For most of us, a paycheck is used even before it is deposited in your bank account. Lol!! This is the reason some of us get creative and find ways to save up, get side hustles and save up some more. I live with the motto that I learned from my dad that “Work hard when you have dark hair, aka when young so that you can relax when you are older.” This means the blood of hustling has been instilled in me from when I was young. I also tend to rock with other women hustlers who are driven and stylish!
I was that kid who had a piggy bank and saved while my siblings will go buy candy lol. Yes siblings if you are reading, your big sis just told on you hahahaha!! Anyway as I got older, I received a bachelor’s degree in nursing, but never forgot my creative side and use that as my side hustle. For those of you reading my blog for the first time, I grew up in Ghana, West Africa before moving to the USA more than a decade ago. I was that kid who had exotic dreams and believed I could do anything I set my mind to.
My side hustle as a model and blogger has allowed me to get rid of my fear of rejections and given me the courage to market and believe in myself. When I receive my check and see the finished work, it gives me the extra confidence to believe in my hustle. I also constantly see how people who look like me are not represented more in the media and I wonder what kind of role models my kids and other little kids will see. Will they have to wonder if they are worthy to be in the creative world? The side hustle belongs to all no matter your color, height, or socio economic background. A times I wonder why do people of color like me constantly have to fight to get noticed? I really appreciate my agencies,family,friends and community who see my worth!
I know so many times people are scared to take that leap of faith because they want everything certain. However, hustlers are risk takers and I believe you need to take some risks in order to make it. Yep, that means there will be many low points when you wonder why you are doing it, why people want to under value your craft, and when your time will come!!!Ding ding ding dong!!! Do you need an alcoholic beverage or some tea/coffee yet?? Lol…The struggle hehehe. Keep the hustle on because even if you have not received your limelight, there are side fans or critics who are either secretly rooting for you or waiting for you to fall flat. Now are you still feeling that you need to keep your hustle going??Inspired? Connect with me on your next project! Comment below
Model Photography :Lucy Stange
Reaching out and working effectively with other people is not a natural skill for everyone. However, a lot of creativity, how to work together, and better marketing skills are three benefits I have noticed when I have collaborated. Collaboration is not welcomed by all, so do not be disappointed if you reach out to a fellow artist or brand and do not hear back from them or they give you a negative response. Hopefully more creative artistes learn to work together instead of withholding the knowledge they have to share with others.
• Creativity: I do believe we are gifted differently, therefore a collaboration allows each individual to share their ideas on how a project can be achieved. My experience collaborating has allowed me to learn new techniques on how to pose properly and learn better makeup tips.
• Working together: Collaboration allows creatives to learn how to respect each other and their time when working on a project. Most collaborations lay out a plan as to what is expected of each participant in terms of what to bring, when to arrive, how long it will take, and a timeline of what to expect. In so doing, participants develop the effective skill of working together efficiently which increase their professionalism. These collaborations have also led to forming lasting friendships and business partnerships.
• Marketing skills: As a creative, I cannot stress the importance of collaboration in improving your marketing skills. The art of reaching out to a fellow creative or brand can be nerve wrecking for many of us. We are all scared of being rejected, however we need to remember that everytime we get a positive answer after numerous rejections it means you are doing better at marketing yourself. Someone believed in you and thinks you will be a great fit for their brand, so give yourself a pat on the back
On the other hand, if another creative invites you to collaborate on a project, that is very impressive because someone thinks you are exceptional. Another advantage of collaborating is that all artistes involved are able to share the project on their different social platform which increases exposure and opportunities for paid work. I can attest to that fact that some of my collaborations have led to more paid work and followers on my social media network.
Personally, I enjoy it and I am open to seeking opportunities to collaborate with both small and bigger brands because we are all truly unique and do better as a team.The work of my latest collaboration between talented photographer Elizabeth Hanson of el photography and stylist and fashion truck owner Kim Huston of styleagogo are in this blog post.They are both based in Minnesota so reach out to them .
Please comment below either your negative or positive experience collaborating. Happy Sunday!
“Why don’t you just relax your hair? It will so much easier for you to comb your hair” This was what I heard all too often when I started my natural hair journey. I started not knowing if I was ready to face the world that had never glorified natural hair. Growing up in Ghana, I went to a school where I had to cut down my relaxed hair from Grade 7 through 12. I can still remember how I tried to bargain with my mom to change schools so I could attend one where I could keep my hair relaxed and long. As a child, I can remember my dad was not happy when he came home and found out that my mom had relaxed my sister and mine hair to fit in. Yes, my dad loved the afro of the 70s and he loved natural hair. My mom on the other hand like women of her era felt femininity, professional acceptance, and being more European was linked to long, silky flowy hair wither with a wig, weave, or relaxed was the ultimate goal.
My teen years went by well with my short natural hair, but it was acceptable because most of my friends kept their hair natural too. After high school, I however could not wait to get my hair relaxed and add extensions to have it long and full. As a teen, I felt all the boys liked the girls with long, flowy hair. The media and the community I lived in both Ghana and the USA seemed to accord women with long hair as being beautiful as opposed to those with natural, short, coiled hair. The pageant world, magazines, and television also placed women with long flowing weaves on a high pedestal and I did not want to be left out. I could have saved thousands of dollars from all the weaves and time spent in salons to get my hair bone straight or with full Brazilian human hairweave.
I had no role models who had taken that journey to be natural. I realized after years of straightening and manipulation, my edges were thinning and I was spending so much on my hair to get it to look right. I needed to find something that was truly unique to me and have the option to change my hairstyle because I wanted to, not because I had to conform. The hair transition to getting my relaxed hair chopped was like being born a new and I never turned back. I must say I was still worried how the world would accept it and Boy it was liberating to rock my natural short hair. I felt free, authentic, and an influencer. I fully embraced my natural kinky and heavily coiled short hair and started wearing it more without extensions 3 years ago and I have seen more women come up to me at work and in the community compliment me on my hair.
They are amazed I can confidently switch my hairstyle. Anyway,I still get asked questions at work from my mostly caucasian colleagues about how my hair grew from one week to another since I do a times do wash and gos, twists, and protective styles such as box braids,natural hair weave styles, and crotchet braids hahaahaha! I am especially happy that I continue to see more black women transitioning to natural hair styles and being confident and beautiful. Guess what? my mom also transitioned to natural hair and she loves it!woohoo!!!
For those of you following my story, it definitely comes as no surprise that volunteering in 2018 has been huge on my list. As a registered nurse with public health certification, the community and how its inhabitants survive is very close to my heart. I had the opportunity to welcome and provide linen and handing basic hygiene products with the African Nurse United to the homeless in St Paul, MN at the Higher Ground Shelter with Catholic Charities. This was a very fulfilling and eye opening experience.
This was very saddening because homelessness can happen to anyone. The homeless are at high risk of being sexually and physically abused. They are most prone to not having immediate access to basic healthcare and thus end up using the emergency rooms when they are in the worst shape. As my group members and I handed supplies such as towels, soap, toothpaste, sanitary towel, socks, shampoo, deodorants, each person was truly grateful for this kind gesture.I could sense they felt welcomed by our smiles as we asked what they needed. Speaking with the staff, they informed us there was a huge need for homeless shelters and they were in the process of expanding the facilities to accommodate more people. They also were in desperate need for basic supplies to provide the residents.
My group of nurses who work at United Hospital provide care to some of these homeless people and we have heard their stories. We hear how they have to choose between medications and food every day and how they have to survive the elements of the weather and figure out permanent housing and work. There was no fresh food at the center and that bothered us as we saw many of the guests eating highly processed foods since they had no access to a kitchen.
As a nurse and model, my passion will always be to give back within the United States and beyond. Next month I along with other members of the African Nurses United will be providing a free health needs based assessment. We will be working with local nurses and doctors providing basic healthcare in Ghana, West Africa and we cannot wait to empower and educate the less fortunate in the rural fishing village of Agbozume. 2018 is only the start and I cannot wait to share more my nursing knowledge, skills, and compassion with the world! Feel free to donate to our go fund me page at https://www.gofundme.com/volunteer-medical-mission-to-ghana.
Ms.. Lilla Watson could not have said it better when she said, “If you came to help me, you are wasting your time and mine. But if you have come because your liberation is bound with mine, let us work together.”
Feel free to comment and or message me if you are interested in working with me and or the African Nurse United.
It’s the last day of the year in my cold, frosty below zero corner in Minnesota and its been a year full of life. (Current mode, all wrapped up with fuzzy socks on lol).As I reflect on this year I appreciate my life, that of my family, friends, and my readers. I am also touched that I am able to bring some positivity to my world through my words and creativity.
In 2018, I look forward to volunteering more both in my local and international community. I want to use more of my nursing skills to serve the less privileged and empower them. I also cannot wait to share the uplifting project I am working on and to the other creative projects that are calling my name!! woohoo,yes i am super excited y’all!! Hey people, I might get my billboard sooner than I taught so watch out oo(happy voice!!)
As we end this year, I am so happy to say that blogging has allowed me to share more of my world and I look forward to sharing more exciting and inspiring stories in 2018 and beyond. Cheers and Happy New Year! Afehyia! Bonne Annee! Feliz ano Nuevo!
Picture credit: Carly Milbrath
My sense of fashion and style have been greatly influenced by West African wax prints, therefore it should not come as a surprise when you see me wearing African prints. Most of the pieces I tend to wear are bold and elegantly designed with patterns that have a meaning behind it. Wax prints are easily accessible in any West African market where you can bargain prices with market women or you have the option to go to an African store if you live outside Ghana.
I developed a taste for wearing this during my days as a high schooler at Achimota Secondary School, Accra where students had to wear something African inspired during the week. The female students had the option of an African print culottes with a matching top which was worn for evening studies and the kaba and slit (traditional inspired skirt and top) on Sundays, whiles the male student draped an African cloth on Sundays. These formative days allowed me to be proud of my culture and find creative ways to wear designs which I gave to my seamstress to sew.
First image of me by Nancy May Photography. Second image is by E.L. Photography.
Growing up in Ghana, West African wax prints designs were primarily worn during special occasions such as weddings, church, baby outdooring However, in recent times, the youth have totally revolutionized it and made it very acceptable to wear African inspired to professional settings. The current fashion designers incorporate different African prints in their dresses and accessories that they create. There is nothing off limits that can be created or infused with West African wax prints. The final products worn by both sexes will amaze and make you want to run to your nearest African store or call your seamstress or tailor. Enjoy these inspirations I found on google.
What are your thoughts and will you wear it if you had the chance. Enjoy and leave your comments!
I have been blogging on this page for a little over a month and would like to throw a little more insight into my world and what I stand for. My name is Stefanie and I am originally from Ghana, West Africa and I have quite a fascinating accent because I have lived away from Ghana for more than a decade. I get teased about my accent from my Ghana people because I apparently sound American lol. Let me sip on some champagne y’all!lol
Writing has always been my way to pour out my innermost thoughts, struggles, and aspirations. Writing has allowed me to be creative and I want to use it to inspire people especially immigrants, women of color, mothers like myself who wake up each day with dreams of hope! Like myself, I know you work hard each day in your many roles to put food on the table, to inspire your children and or community, and are role models. My mission is changing the face of beauty and showing you how to walk that path with your inner and outer beauty!
My path has led me to be walking example of beauty and intelligence as I work as a Registered Nurse with over 7 years of experience. My background is ICU/Cardiac Telemetry/Perianesthesia. My role as a registered nurse allows me to be a patient advocate, a teacher, a comforter and most times a patient listener to patients who are very lonely and need someone to hear them. I also represent a minute representation of diversity in the registered nurse profession in the United States. According to the Modern Health (2016) report, less than 25 % of Registered Nurses in the United States of America are minority nurses;not Caucasian. I therefore walk in the shoes of a role model and inspire countless of young women and men of color who never thought about a career in the medical field.
As a model, I also represent a minute representation of people of color. This is one of the reasons I decided to be vulnerable and get into the commercial fashion industry in Minnesota. I went in fully aware of the possibility of rejections, but that has not stopped me from securing fashion jobs with established names and local fashion houses. I will continue to work harder and make my mark because everyday I hear personal stories from family, friends and their daughters who are teased because of the color of their skin and hair texture, colleagues who are unaware of their beauty, community members who have been labelled as beautiful based on their weight. They raise their head high because they see someone like them changing the face of beauty. These lovely pictures are from the Holiday Party at FGI-MSP EVENT of which I am a proud member.I am dying to hear your comments.