How is everyone doing? Loaded question, I know. In addition to the pandemic and the protests, we also had a fire here in Palm Springs yesterday, which was followed by an earthquake today. To say the world is unsettled is an understatement. But I wanted to participate in something positive – sharing the accounts of creators and influencers that I love to follow, who are incredibly talented, add value and joy, and happen to be BIPOC. See 10 people I love following below!
Black Out Tuesday took place on Instagram, and while I wanted to participate, I didn’t post a black square because, while well-intentioned, it sadly ended up drowning out so many important messages and black voices it was meant to highlight. It did, however, succeed in giving me the chance to discover so many new accounts to follow – artists, designers, creators, and influencers. I’m excited to share them with you soon.
That said, there are so many people I’ve been following for years – many I’m lucky to call friends – that I wanted to bring your attention to today. If you’ve been a follower for a while, many of these names and faces will likely be familiar. But if not, I’m happy to introduce them and tell you why I love them and why I think you will too.
I also want to make it abundantly clear that I am not following any of these influencers because of the color of their skin – but because I love what they do and they add value and joy to my day and life. I know you’ll love them too.
While there is so much work to be done in the realm of actively fighting racism, one of the best ways we can show up is with our dollars, support and our influence—by following, liking, commenting and doing business with/buying from those voices that resonate with us.
Without further ado…
10 Influencers & Creators You Should Follow Who Happen to Be BIPOC
I can’t believe it, but I think I’ve known Kristen for going on TEN years. As a fellow Texas to LA transplant, we first met at an influencer event, as Kristen was a top DIY YouTuber and blogger. You’ve likely seen many of our
shenanigans collaborations over the years from bar carting to collaborating on her office design. She has since pivoted into running her own creative agency, whose downtown offices I designed for The One Room Challenge. And, she recently launched Mae Jones Magazine, a publication that seeks to redefine the look of luxury and highlight black glamour. She’s the Blanche to my Rose and I’ve been amazed at her ability to keep pivoting, growing and trying new things.
I also met Grasie through fellow influencer friends (Jacey of Damsel in Dior, if memory serves) and have always admired her style, her humor, her intelligence and her hair (seriously, the best). A New York to LA transplant. In addition to being a fashion influencer, Grasie is an actress and a writer. In fact, she landed her first network TV show writing job last year. After only pursuing that path in her late 30s. (And yes, I know she looks like she’s 26.) That has inspired me so much. She also is constantly creating short films that find humor in a sometimes painful reality. (Her film Egg Day is about her and her husband Damien’s journey with infertility and IVF.) Grasie and her hubby also just rescued a new puppy, Charli, so that’s been adorable to follow during quarantine.
3. Michel Boyd
I first met interior designer Michel Smith Boyd when we both designed rooms for the 2016 Modernism Week Show House (aka The Christopher Kennedy Compound). The next year, when our own home was selected as the Modernism Week Show House, Michel designed Fred Baby’s office. Talk about a pinch-me moment. In addition to looking like a male supermodel and being an insanely talented interior designer – his interiors drip with glamour — Michel is always so kind and fun to be around. So it’s no surprise that he went on to star on the Bravo show Buying It Blind, which I loved and desperately hope comes back.
I met Taye of By Taye through blogging as well. As she is a fashion, beauty and travel influencer in LA. She’s also drop-dead gorgeous (side note: I just realized that I have really good-looking friends. Haha.) Anyway, as a former stylist and photographer, her style is enviable. Always a mix of high and low, vintage and modern, in a completely effortless way. Best of all, Taye uses her voice in an impactful way. Which makes sense, as she’s the niece of American playwright Lorraine Hansberry, who wrote A Raisin in the Sun. Her grandfather Vincent Tubbs was an editor at Ebony and Jet magazine. And her cousin is the one and only Issa Rae.
You know those rare people who seem to glow from within? That’s Nikia. I met Nikia through Taye at one of our pool parties. And was blown away by her beauty – both inner and outer. As a writer, influencer and model with the cutest freckles I’ve ever seen, Nikia is all about sharing her journey with self-confidence and helping others on their journeys to finding their own confidence. She’s also the founder of Black Girl Beautiful and The Nikia Phoenix podcast.
I first met Nicole Gibbons in person through my friend Sydne Summer. Nicole had a very popular interior design blog for years that I followed before that. Over the last few years, I’ve watched her pivot from blogger, interior designer and TV host (she was on the OWN show xx) into entrepreneur as the founder of Clare Paint. I used Clare Paint in my niece Kaylee’s bedroom makeover for the One Room Challenge and think the concept is so brilliant. Clare offers curated colors, zero VOC paints, and the samples come as giant stickers. So you can put it up on your wall and live with it to test if it’s the hue for you. Genius.
How to describe Justina Blakeney? In a word: goddess. I first met Justina through my friend Joy Cho of Oh Joy! and have loved following her ever since. She’s an interior design blogger of The Jungalow, product designer, and the author of the book The New Bohemians. Not to mention one hot mama and all-around badass. Definitely give her a follow if you like colorful, vibrant interiors! Remember her gorgeous pink and green banana leaf wallpaper that I used in The Glam Cave?
While I’ve never met Courtney Quinn in person, this New York City-based influencer and blogger of Color Me Courtney makes you feel like she’s your best friend. She’s also the queen of color and will delight you with her posts on colorful fashion and confidence. She’s like a ray of sunshine in human form. I personally love following Courtney not just for her cheerful outfits, but for her social media tips that she shares weekly. With an MBA and a hugely engaged community following her, she knows her stuff when it comes to business and how to grow your Instagram.
Speaking of women who know their stuff, I started following Brittany for her social media tips and wisdom too. She’s worked both on the brand side and influencer side. And wrote the book on influencing – literally – you must pick up a copy of Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media. I took advantage of one of her social media audits that her company Carbon August offers and it was FULL of priceless personalized tips and ideas.
10. Chloe Digital
Another businesswoman who is more behind the camera than in front of it. You should definitely be following Chloe if you are an influencer or a business owner. I was a client for years and still reap the benefits of the knowledge that Chloe and her team share on everything from SEO to social media tips.
That’s just a small handful of influencers I have the pleasure of knowing and interacting with, that happen to be BIPOC.
While I look forward to sharing more influencers, creators, designers, artists and shop owners soon, I’d love to know:
Who are your favorite follows?
p.s. As time moves on and media attention dies down, I am committed to continuing to be more actively inclusive in all realms (races, sizes, ages) and to amplify voices, through my blog posts and social media posts and through purchases in my own life.
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