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Content Creator Vic Styles Shares Her Path To Becoming A Freelance Life-Liver

Vic Styles proves that your best life will always be the one you decide to choose for yourself.

BOSS UP

For Instagram lifestyle and wellness influencer, Vic Styles, this isn't the life that she planned for herself. In fact, it just might be better than she could have ever imagined, "My dreams created the path for where I am today, but I don't think that I could have even fathomed what my life would be like." When you wander into the corner of the internet that Vic has crafted, there's a certain peace that absorbs you, a sense of tranquility that, as many Black women can attest to, is earned through tough lessons and radical self-choosing. For Vic Styles, the very act of declaring her pursuits through the amalgamation of her passions, points towards a life of liberation. Free from outside pressures, only leaving the evidence of her calling.

Coming of age in an analog era where there were no monikers like, "influencer" or even "content creator," conceiving a life centered around this thing called "the internet" would challenge even the most imaginative of dreamers. Still, one thing that has always stood the test of time for Vic was her ever-evolving and innate personal style, "I've always loved fashion. I kept this notebook where my mom would take Polaroid pictures of what I would wear so that I wouldn't repeat the same outfit within a two to three week period." Call it a mini lookbook of #OOTDs before there ever was a name for it, if you will.

Although Vic's early days as an inventive teen and young adult pointed her in the direction of pursuing a life in fashion, her ar family upbringing encouraged structure and tradition as fundamental aspects for her post-grad endeavors. "My whole life I had expressed this interest in fashion, I was always creative, but my family never really took the time to hone that." Still, her smartness of style never fell from her gaze.

Courtesy of Vic Styles

During Vic's senior year of college, she made a drastic and intuitive pivot. "I had a 3.6 GPA, I was in all honors classes, but I just wasn't feeling it, so I dropped out. I had four more classes to graduate, but I walked out." Despite her parent's disappointment and dismay, she knew that her inner compass was guiding to something greater. "I felt something in my spirit that was like, 'This is not where I'm meant to be. My parents completely cut me off, basically they were like, 'If you're gonna be grown, you're gonna be grown for real.' So I learned what struggle was. I was broke, I had to live on people's couches. I had to make big sacrifices, but it was all worth it."

Vic's journey displays high risk, with significant return.

Now, the self-declared Freelance Life-Liver continues to carve out new worlds on the internet with her blooming love life, sustainability journey, and co-hosted podcast, Kontent Queens! Proving that your best life will always be the one you decide to choose for yourself.

xoNecole: When you were facing difficult times in LA, what kept you going in those moments? 

Vic Styles: I think there was a lot of divine intervention on my behalf. When I first moved there, I had found these girls on Craigslist to live with; I had no friends, no money, and no family. I showed up at this apartment with these girls who I only knew from the internet, I mean, this could have been a scam, and thank God it wasn't. I got an internship there with a really famous celebrity stylist and became her assistant. Then I met my next boss and became her assistant. Then I stepped out on my own based on the connections that I had made as an assistant. But the timing of everything had to be divine because it wasn't within my power to have these things line up the way they did. Every time I felt like giving up, something good would happen, so I knew I couldn't give up because that was my sign.

Courtesy of Vic Styles

Now, you’re a self-proclaimed “Freelance Life-Liver”. Where did the inspiration behind this title come from and how were you able to take agency of this self-declaration? It sounds like freedom!

Yes, it is freedom! The title came when people would ask me, "What do you do?" while I was still in the midst of styling and being an influencer. I was honestly like, "I'm freelance and I get paid to live my life." And that's still how I look at it. I know the term influencer isn't what a lot of people want to be associated with because of its negative connotation: "Oh, you're superficial, you're inauthentic." Part of it was disassociating myself from that. I want people to feel that when you come to the space that I've carved out for myself on the internet, that you see these pieces of my life. Yes, sometimes brands pay me to talk about their products, but the things I talk about naturally integrate into my life already. When you see me on the internet, I hope that you see a woman living in joy and being herself.

As a content creator, you have a focus in wellness. What was the turning point in your life that led you on your wellness and sustainability journey?

When I think about wellness, I think about it from a holistic aspect. You can't be well if your mind, body, and spirit aren't well; everything has to be well. I was really depressed five years ago; I didn't want to eat, I considered suicide, I was in a place when I didn't love myself, I didn't even know myself. So I picked up a book by Alex Elle called Words from a Wanderer and everything she was talking about in this book from seeing yourself to forgiving yourself blew my mind. It started me on the journey of saying nice things to myself, but I couldn't just say it, now I had to do nice things and feed myself nice things. This carried into skincare and what I put on my hair and I started to treat myself how I wanted other people to be treated.

As far as sustainability, I was broke. I had to shop at thrift stores, I had to reuse things! Being sustainable started from a lack of money and resources and me having to be resourceful on my own

You speak a lot about originality on your podcast and how important it is for content creators to not try to be “the next so and so.” How were you able to stand out to brands and find your own authentic identity?

I don't think it comes from finding it, I think it comes from tuning in and tuning everything and everyone else out. I don't spend a lot of time on the internet on other people's pages, and I know that sounds strange, but that's when I feel myself swaying in another direction. I spend a lot of time in self-reflection: I read, I write, I go on trips, I spend a lot of time by myself getting to know the things that I naturally like. If no one else was out there, if no one else could impact my likes or dislikes, what would I naturally gravitate towards? And those are the questions I ask myself before when I put things on the internet, am I doing this because Victoria, at home, when no one is watching would really do this, or am I doing this because the world is watching?

"I spend a lot of time in self-reflection… getting to know the things that I naturally like. If no one else was out there, if no one else could impact my likes or dislikes, what would I naturally gravitate towards?"

Courtesy of Vic Styles

Your new podcast, Kontent Queens, is a space where content creators can glean insight into all things social media! What led you (and co-host, Kia Marie) to collaborate on this new endeavor in the audio space? 

It was actually Kia's idea. She approached me in summer 2019 and I was down for the cause. She's someone that I really respect and look up to in this space and we just felt like this needed to be done. There are so many creative spaces, classes, workshops for women that don't look like us. And we needed to fill that space. I think I can speak for Kia saying that we didn't have help. There was no roadmap for us and it's still fairly new. So if we can help other Black women in some shape or form, that's our due diligence.

On Kontent Queens, you and Kia don’t hold back on the gems. How did you all decide to take an abundance approach in the information you share on the podcast; especially in an industry that can be so individualistic?

Purpose. I think Kia and I have a purpose to inspire and to motivate, specifically our people. When you operate out of abundance and give back to people, it comes back to you tenfold. There's room for all of us. This is a community effort, community means everything to us and it can't be a community if there's just two of us at the top. We need all y'all too! It's a party, pull up!

"This is a community effort, community means everything to us and it can't be a community if there's just two of us at the top. We need all yall too, it's a party, pull up!"

When you envision the community you are shaping with the podcast, what does a safe and inclusive space for Black women look like to you?

We would have more creative authority, we would be valued. We would be seen and heard more. We could be paid more, there would be no tokenism. It looks like equality across the board.

Even though the pandemic has been a challenging time to navigate, you actually found love just days before the nation shut down in a “shoot your shot” kind of way. Could you tell us more about that?

Yes! I was out to eat with my homegirl and went to the bathroom and I walked pass this guy who gave me the stare of life. I'm sitting behind him and he's turning around the whole brunch looking at me. So before I left, I wrote my number down on a napkin and said, "Text me if you want later." And he did! We've seen each other every day since March 11th.

They say relationships are like holding a mirror up to yourself. What have you personally learned about yourself through this relationship?

That I am worthy of love. Fair love. Good love. Unconditional love. I think before this relationship, it always felt like I was in these battles with men. It always felt like I was trying to get them to see me and appreciate me and it was never working out. I was always that girl that felt like once I get a man to see how great I am, then he'll reciprocate and it never happened. Because at the time, I don't even think I even realized my worth.

So I've had someone come in who shows and tells me just how worthy I am, even more than I imagined I was. He's my partner; anything I need he does, but he tells me no and tells me when I'm wrong. It's also special to be around someone and them not get on your nerves. I grew up [as] an only child, so I need a lot of space. I have to be alone a lot, so the fact that we can vibe and be together all day speaks volumes for me.

What was the healing process like for you to get to a place where you could receive the love that was for you?


I've been in therapy for over a year now, and girl, it has changed my life! More importantly than that, I'm 34 and I just got saved. I have never in my life identified as Christian until now and I think that has also helped change the relationship I have with myself and my partner.

"There's no way for me to mess up whatever is meant for me. Maybe I needed that lesson, maybe that bad thing needed to happen so it could mold and shape me into the woman I am today. I have to let go and let God."

Courtesy of Vic Styles

One of your life mantras is “You can’t mess up your destiny.” What were the experiences in your life that led you to this lesson?

I felt like I made a lot of mistakes when I was younger, or at least that's what I was told. They'd say, "You're so smart, why'd you drop out of college? You shouldn't have done this or that." And as life kept happening and blessings kept falling into my lap, I kept saying to myself that even if I make a bad decision, I'll learn from it and grow from it. There's no way for me to mess up whatever is meant for me. Maybe I needed that lesson, maybe that bad thing needed to happen so it could mold and shape me into the woman I am today. If something is a no, it's for a reason, and that may not be revealed to me until much, much later, but I have to let go and let God.

For more on Vic Styles, follow her on Instagram here, and be sure to check out on the Kontent Queens Podcast.

Featured image courtesy of Vic Styles

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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