Q&A with founder of Vain Glamor: Ifeoluwa Ayoola-Ladapo
Written by: Sarah Chase
What kinds of articles have you written for your blog and what are the goals for different ones?
I mainly focus on beauty and fashion but I do find ways to incorporate culture and lifestyle. For example my last post was about how Versace made runway history by including plus size models in their runway; that’s fashion with culture tied in.
My goal for Vain Glamor is to make sure Black women are seen and heard which is something that doesn’t really happen in the media. Whether it’s including a lot of Black women in my images or simply writing about and incorporating Black owned brands into my posts, I want Blackness to be normalized in the media, but until then I will continue to do my part and make it a standard on my blog.
You mentioned pitching your ideas to editors because you felt they needed diversity.
Why is that and why do you think diversity is important?
The media does Black people absolutely no justice and as a journalism student I see and witness first hand how they discredit, and alienate Us from the limelight. I think the media has done a good job of tricking society into thinking Black women don’t deserve to be the face of beauty or fashion and don’t belong in high-end or luxury, when that’s not the case. When people do their research they’ll find there are quite a number of Black-owned luxury brands, but because they’re not Italian or French it gets pushed to the side and only gets remembered when there’s a movement like what’s happening now. There aren't enough Black people in the media to advocate for other Black people and Black brands, therefore no one really cares.
There’s a lot of performative action happening right now which is good for publicity but what happens when the movement dies down. Personally, I’m tired of waiting for others to change, when I know I am capable of creating the change I want to see. If they aren’t going to create a seat at the table for us while using our recipe, it’s time for us to bring out our own table and chairs. When there’s more diversity in the frontline we can create our own narrative without worrying about misrepresentation or lack of representation.
How did you come up with the name for your blog?
I’ve always been into all things beauty and fashion, but more so beauty, and I have always cared about my looks and in turn I would either be called vain or insecure, and I’m sure other women can relate. Me caring about my looks shouldn’t have me labeled as vain, me wanting to wear makeup or have my hair and nails done shouldn’t have me labeled as insecure. I genuinely love these things and I do it for myself and I think other people are quick to judge women who like to look glam, so Vain Glamor was really just me taking ownership and reclaiming the word vain and glamor.
Why do you believe representation of Black women should be normalized?
When I was younger I loved to read magazines and books that pertained to fashion and beauty and as a young dark skinned girl I almost never saw someone like me and when I did, the Black girl or women just never looked as good as the others, she would look basic and that did a lot negatively for my self-image. I wanted to be lighter, skinnier and have straight hair, because I thought if I didn’t have this I wasn’t pretty enough. Luckily as I got older I was culturally surrounded with more Blackness so I wasn’t too affected by whether or not I saw a lot of it in the media, because I saw it and was surrounded by it in real life.
Not everyone has that opportunity, and it is extremely damaging to one's self esteem when it seems like society wants them to change everything about their appearance to be considered or in my case, there is no representation of yourself so you don’t feel significant. Knowing that you’re being seen and heard is important in everything whether it’s within a workplace or in society. I don’t think it’s normal to alienate a whole set of people from the media and I’m not sure when society decided to accept that, but I’m not accepting it and as a blogger and a journalist I will continue to do everything in my power to bring limelight on Black people in every way.
What motivates you to keep writing for your blog?
When you’re doing something you want to do and you know your why behind it, it’s not hard to motivate yourself because everything becomes intentional. I love writing and I love what I write about, and I’ve found a passion through blogging that has led to goals I need to accomplish, so that driving force is what keeps me motivated.
How do you balance being a college student and writing for your blog?
Having classes online because of covid-19 has definitely helped, I’m not sure if I would have been able to juggle my blog and classes if everything was normal. The struggle for me has been more so my social life, with me being a senior in college and then devoting the rest of my time to my blog, I haven’t really been able to give as much of myself to my personal relationships. I only have 100% of myself to give out, and right now my blog is getting a lot of attention. I’m extremely passionate about it and I feel like I’ve found purpose through it.
What are your future plans for your blog? What do you hope to accomplish?
I hope to reach an audience and gain support of thousands if not millions of women, while continuing to stay true to my mission of having Black women and other women of color in the forefront of my blog. In a way, I’m treating my blog as a business and this is just one of many business ventures I plan on starting.
What are your favorite types of blog posts to write?
While I do love beauty and fashion, my journalism heart also loves a good culture post with research behind it and possible interviews. I love talking about systemic racism, privilege, internalized superiority and capitalism. I think we see enough in the news, and I want VainGlamor to be more of an escape than a burden. I have a space on Medium that I use for my more “political” writing.
In what ways does your blog motivate or provide a safe place for black women?
Like I mentioned earlier, seeing Blackness is a common standard on VainGlamor. A good amount of the brands I write about are Black-owned, if I post anything with images, at least 60% of the images are Black women. I want Black women and all women to get comfortable seeing diverse representation in not just regular beauty and fashion but also high-end and luxury. There’s not that many spaces for that right now, constantly putting Black women on the back burner. When I created VainGlamor it was because I wanted to see a diverse blog that included and focused on Black women in luxury and high-end beauty and fashion.
What would you say to anyone who wanted to start their own blog?
Just go for it! Don’t listen to anyone who tells you it’s oversaturated, because the truth is everything is oversaturated. Stay true to yourself and strive to become the best that you can be in anything that you do.