In this Influencer Spotlight Interview, I had the pleasure of speaking with Kinya Claiborne, an inspiring entrepreneur, ex-pat, and overall, change-maker!

During the interview, we discuss topics covering diversity and inclusion, the path to entrepreneurship, and experiences along the way that ultimately shaped Kinya into the person she is today!

So, grab a cup of your favorite beverage and enjoy the read…

 

 

HI: I see you as one of the top influencers in the space: from growing your own social platforms to being a thriving entrepreneur, you are truly making a mark in the world as a changemaker. 

I see you are the founder of Style and Society Magazine: a magazine that is changing the landscape of diversity in media through content. I’d love to know more about how and why this venture started for you? As well, can you share some of your learnings along the way? 

I was always interested in communications and even majored in mass communications in college! After college, I started out working in radio, tv news, and print journalism and gained a lot of perspective and experience. 

From these experiences, I realized I didn’t want to be in front of the camera but more behind the scenes. That is when I started venturing into PR with big fortune 100 companies – my first event being for Lous Vuitton and Kayne West! 

I then became inspired to create my own platform that focused on diversity and inclusion. I was highly aware that there was a lack of diversity when it came to people of color in the media. And being a woman of color myself and seeing things through that lens, I wanted to create a platform that celebrates diversity and inclusion. 

Behind the magazine name: Style means ‘LifeStyle’ and Society means ‘Connection’ – since my passion is to connect a community, specifically a diverse one. 

 

 

HI: I’d love to expound more on your passions for Fashion, Travel, and Lifestyle – What are some key ways you feel you are making a difference in the influencer community and the brands you partner with? 

When the BLM movement happened in 2020 it really forced a lot of businesses to really look at marketing efforts and how they allocate dollars/ question themselves if they are truly being diverse and inclusive. 

Every opportunity I have I see as opening the door for people of color. I’ve done campaigns that are truly unconventional for women and people of color. When I share the types of brands I work with that fall outside of normal partnerships, it inspires women and people of color to expand their reach. 

 

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?

Due to the events of last year, specifically amplifying black voices – BLM wasn’t a moment, it is a movement, so my content has shifted to continue to amplify black voices. I have also had to also shift my content since all award shows and movie premieres have been canceled and turned into more virtual experiences. 

The companies behind the events I typically attend in person are getting more innovative though and through that, I am able to share different virtual and/or drive-in experiences via video content, IG lives, etc to keep my followers involved throughout the different events. 

Since the shutdown, there has been a reemergence of travel boards, hotels, etc. I have been involved with a ton of travel campaigns with brands like Southwest airlines – I did a campaign with them by taking a flight across the country to showcase how to travel during the pandemic, giving more insight to my followers on safety precautions along with travel guides on the Style and Society website. 

 

 

HI: I’d love to know more about your fashion and lifestyle blog. What are some main content topics you find yourself gravitating towards? 

It is a balance of news-driven content, gift guides, travel guides, etc. – but overall, the magazine is there to educate the readers. Style and Society is an editorial-driven magazine – so all the content is sleek, professional, and editorial-driven. 

The Magazine is made up of photographers, social media gurus, and journalists from all over the world. Making Style and Society more than just a brand but a community

 

HI: What tips, tricks, and/or advice can you give fellow creators in the space that have helped you the most to not only secure brand deals but to stay grounded during this uncertain time? 

Take a step back from the influencer focus and become an entrepreneur first! 

If you’re looking to be an influencer, you should shift your focus to being an entrepreneur instead. Remember, you don’t own any content you put on Youtube, Instagram, or other social platforms – so any content you create you should make sure to have your own business/website to add it to and then utilize social media as a marketing arm to promote your content. 

The hardest part about starting a business is actually doing it. Putting the action behind the words. If you really want to be an influencer or entrepreneur just start creating. That is all it takes! 

Also, if you’re new to this space use Instagram as your Rolodex, it is a black book for addresses, emails, and phone numbers for every brand you want to work with. Just reach out and start tagging favorite brands to get them to notice you. 

 

 

HI: What are some ways you’ve stayed balanced during this pandemic, spiritually and emotionally? 

With so many of us living in isolation and quarantine, it is really important to check in on your friends, family, and co-workers. Just because they look happy on social media doesn’t mean they actually are. So, I encourage everyone to pick up the phone and check in on these people. It could save their life. 

To keep myself centered daily, I make sure to have a schedule and set goals for myself. Especially for social media, I schedule times in the day I am on and make sure to have enough time away from it. 

My outlook and motto in life are, I work really hard but I play even harder. I like to keep the balance! 

 

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

Really stay current on the trends as it relates to social media. For example, video content is super hot right now, so if you’re not doing it, you should be. 

Ensure you stay current on the platforms so you continue to stay relevant. And make sure to post at least once a day, engage your audience, and set goals for yourself to help grow your audience!