Building a brand based on trending topics and news can be tough, but Janee Bolden (Bossip), Stephanie “Eleven8” Ogbogu (BallerAlert), Talia Oliver (The Shae Room) and Rea Davis (AllHipHop) are living proof that being yourself while doing what you love can turn your life into a success story.
Boss women in media are hard to come by. Elite roles are predominantly given to males, at times overlooking and overshadowing capable women.These individuals have proved they can hang with the big boys through persistence and by staying on top of their game.
Staying abreast of what’s trending, while competing with other publications reporting the same thing can be hard, but what makes these women stand out and have their audience coming back for more is their perseverance and originality. This is part two of our four-part series.
Meet Stephanie “Eleven8” Ogbogu, editor at BallerAlert.
How did you arrive at this career choice? Was it a deliberate decision or a gradual and natural evolution?
Growing up I always knew I wanted to be in the entertainment industry, I just wasn’t sure in what way. I was in a singing group in high school, I was interested in broadcast journalism, creative writing, graphics design, you name it, I did it. Unfortunately, living in Austin, Texas, in the ’90s-early 2000s, there weren’t really ample opportunities in the entertainment field. I was always pretty active in social media. Back then MySpace, BlackPlanet and Paxed were my go to. I happened to meet a few people on social media who lived in my city and were involved in the field I was interested in. In exchange for them showing me the ropes, I bartered services like graphic design, website building, personal assisting, etc. The rest is history.
What separates you from others in your field? What is unique to the experience that you create?
I was blessed early on to realize what I wanted my brand to be. I wanted to be the “homegirl” that you can feel comfortable talking to, meanwhile, have no doubts in your mind that she will give it to you straight with no chaser. My brand is no holds barred, tongue in cheek and very honest. Many have to play the politically correct role, but Eleven8 is free to say what others may not be able to. Some are Oprah, some are Wendy Williams. You just have to find out where you fit.
How do you stay at the leading edge of your craft?
I remain true to myself. I’m a bit sassy and a bit sarcastic. It’s what drew people to me and ultimately what landed me my dream gig at BallerAlert.com as the editor. Many can write a story, but how the story is told is what sets you apart. I like to think that I’ve tapped into my niche when it comes to delivering “the tea.”
Do you think that there are any widely held misconceptions about what you do? If so, what are they and how do you work to dispel them?
The biggest misconception about blogging is that it’s easy and anyone can do it. It’s not easy at all. I literally work from sunup to sundown. My days start at 7 a.m. and sometimes don’t end until 4 or 5 a.m. News doesn’t sleep, so neither can I. When it comes to big events, it requires that I travel, which is exhausting in itself. I’m blessed to have a career that has afforded me the ability to be financially stable, but it is certainly a lot of work. The money doesn’t make itself.
Another misconception is that we get paid to ruin the lives of celebrities. Not true at all. You would be surprised how much “gossip” we refuse to post about because of our conscience. We understand that celebrities are people too. Many celebrities are fans of ours. Many are friends of ours. There’s a way to tell a story objectively, yet still engaging enough for the reader.
Name two of your top role models: one from your industry and one from outside of it.
Anyone who knows me knows that my biggest role model is Sean “Diddy” Combs. I watch his moves very closely. His brand awareness, his work ethic, and the way he commands attention are all things that I admire truly. He’s the reason many people used to call me She Diddy back in the day.
What role does technology play in your day-to-day life? How do you utilize it?
Technology is literally the essence of what I do as a blogger, as a social media strategist, as a personality. Everything that I do is thanks to advancements in social media. With Baller Alert, we pride ourselves on staying ahead of the curve when it comes to technology. We were the first to start the trend of microblogging on Instagram back in 2012. Now look how big it has become! We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to use technology.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
If I could change something about me, I would teach myself not to react so quickly. I’m well aware that people often do things for a reaction. I have to learn to stop giving it to them, despite how unbothered I truly am.
What affirmations do you repeat to yourself that contribute to your success?
I live by the motto: Faith over fear. I don’t allow fear to drive me away from doing something I really want to do. I don’t allow myself to be afraid of anything. If it’s meant for me, it is for me. I rely purely on faith to get by and, so far, it’s worked out.