‘Style Influencer’ Jessica Andrews talks Rihanna, fall fashion tips

Photo source: Jessica Andrews
Photo courtesy of Jessica Andrews

New York City-based blogger Jessica Andrews doesn’t just run the stellar fashion and lifestyle website, Glamazons, but along with fellow beauty experts Christina Brown and Lexi Felder, she founded the Style Influencers Group.

With SIG, smart businesswomen have created the leading network for connecting “dynamic brands with high quality content creators,” catering to multicultural fashion and beauty enthusiasts. SIG has partnered with several notable companies, such as Shea Moisture, Carol’s Daughter and Ford.

As a successful businessperson and accomplished writer who has been featured in Vanity Fair, The New York Times, and ELLE magazine, Andrews isn’t slowing down anytime soon. She took some time out of her busy schedule to dish on why she started SIG, who her style icon is, and the most important trends for this fall.

What is your role in Style Influencers Group?

I’m the director of PR and communications for Style Influencers Group, which means I handle all press and media outreach while overseeing editorial content creation and development.

Why is SIG an important and necessary platform?

We noticed that influencers of color who have valuable content, beautiful imagery and huge audiences were being ignored and passed over for opportunities to connect with brands. We created SIG to give those deserving influencers a fair chance. Even though blogging is a relatively new platform, the same racist and prejudice mindset that’s plagued older industries is carrying over into this new digital space. And we had to do something to change that. We’re each passionate about diversity, entrepreneurship and empowerment, so SIG developed pretty organically.

What inspired you to create Glamazons?

I co-founded Glamazonsblog.com with Andrea Arterbery because we wanted to pull the curtain back on what goes on behind-the-scenes in the fashion and beauty industry. Andrea and I both come from small towns (I’m a Jersey girl, she’s from Texas), and we moved to NYC with big dreams of making it as writers. Our career journeys have been a whirlwind of pinch-me moments and the kind of difficult challenges that would make anyone want to run back home. But we kept at it, and ultimately found success as bloggers and freelance writers contributing to publications like ELLE, Vanity Fair, Cosmo and Glamour. We’ve been blogging since 2008, so our day-one Glamazons have been there for all the highs and lows along the way.

Why should potential readers visit Glamazons?

With style blogs and social media, a lot of times you see people’s “highlight reel”: their lives are all perfect and glamorous and they never have a rough day. Andrea and I share the good and the bad in hopes that we can reach people and inspire them on a deeper level. Our most popular posts are about Andrea getting laid off and how she was able to bounce back from that, and my rewarding (yet scary!) decision to leave my comfy 9-to-5 job to become a full-time blogger and entrepreneur. We have plenty of outfit posts and beauty reviews, but they’re peppered with diary-like glimpses into our lives as two small town girls trying to make it in New York City. People come for our fun fashion and beauty content and end up being inspired to get the most out of their careers, and lives in general.

What is the most important characteristic of a successful leader in digital media?

There are so many important characteristics, but one that’s crucial is creating your own lane. You want that special something — whether it’s your voice, perspective or content — that sets you apart in an industry that’s overrun with people all saying the same thing. When you identify what’s unique about you, and you’re authentic about it, the audience will come. And the success usually doesn’t come overnight, so be determined, resilient and consistent.

Who is your style idol and why?

I’m always excited to see what Rihanna is wearing. I’m a fashion nerd, so I like that she’s a true student and follower of fashion. This is a celebrity who did her own online research to find a Met Gala gown that fit with the theme — I love that! And she’s unafraid to take risks. She’ll go from baggy jeans and blue lipstick, to a glittering, see-through gown inspired by Josephine Baker. No matter what she wears, she owns it with complete confidence. Even if I’d never wear it, I’m inspired by her courage to be true to herself no matter what anyone else thinks.

What is the most important style tip for this fall?

I’m so excited about fall fashion because it all just feels so easy and relaxed: oversize ponchos, sweeping floor-length coats, slip dresses and a return to classic prints like plaid. The best style tip is to make it look effortless — nothing too structured, fussy or overdone.

What is your favorite quote and how has it been significant to you throughout your life?

“Life’s most urgent question is ‘what are you doing for others?’” My grandmother recently passed away, and she was such a giving, selfless woman. At her funeral, I listened to people talk about how she uplifted them and enriched their lives, and it made me realize that life is most meaningful when you’re helping others. That’s what really matters in the end: not your success or money or accolades, but what you did for other people. Whether I’m inspiring young women through my blog or mentoring influencers through SIG, I want to make sure that I’m always striving to help others the way so many people have helped me.

How has education played a role in your success?

I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for education. Christina and Lexi will tell you: if you take away the outfit posts and the social media updates and Style Influencers Group deals, I’m really just a writer at heart. Writing is my first love. And school enabled me to turn what I love into a career. At school, I had the chance to nurture, shape and develop my writing talent. I never would have moved to NYC and made a career out of writing without grade school teachers like Ms. Jennifer Almario Dalton, and Columbia University professors like Robert O’Meally. They introduced me to great writing and gave me the tools and resources I needed to become a better writer. I’m forever grateful.

For more on the Style Influencers Group, visit www.styleinfluencersgroup.com. Check out Jessica Andrews’ blog, Glamazonsblog.com.

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