New York Fashion Week 2018

February 21, 2018

It doesn't matter who you are, if you are into fashion, it is a D R E A M to attend THEE New York Fashion Week! If you currently follow me on social media, then you already know that I had the opportunity to attend for the first time. 

It's amazing how the universe works because just five months ago, I wrote about how to experience the notorious well-known event. With only six weeks to plan, my friend and stylist Alysha Williams of Fetch Fashions, decided to buy a plane ticket and make it work! There was nothing but space and opportunity right in front of us to check this off of our bucket list. 

I managed to over-pack, get business cards printed and as you can tell from the home page, revamp my logo! Thanks to Custom Touch Designz, based in Charlotte, N.C., who worked with me to bring my vision to life because it made me feel more credible as a creative and entrepreneur. 

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If this experience taught me anything, it's taught me to prepare. My favorite quote is "stay ready so you won't have to get ready!" I can apply this inspirational phrase to all facets of my life. Whether it's brushing my hair before running to the grocery story, keeping an updated resume, or carrying cash just in case my card isn't accessible. Being prepared is essential, especially in a time when everything moves so fast, so quickly. 

As soon as we found out we were attending Fashion Week, we knew we needed a plug. If you aren't familiar with the term, it means a connection, a way in, an access point, all that. Phone calls were made, emails were sent and before we knew it, we had media credentials and a place to stay! I don't know how many times I can say this in each post but it's about networking, people!!

Work the room, maintain contacts, reach out to your friends who occupy the spaces you want to frequent.

 

As Alysha and I navigated the city, got lost in the city, ate in the city, and dominated the city, I realized my level of appreciation and pride I felt. The two of us could have made the decision to attend New York Fashion Week next year or thought small and attended the fashion week in our own city. Instead, we were decisive and intentional on making this trip happen. We chose to focus on the resources we had to create a strategy, not the resources we lacked. 

Take a look at our triumphs from that weekend and tell me in the comments how you will create a strategy in the next two months!

 

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Siraad Dirshe: The Glow Expert

The first guest ever to be featured and exclusively interviewed on The J Spot deserves a proper introduction! *I feel like a teacher at the front of the class, excited to share our special guest*

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Siraad Dirshe is a New York native, writer, and is currently a Beauty Editor for THEE Essence Magazine! She has written for publications such as Refinery 29, Vogue, Teen Vogue, Popsugar, Elle, Nylon, and many other notable platforms regarding skin care. I first learned of Siraad on the 17th episode during the second season of "Black Girl in Om," previously mentioned in Podcasts You Didn't Know You Needed

From that podcast alone, I acquired a huge amount of knowledge regarding skin care practices and the special attention for the largest organ in the body, specifically for women of color. Naturally, I followed her on every social media account possible. The information she spoke about pertaining to products was so impactful that I needed more! Over time, I followed her content, liked her pictures, and watched her Instagram stories. Of course, I replied to her polls, videos, and inquired about products that weren't familiar. Then, one day, I expressed my admiration for her knowledge within the beauty industry and asked if she would like to be highlighted as a woman of color within beauty on The J Spot and she said "yes!" 

If you don't know, Siraad is known as the GLOW EXPERT! I expressed to her that the J Spot is a platform for my readers, especially people of color, to have a resource and become inspired to try something new. Her skin is impeccable and I wanted her to explain how my readers could achieve it, too. There's six weeks left in winter! Which means there's six weeks left to obtain glowing, luminous skin. Keep reading to see how!

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The J Spot: I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to interview The Glow Expert, herself! I discovered you from your interview on The Black Girl in Om Podcast. You have an amazing breadth of knowledge regarding skin care, specifically for women of color, that I want all my readers to learn about. The below questions are focused on your insights on skin care, the beauty industry, and being a creative. 

You mentioned in previous interviews that you gravitated towards skincare products instead of makeup. That is so interesting! What motivated this preference?

Siraad Dirshe: Until very recently I never thought I was "good" at makeup, so I was pretty much afraid of it. I also think since beauty brands have historically not created products with us in mind, I never really found colors and tones that complimented my deeper skin tone. So I think skin care just seemed more accessible and easy to understand/use.   

TJS: In your articles, you talk about beauty and self love in your articles. What would you say the correlation is between these two topics?

SD: For me those two things are inextricably linked! When I'm taking 10-15 in the morning or evening to pamper myself with skin products, that's one of the ways I show myself some love. 

TJS: I recently highlighted self-care and its importance. What is your favorite self-care practice?

SD: Oh there are so many self-care practices I love and honestly, I am conscious to ensure that at multiple points in my day I am showing myself some love. Working out, eating foods that make me feel good, reading, spending time with loved ones, listening to music, and of course taking care of my skin are some of my go-tos. 

TJS: How did you accumulate your knowledge regarding skincare, specifically about melanin, which products are best meant for it, etc.?

SD: Because skin care is something I am just completely obsessed with, I never get tired of watching videos, reading articles or listening to podcasts about products and ingredients. So I think the genuine interest and curiosity made it so I was just always learning about it.  

TJS: What’s the most unconventional practice you’ve done or heard people do to improve their skin?

SD: I would say shocking my face (it's not nearly as crazy as it sounds) with an electro current facial or getting a colonic for better looking skin are some of the most interesting things I've done. 

TJS: What would you say the worst skincare practice is?

SD: Not wearing sun screen! Everyone needs to wear it, no matter how deep your skin color is.  

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TJS: You’ve been referred to as The Glow Expert! Can you tell my readers what it takes to get the perfect glow, even in the fall & winter?

SD: In my opinion, the best way to get the perfect glow doesn't have much to do with skin care. Drinking lots of water, eating a balanced diet, working up a sweat a few times a week are the best ways to help your skin glow. But a good moisturizer and an occasional mask is a great idea too. 

TJS: As a black woman, what do you feel your role is within the beauty industry? Do you feel you have a certain responsibility of any kind?

SD: Of course! I feel like it's my responsibility to help make the industry a place where we see ourselves reflected and to shine a light on the issues and people that Black women find relevant and important. 

TJS: What is your biggest challenge as a black writer?

SD: When I was freelancing, I would say it was getting people to respond to my pitches but now that I'm an editor, it's having enough time to respond to the emails I now receive. I want to help those who are trying to break into the industry as much as possible.  

TJS: What would be your advice to anyone looking to enter the beauty industry?

SD: The one piece of advice I would give is to don't be afraid to create your own opportunities -- something I wish I had done more of when I first moved to NYC. Last year, I started freelance writing on a whim (I was bored of my current job and knew I wanted to write in beauty). And lots of hard work later, I'm now working in my dream job. Oh, and don't let one person's no deter you from doing what you want to be do! 

TJS: What inspires you as a creative? 

SD: I find inspiration from other creatives, so I love to listen to music, visit museums, and reading other writers I admire. I also love to travel and experience new cultures, and I always feel inspired after I come back from a trip. 

TJS: Here at The J Spot, I refer to the people in my inner circle who support and guide me as my “Tribe.” Who would you consider your tribe?

SD: I have a tribe of 'sisters' (biological and not), that I could not imagine doing life without. They inspire, challenge and support me! 

TJS: You write for major publications, such as Essence, Elle, Vogue, Glamour, and many more. What would be the pinnacle writing experience to highlight the complexity and diversity of black women?

SD: Oh man, I'm not sure about that one! Maybe writing a book?  

TJS: Lastly, what are your top 3 skincare tips for women? Do you have any for men? 

SD: 1. Wear sunscreen 2. Wash your face at night 3. Drink lots of water!  

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I want to thank Siraad for taking the time to answer the above questions. Make sure to follow her on Instagram @sdirshe and read her article on Essence.com and BlackGirlInOm.com

I learned so much and I hope my readers did, too! Please like this post, share, and leave your comments below on your favorite skincare practices! I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Social Media: Confessions of Networking like a Groupie

As millennials, social media is our go to! This is not new. I follow Instagram/Twitter accounts and like posts every day! Why not milk it for all it's worth?! You can connect with people you've known from high school and even big name brands! It's actually quite amazing. 2017 is lit. There is really no limit when it comes to communication. 

Have you ever followed an account where you think,

"Wow, their life looks so cool and exciting! I wish I knew them"?

Or

"They go to all these cool events! I wonder how I can get invited"?

Or

You even notice that a few of the accounts you follow are connected because they run in the same circles. 

Trust me, it's normal to want to befriend a lot of these poppin' ass accounts, especially if they seem like socialites. Because I mean, let's face it, the dream life is to work while mingling and partying with the best of the best! It might sound weird, but reach out to the people you follow! You might feel like a stalker if this is unfamiliar territory, but follow my five steps and you'll be hanging with some of the coolest people you know! 

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1. LIKE

DO NOT BE AFRAID TO LIKE PICTURES/POSTS!!! 

This post is not only about Instagram. This applies to Twitter and Snapchat, too! When you see an account you like, like their posts! That's the point. I used to be so afraid to double-tap or hit the heart button on a post because that meant someone knew I was looking on their page. Again, that's the point! Hell, it doesn't matter if it's two or twenty posts in a row, tap away. Don't be afraid to look thirsty, that just means you are interested in their account. Don't you like when you get a lot of love on your posts?...Exactly. 

2. COMMENT

Please see above. Now, you may be thinking: ok, Jessica. Liking posts is one thing, but you want me to actually comment?! Um, yes and don't debate me. The entire point of interacting on social media is to become FAMILIAR with people. Commenting isn't a crime and it doesn't have to be creepy. Comment/Reply to their tweet, their Snapchat story, or Insta story (if you're into that). Or just keep it simple and leave a simple emoji under a photo. It might even benefit your own account! When you comment or reply to an Instagram post or a tweet, people usually want to see your profile and what you're about. They could even be curious based on your profile picture (so get a good angle).

3. FOLLOW THEM ON MULTIPLE PLATFORMS

When you're interested in an account, it's not unusual to follow the person on different social media platforms! There's level to this! I'm not sure about everyone else's view, but Instagram is the base level. People only get to see a still shot of what's going on in your life. This can be perfectly curated, with the perfect angle, blasé, blah. Snapchat, this is when it gets personal. You can have rants, daily commutes, and your entire Friday/Saturday night on your story and let's just say, you might be happy that it'll be a distant memory in 24 hours. Twitter can go two ways. You can really get to know someone personally through their memes, start conversations with threads/DMs, or it can go left when it gets political. All in all, you have multiple opportunities to interact! Use this to your advantage. 

4. TAG ACCOUNTS!

I highly suggest this if you're trying to be noticed but reputable brands and even socialites. If you're looking to be a stylist, blogger, or anything that involves brands, tag their accounts. Do this whether you're posting a picture on your feed or Insta story. Hell, go all out and send your posts to them via direct message. You just might get a reply or a feature on their page! Does that count as being "published"...probably not, but it's a start! 

5. BE YOU!

Lastly, just be yourself. You don't have to try so hard. In reality, the tips I just gave you are things you already do! Remember, these "accounts" are people just like you. If you think about a brand or account, mention them on your story, tweet how you can't wait for their next album release, or comment on their newest collection. Don't shy away from conversation. If they reply, think of ways to naturally carry a conversation. If not, a simple thank you will suffice. 

With these five tips, I made friends in different cities and built relationships based on similarities and frequent interaction. There are also people I know who have gotten job opportunities. 

Have you gained any friendships or opportunities through social media? 

Leave a comment below!