Blogging has come from being something that we do in our spare time to share personal experiences, to something that allows people to display their personalities and expertise with the world and create a name for themselves. Bloggers inspire and influence our lives all the time, from the way we dress to the products we buy. With new bloggers popping up every day we start to see a lot of imitation and burn out. But there is one particular blogger who has transformed her platform into a business and grew a following of over 100,000 on Instagram and Twitter combined. Patrice Yursik of Afrobella.com is to the natural hair and beauty blogging world, what Google is to the tech industry. This Chicago based writer has been named the Godmother of brown beauty blogging and has in many ways paved the way for some of our favorite beauty and natural hair influencers today.
Afrobella was created to celebrate women of all shapes, size and skin tones and operates by tagline “Be yourself, be natural, be beautiful.” On August 14th, Afrobella celebrated its 10 year anniversary and Patrice shared some of her most sacred memories of the humble beginnings of her blog with her audience. Yursik was living in Florida, with a day job as an editor at the local alt-weekly but something was missing for her. She longed for a platform that would allow her to share with others what she was passionate and knowledgeable about. It’s not that she hated her job, like most people who claim they want to do their own thing, but she just needed a way to let her creativity out. But after getting her first celebrity interviews and seeing how the industry she worked in was changing, she left her job in 2009 and never looked back.
With the blog being a full time job, Yursik was forced to rise to the occasion of being an influence in the eyes of natural girls everywhere. Afrobella has given her to the opportunity to host events, attend the Academy Awards and New York Fashion Week, and Yursik expresses the most gratitude for them all in her reflection on her blog. A lot of people who go into something without a plan or not knowing exactly what the outcome will be have become accustomed to learning as they go – and Patrice Yursik’s story was no different.
As someone who wanted to read about her beauty being affirmed, Yursik really had no idea that she would be someone who would be creating that content for other women.
Here are the ten factors that contributed to the success of decade old blog Afrobella, and what they mean to its creator:
Inspiration – Yursik’s inspiration for her blog before it launched came from a video of Josephine Baker singing “Haiti”, that she had seen on BET one night. “I just wanted people to see it and appreciate her beauty, to appreciate the time in which she lived and the irrepressible spirit of black beauty. So I did. I wanted to write about discovering my natural hair’s needs, so I did,” recounts Yursik.
Perspective – Knowing that her perspective is what makes her stand out in a now saturated industry is something that she doesn’t take for granted. She’s learned so much about life from doing what she does, so there’s a lesson in everything for her.
Discernment – Saying no is a perfectly, complete sentence. As you grow in your career and start to evolve, you cannot jump on every opportunity.
Faith – Yursik shared how having undying faith in herself and what she believed in is what got her through the tough times. There will be moments of self-doubt but the people who live out their dreams are the ones who pushed passed it.
Freedom – Being her brand full time has allowed Yursik the freedom to take on new projects in different directions and live life her way. She is free to accept or deny, to stay to to go and she will forever be grateful for that.
Friends – You don’t go through ten years of connecting to women all over the country without making some good friends on the way. “The sisterhood blogging has brought me is stronger than words can say,” Yursik acknowledged.
Community – Having started a blog to see the reflection of her beauty out in the world, it’s enough to get Yursiik emotional each and every time someone tells her out in the public how much she inspires them.
My voice – “I’m not the flashiest, I’ve got my own style. I’m not the loudest, I don’t like to talk over people. But when I do choose to speak up, I’m one of the most considered. I take my time and take what I have to say seriously. I know now that my words have weight. That weight has come from doing the work,” said Yursik.
The Work – Yursik is really excited about the work she does because she gets to see the effect of having an advocate for women of color and natural hair in mainstream media. And although there is a long way to go, she will never stop doing the work that has made such a difference in how Black women view their features and textures.
The Future - She doesn’t know what will come next or what to expect but she will always be Afrobella. After a decade of being consistently true to her brand, she has no doubt that the future will be even brighter.
The impact Afrobella has made is everlasting and will never be forgotten. Afrobella has been featured in Black Enterprise, Woman’s Wear Daily, Essence Magazine, Glamour, Fast Company and more. She’s partnered with the likes of MAC, Lancome, Microsoft, Proctor & Gamble, and AOL’s Black Voices. With over 10 online awards, and numerous prestigious speaking engagements, it’s clear to see the hard work and dedication that went into Afrobella. It’s truly amazing how something that started as a passion project can touch the lives of so many people.