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Diversity Problem In The Blogging Industry:
Do you know why I’ll always love my actual website & blog more than Instagram? It’s because I can get real on here, and address some things about the influencer industry that might not be picture perfect.
I love being a content creator, but I have to be candid here: the blogging industry has a major problem with diversity. The fashion world, in general, has had issues with diversity for years now, and the lack of diversity has become downright uncomfortable for me at times. For starters, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to a blog event, and I’ve been one of two or three women of color in attendance — even though D.C. is one of the most diverse cities in the country, and people from all backgrounds come to the Nation’s Capital to work. It’s not that talented women of color don’t exist in this industry — it’s that they’re consistently being overlooked.
Dress: Abercrombie | Shoes: Adidas | Sunglasses: Warby Parker | Bag: Zac Zac Posen
I recently went through a rough patch where I was feeling pretty hopeless. It all coincided when I moved back to my mom’s house for a month while I was waiting for construction to wrap up at my new apartment, and I was already feeling some sort of way since I was in a transition period.
Twice in that month, I was in talks with a brand, seemingly landed a campaign, we negotiated deliverables, and all that was needed was a final confirmation and agreement to sign. One of these brands was an up and comping mattress company, the other was a micro-hotel that can be found in a handful of major cities in the U.S. and Europe. Well, guess what? After weeks of negotiation, those companies suddenly “couldn’t accommodate” my request or the campaign was “full”. And what happens next? I see the same picture perfect, size zero, Caucasian influencer who does loop giveaways to attain her Instagram following get those campaigns. I didn’t see any women of color picked for either of these campaigns either. DOUBLE SIGH.
I fell into a dark hole, and I was pretty angry for a few weeks: not gonna lie. I’m very aware that I don’t meet the western standard of beauty, and I refuse to post a Gucci loop giveaway on my feed once a week in order to grow my Instagram following. There are a lot of times I feel as if I have to work twice as hard in this industry because I am a woman of color, and only see half the results. Alternatively, I know so many influencers that are women of color who are ridiculously talented, yet not landing the campaigns they should.
That being said, there are some fantastic companies that do an incredible job with being inclusive with their influencer campaigns: Olay, DSW, and Bed Bath and Beyond, just to name a few. Aerie is absolutely crushing it right now: their latest campaign featured pretty much everyone, from women with disabilities to every ethic background you could dream of. However, there’s still a ton of room for improvement across the board, and I hope to see more diversity among influencer campaigns in the next few years.
I have spoken up to some of the brands and platforms worked with in the past about this issue, and I have seen some results. If you see a lack of diversity, speak up. Silence won’t change anything. Heck, people spoke up about Revolve’s diversity issues last year, and I finally spotted some women of color being invited to their trips a few months ago. Representation matters, and it’s so important for these marketers to hand-pick a diverse group of influencers for their campaigns.