"Collaboration over competition" is the motto.
Ain't nobody got time to be competing with other women especially when they look like you. As women, we are taught to compete with each other and I will admit that I used to think competition was healthy. During my previous trips to New York Fashion Week, I would fall victim to comparing myself to other influencers. And you know where that got me? Nowhere. It took some time and soul-searching but I learned to find the charm in contrast.
There's a special place for influencers of color because we create amazing and endless content. The only problem is that we tend to assume that there can only be one of us at the table. But that's far from the truth and major influencers like Tania Cascilla and Shay Ingleton-Smith are working hard to help other influencers realize their worth by giving them the tools not only to sit at the table but to build their own damn tables.
According to a CMO report, statistics showed that social media advertising budgets are predicted to almost double by 2023. The data also shows that businesses earn at least $6.50 for each dollar that they have spent on influencers. And while brands like to say they have diversity, that's not always the case.
It is taking some time for them to realize that diversity is what you have and inclusivity is what you do.
Through transparency and honesty, Tania and Shay created, The Glow Up, a galvanized group for melanin influencers to speak freely about rates, negotiations, strategies and even how much they are getting paid. Being an influencer is a full-time job and it definitely has its peaks and valleys. In this exclusive, Tania and Shay chat with us about the recipe for The Glow Up, the power in sharing the wealth and advice they have for aspiring influencers.
One of the girl bosses, Coco Bassey said, “The point of The Glow Up has never been to exclude other women. It's about teaching each other how to create a seat at the table.” Why do you think it’s so important to share the wealth in our culture, specifically as black women?
Tania: I think it's important for us share the wealth in our culture for numerous reasons. One being there is strength in numbers...when more of us know our worth, we all win. That's why in our group, we make it a point to discuss things such as rates, which people are normally hush, hush about.
Shay: As women, a lot of us are conditioned to look at each other as competition. After seeing first-hand how much Tania and I benefited from being open and honest and sharing with each other, we realized very quickly that hoarding information and operating in silos helps no one. We felt very strongly that we had to share our knowledge with other girls like us so that they could benefit in the same ways that we have benefited."
And now we have a network of dozens of women from around the world that we can ask for help, without any strings attached. It is a huge source of confidence for all of us.
Tell us how you came to create The Glow Up and why you chose the name.
Tania: Shay and I were in a Facebook group with predominantly Caucasian women and while it was informative and very insightful, there weren't many women that looked like us. We noticed how candid and transparent the women were with each other and thought to ourselves we need a group for women of color. The difference with our group is it's more of an actual sisterhood, friendships and bonds have been formed with members across the world.
"It was important for us to bring black women together in a positive space."
Shay: We would talk about all things blogger-related and the conversations sort of started to take on a life of their own, so we decided to give the "group text" a new home that was more formal, organized and could accommodate new members. We thought about several names for it, but as soon as we decided on the name "The Glow Up," we knew it was perfect.
In Forbes, you share tips on how to help fellow influencers break the mold and command what they are worth. Can you share a story where you had to know your worth and add tax?
Tania: This happens far too often. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't get low-balled. But knowing my worth and not settling for less gives me the confidence I need to handle these situations. I've had offers increase by more than 50% by simply breaking down why I deserve to be paid my rate and dropping my receipts so to speak. I think my work speaks for itself.
"I honestly believe when you invest in your brand, you reap the benefits of those efforts."
Shay: I sent in my rates plus an additional fee for exclusivity. Shortly after I sent in my rates, the brand came back to me saying that my rates were much higher than my counterparts and they asked me to justify why I had asked for so much. So I sent them screenshots detailing the income that I had brought in from similar brand deals over the last month and explained that I would need at least that per month in order to move forward with this opportunity. I went in with confidence and in the end they agreed to my rates.
Why do you think we shy away from talking about how much we're getting paid, rates, and negotiations? What strategies do you have for glowing up?
Tania: I think there are various reasons. Sometimes people are afraid to say how much they are making because they think someone is getting more and they are ashamed, while others fear they may lose their spot. But the truth is knowledge is power, by sharing that information you may realize you've been shortchanging yourself and could actually be charging more. I feel like what's meant for me is for me period! So I never have any issues sharing intel that could possibly help someone for the better.
Shay: People don't charge more and negotiate more because a lot of times they don't even know that it's a possibility. The other part (for me anyway), is a bit of impostor syndrome. I used to get scared that the client would say no and take their business elsewhere if I tried to negotiate and ask for more. But almost every time that I go in confidently with a request for more, the energy in our correspondence changes. There's a newfound respect from the person at the other end of the negotiation.
If you had to choose a rose and thorn of being an influencer, what would it be?
Tania: Rose would be definitely being able to do something I love every day and being my own boss. The thorn would be the preconceived notions people have about me because I'm an influencer.
"This is still a new profession, a lot of people don't realize this is work for me, it's not all about taking pretty pics...we grind!"
Shay: Rose -- connecting with women around the world and being given the opportunity to tell a brand's story from your own unique perspective. The thorn would be that the industry can take a toll on you mentally. Constantly creating content can be mentally taxing, but the group has been a great outlet. I always know that I am not alone.
What advice do you have for aspiring influencers?
Tania: Invest in your brand!! Do your research, make sure the quality of your work is up to par. Collaborate with others! Shay and I started our journey at the same time, being able to bounce ideas off of her and confide in her was instrumental. Most importantly be authentic and stay true to yourself, don't get caught up in what everyone else is doing and never compare yourself to others. You're you and that's more than enough. Always remember Rome wasn't built in a day, your time will come!
Shay: Be yourself, focus on quality over quantity and invest in yourself and your content so that you can really stand out from the competition.
Meaningful relationships, vulnerability and creativity are the cornerstones of The Glow Up. For more on these beauties, follow them @darling_tee and @torontoshay.
Joce Blake is a womanist who loves fashion, Beyonce and Hot Cheetos. The sophistiratchet enthusiast is based in Brooklyn, NY but has southern belle roots as she was born and raised in Memphis, TN. Keep up with her on Instagram @joce_blake and on Twitter @SaraJessicaBee.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by FOTOGRAFIA, INC./Getty Images