It’s time for our monthly Influencer Spotlight Interview! In this monthly series, we aim to provide our influencer community with valuable insider information about the industry.

This month I sat down with Cynthia Andrew of @simplycyn –> A lawyer turned fashion, foodie & travel blogger who has always had a passion for inspiring + sharing her journey!

She specializes in the art of being able to share her journey through fashion, food, and travel in a way that inspires and cultivates trends. She has been mentioned in several fashion magazines including Elle, for her fashion + travel tips and continues to share her journey with her followers throughout her pregnancy and all of life’s twists and turns in 2020.

Intelligent with a sense of fashion and travel, Cynthia Andrew gives her followers content that is authentic and relatable to help make them their best selves! Continue reading as she answers questions geared towards the influencer community and gives valuable insights on what’s to come.

 

 

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HI: You’ve gained quite a following! What got you started on the fashion, foodie, and travel influencer journey? Tell us more about how you realized this would be your direction (path) in becoming influential.

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Well, I started over 10 years ago and the entire concept of being an ‘influencer’ was unheard of. There were a handful of big-time bloggers starting to emerge but that was definitely not the norm. I literally started blogging as a creative outlet from my day job (at the time, an attorney in the Trust & Estates Litigation Division of my agency) and I just needed a way to express the other things I found interesting, from fashion to travel and everything in between. Growth was slow but steady and there was always one more thing to share which is why even when it seemed like no one was paying attention, I didn’t give up.

As time went on, my following grew and I either went after opportunities myself (pitching airlines, hotels, travel companies, writing for other blogs like Travel Noire) or those opportunities started to present themselves to me.  To be honest, I still take each day as it comes, as an opportunity to tell a story, to inspire, to bring color and joy to someone even in just in the form of a picture or a short video.

HI: As an avid follower and supporter, I couldn’t help but notice and appreciate the consistent inspiration, tips, tricks, and overall positive outlook you’ve had during this current global pandemic. For me personally, it has helped a ton! 

I’d love to know more about the steps you’ve been taking to not only inspire but transition/ shift your content during this time?

I can only be me. And the only thing that has taken me from law school to full-time attorney while writing and pitching at nights and while traveling on weekends or days off, has been doing my best to have a positive outlook each and every time. I don’t want that to be confused with naivety or being flippant about the reality we’re in. I think we all need to do what’s necessary to stay sane when it feels like so much is broken.

For me, this means that the content I always shared is even more important- sharing images of a woman that looks like me as a career professional, as a traveler, as intelligent and focused and hard working.  I want to continue to inspire those that are younger than me to see and seek their true potential, I want to be an example of what is possible.

 

 

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HI: With our current state of events, what types of brands do you find yourself aligning with as of late? 

From what I have seen, it looks like you’ve been aligning yourself with brands that can truly make a difference during this time AND have changed the narrative of your content to more so align with the times. Please tell us more about this approach! 

Working in the influencer space as a black woman, in many ways has mirrored being a black female attorney. You’re sometimes one of a few in the room and you feel pressure to not stir up too much trouble because we know what the assumptions there will be.

This movement has really allowed so many of us in the influencer space who have been accustomed to navigating in white spaces, the opportunity to speak up on so much that we had been feeling or whispering to each other. Truth is Power and there is even more power when it is unified.

On blackout Tuesday, I reached out to my agency and informed them that I would not be an ally to any brand or company that is not an ally to my people. We decided on a strategy for not only reviewing a brand’s public history but also requesting detailed information on their current and future efforts. I was happy to see that some of my long time partners have taken a strong stance on BLM and have committed to significant business and cultural changes. I know nothing happens overnight- I know this is a marathon and not a sprint.

I am however declining collaborations with any brands that in my opinion appear to be playing lip service. I will continue to support the black-owned brands- from home decor to fashion that I always supported and I’m using this opportunity to actually familiarize myself with more such brands both locally and globally.

 

 

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HI: Many influencers are finding themselves out of brand deals due to the halt in influencer marketing budgets. What has helped you most in gaining & keeping brand deals?

The global pandemic that is COVID  has been a tough time across industries and budgets have definitely been slashed. And this is where past relationships with brands are important and I have been able to try to cash in on those relationships to see what is possible with a reduced budget.

I’ve also been flexible around pushing out dates and asking that I be considered for campaigns later in the year when budgets open up again.  Lastly, not everyone slashed their budgets- at-home fitness, at-home food services, cleaning products, skincare, etc, are still actively signing up folks for a variety of brand deals.

HI: What tips, tricks, and/or advice can you give fellow influencers that have helped you the most to stay grounded during this global pandemic? 

Always remember the long game- why are you doing this and then keep doing it. This pandemic shall pass, this moment shall pass and you can’t let it paralyze you. Keep working on your content, on your relationships, on diversifying your platforms. There’s a lot you can do.

This is also an excellent opportunity to just create your best content without the added pressure or limitations of sponsored content. And if you do a  really good job, then you may find that once those budgets do open up, there’ll be a line of brands just waiting to work with you.

 

 

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HI: I’ve noticed you are expecting and have been sharing the journey of your pregnancy so far! Congratulations! Do you plan on sharing your motherhood journey once your little ones arrive? If so, will this change the brands you choose to align with to more fit being a mother?

Thanks so much! My influencer journey and evolution has been natural and has mirrored where I am in life. At this moment, I don’t know what the future holds or how having twins will affect my life and what I’m interested in. I’m open to whatever comes and will take it one day at a time.  I have no specific plans at this time to pivot but I can imagine that being a mother may change that. I am super excited to travel with them, so yeah- that first trip is going to be interesting…

HI: Tell us some of your predictions for the ‘influencer’ world: What changes do you see happening in the influencer industry within the next couple of years? 

We’re already seeing a shift in the influencer space, where a micro-influencer can be just as valuable if not more than a mega influencer. Brands are looking for authentic connections to consumers; or as we know them, everyday folks- your friends and family. And for that reason, I think there will be room for even more people.

Also, we’re still seeing budgets shift from traditional advertising (TV, magazines, billboards) to influencer marketing, I don’t think we’re anywhere near the peak. Even if the platform changes, even if Instagram went away tomorrow, those eyeballs will simply shift to a new platform which is why your content is more important than a single platform. 

 

 

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HI: Final question: Lastly, for aspiring influencers (or those on the rise), what are some tips for success & advice you can give them? 

  • Content is King- prioritize your content
  • Relationships are everything: find a community, find people you can truly and fully support and they will support you too. You get what you give, you get back what you put out.
  • Business – if this is a business then treat it as such.
  • Skills – keep learning, keep getting better, invest in your skills- whether that is a video or photo editing, creating and circulating newsletters, or designing your website. For the areas, you just can’t do- outsource it to someone who can.
  • Overnight success: this is rare, so very rare. Don’t be discouraged. I have to remind people, it took me 6-7  years of blogging for anyone to pay me a dime. I could have never imagined the financial rewards I would reap from all the hard work, dedication, and patience.