief with tears streaming down my cheeks, because I couldn't believe that this was really happening.I actually thought that they had made a mistake, so when I got the email confirming everything, I realised it was really happening.It was one of the best experiences that I have ever had with such a huge brand and when I still look back at it, its still all new to me.They treated me so well and made me feel like all curls are beautiful and its ok to switch it up, without causing damage.

I'm still like this with any brand that send me products, because it never sinks in.I know their are a lot of brands out there, that just send things to people to just get reviews and don't care about the customers.I've even worked with brands that have emailed me to lie, YES LIE!Some examples are below:

"Can you please remove the negative part of your review"
"Can the review all be positive, even if the product didn't work for you"
"We will pay you for your time and review, if you remove the negative feedback"

I understand that not every product is going to work for my hair, which is why I always say that its "my" experience.One brand in particular emailed me last year, asking if I could review some of there products.I agreed on all of them, apart from one, because it was high in protein and my hair already had enough protein in it already.I kindly explained this to them, because adding more protein to the hair would make my hair dry out a lot.They didn't listen and sent them all, but I still reviewed them all regardless.The product didn't work and actually left my hair so dry, that it was snapping off.I mentioned in the review that this was only down to having a lot of protein in my hair already, and that it would work for someone who needs protein in there hair, so in no way was I throwing shade at the brand.The very next day, I got a fairly blunt email from the brand, asking me to remove my comments, which I declined, because I'm all about being honest on my blog and it wasn't a bad review.They continued to ask me why I tested the product and it was because it was "agreed" on by both parties, despite me warning them that it might not work as effective.Following from that, they stopped all contact, removing my posts from all of there social media pages and unfollowed me.

What I've learnt by being a mixed/black blogger:
I've noticed that a lot of brands go for one "particular" look when it comes to campaigns with bloggers.I apparently fall into that category by being the typical "light skin girl with 3b curls" as someone called me that on a page a few weeks ago.Where are the other black men and women?Where are the other curl types like 4a, 4b and 4c?I love there curls and they should be shown off too like everyone else's.I don't understand why the line is drawn at 3b/3c curls when it comes to hair brands, even those that say "Its suitable for all curl types".If I was made to feel like I wasn't included or accepted like all them years ago, I cannot imagine what its like for those now in this society, but coming from my london heart:

I LOVE YOUR CURLS!YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL

Never allow a brand or ignorant people make you feel like your curls aren't good enough.I think all curl types are beautiful and I have a love/hate relationship with mine on a daily basis.I don't think its acceptable that brands just allow one particular look of people promoting there products.Before I work with anyone, I always do my research first on them before replying.The reviews and posts that I do when it comes to hair products, are to help everyone, but I know it would be more helpful for those that have the same hair type as me.I'm not here for money or getting social media famous, I'm here to do something positive and thats shedding light on others to make them realise that they ARE beautiful and shouldn't let some banner featuring one look, make them feel ugly.

The treatment I get though from brands is seriously disgusting sometimes.Would you believe it if I told you, that I get treated more badly by well known international brands more than small businesses?It did put me off for a while, because I was made to feel like I was just being used and that they didn't care about my work at all.I then thought to myself that not all brands are like this, and it made me filter out on who I wanted to work with and who to avoid, until they sorted themselves out.

I've began to realise while also writing this post, I'm probably going to not get a lot of blog offers, but I couldn't care, because I would rather be honest and open, than be fake, like a lot of people are today.People are made to feel not good enough, and on a daily basis, I feel like this too.This is why I decided to introduce beauty, fashion and mental health to my blog, because I wanted to help others in this area
  • Beauty is for finding makeup brands that cater for our skin tones, especially between the medium to dark shades.I also love to include makeup in this, and my most favourite makeup brand currently is Beauty Bakerie, which is black owned.
  • Fashion is for finding clothes that are for us curvier girls and catching out fake brands.The amount of times that I've purchased a dress that was originally made in china and UK fashion "boutiques" make out its there own.For example, I purchased a dress 2years ago, costing me only £15 and it arrived in 9days.A lot of fashion stores that originally started out on instagram, all have the same dress, except they retail it between £30-£50.I understand that some profit has to be made, but at the beginning they all made out it was there own make.The dress in question is below:
  • I've always been open about mental health, because I feel it should be something that should be introduced in schools.Being bullied at school, to being in a controlling relationship and having a creepy ex boss, it began to take its toll on me until my body could no longer cope.It caused a lot of anxiety and although I'm a lot better now, its why I'm not at like other bloggers (content wise).I wanted to talk about it more, so people with anxiety or any other mental health problems don't feel alone.Its a very long battle to get better, but it can be done.
I think I may of gone a little of topic on this post and I apologise for that, its just that I have so much to say, because people don't realise what is going on for us black British bloggers.It may look easy, but it really isn't at all.Even without my anxiety, I still feel like I'm not accepted and that I'm not good enough.I'm sorry if this post came across a bit depressing, but its purely because people don't realise how mistreated we are sometimes.If you have any questions or want to express yourself in the comment section, please go ahead.I would love to know your thoughts on this post too :)


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