Saturday, March 19, 2016

Hello there,
It's a new week and I thought to share an inspiring story to keep you psyched for the new week. I'm back with another feature from "The Story Behind The Journey Series". Remember our first feature HERE. I really like features because it helps you get to know people's  stories and views and appreciate them better. I've been a fan of the "MakeUpForMelaninGirls" Instagram account for a while now and I did admire how this account apart from trying to promote colored beauty bloggers also let women of color all over the world know how beautiful they are. This is something of importance as there has been a lot of controversy in the world of beauty about dark skin. Who says your passion can't be something more?
 So today we have Tomi Gbeleyi,( a woman who turned her love for makeup for women of color into so much more) the mind behind all of this tell us the back story:

 How did Makeup for Melanin Girls Start (
I was actually  busy with another project called Africa is Not a Country when the Makeup for Melanin Girls idea was born. Africa is Not a Country is a tshirt company I launched in to challenge the misconception that Africa is all about safaris and poverty. As part of promotion for the company I was spending a lot of time on social media platforms, specifically Instagram. I enjoyed watching the popular 15 second tutorials on Instagram but started to notice I was seeing mostly white women featured on the pages I visited.

From the aggregate feeds to the actual makeup company pages, there were maybe 2 black girls for every 15 white girls featured, if there were any black women featured at all. I started to do a little more digging and realized  in the top 10 makeup pages there were hardly any black women featured. This is not reflective of the large number of established and upcoming black gurus that upload content to youtube everyday so I decided to create my own platform.

What the journey has been like so far 

 I work full time as a consultant for an educational publishing company in a role that involves  dealing with a multiple clients in different timezones on a daily basis so needless to say it's been an interesting challenge trying to balance everything. I think that's just the kind of person I am though, as an undergrad I was also involved in several roles like being the President of the African Student Union, an active contributor to University newspaper & radio, an  international student mentor and a faculty mentor. I am engaged person by nature and always trying to create new platforms or initiatives. The good thing about balancing the project with my full time job is that I have a very supportive team that loves the mission of  Makeup for Melanin Girls. That helps a lot because its not this big secret I have to hide or anything. They even celebrate milestones with me like when I hit my first 10k or when the website first launched. Interestingly, they are all of diverse backgrounds but they  understand that a platform like MFMG is an important platform for women of colour.

Where do I see MFMG
The feature in a respected, internationally renowed publication like The  New York Times was amazing but also a reminder that all the work I put into the Makeup for Melanin Girls website and Instagram platform is not in vain. Our voices as black women and black consumers must be heard by makeup companies and we can create change on a large scale.

In the best case scenario, I would love to have my own makeup company tailored to the needs of Melanin Girls but the one thing my entrepreneurial journey so far as taught me is that you can only plan so far ahead. I was busy with a different project when the idea for Makeup for Melanin Girls started so you just never know.

She also writes for She Leads Africa and your readers can find her articles here

Feel free to drop your comments on turning your passion into something more. If you would love to be featured on this segment, with a story to share? Feel free to shoot me an email.
Also visit their Instagram and learn a lot about your colored skin and make up.
 Have an amazing week
With Love,
Valerie ❤️

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  1. Thank you sooo much for this interview Valerie!! Appreciate it :)

  2. Very inspirational, I love the MFMG page. Well who doesn't!

  3. Very inspiring interview and I need to check out their ig page. Thanks for sharing