When I met Ms. Cassidy Blackwell, I knew that she was in her element. We were in downtown San Francisco finishing up a live event at Bloomingdales and we were both “working the room”. By now you guys know I’m all about networking and meeting great entrepreneurs and business owners at any chance that I get. While talking to Ms. Blackwell, it was easy to realize that she is not only a rising star in the blogosphere; she’s also someone that is a testament to doing something that you love and reaping the rewards.
Cassidy’s extremely popular website “Natural Selection” has become one of the most highly trafficked sites in terms of natural hair, and all things empowerment for women in fashion. What I found even more powerful was how actively engaged she is with her target audience; Cassidy has developed a family type atmosphere within her community that is so strong, I’ve literally been asked “how did she do it”? So of course, I figured what better way than to ask the budding phenom herself!
1. How did you get started blogging, and why do you think you have such a faithful following?
I started my blog in July of 2009 when I decided to take the plunge and go natural. From the beginning, I’ve allowed readers to experience my true and authentic journey. I think that people consistently read my blog because not only is it candid, but I allow my personality to show through. I also try to keep things accessible for a wide audience and share personal things about myself and my individual journey that allows people to truly connect with me. What you’ll find is that my blog is on the surface about natural hair, but dig a little deeper and it’s about exploration of self, culture and identity through the lens of a 20-something who is trying to figure it all out.
2. When you started your blog, did you intend for it to take on the huge & consistently growing following that you have now?
Absolutely not! I intended to write it and have my friends and maybe my mom read it on occasion. The fact that it is still alive and thriving humbles me each and every day.
3. You cater to a very powerful, yet specific market- do you think that there is a double standard in corporate America against the “natural” look?
There is a particular standard, but I often see that it is a standard that we as African American women set for ourselves and allow corporate America to follow suit. We have been for decades internalizing this idea that our natural hair is not acceptable, and I believe that we set this standard before anybody else did. If a black woman goes into a board room confidently wearing her hair natural, nobody will bat a lash. It’s when we let that insecurity creep in that, it becomes a “thing”. It’s up to us to set our own standards for ourselves first and foremost.
There are a lot of people who say that natural hair is untidy and unkempt, but that is true of any hair. If you don’t take the time to brush and wash long, straight blonde hair it’s the same thing as not taking the time to care for natural hair. Making an effort to keep up with your appearance is the most important thing you can do for your professional image regardless of ethnicity or hair texture.
4. How big of a business is the industry of “natural beauty”
Today it’s absolutely massive. You’re seeing a lot more natural hair products on the market place and that’s because a lot of the large brands and retailers have recognized this shift we’ve seen towards natural hair. To be recognized as a movement on such a large scale makes me believe that natural hair is definitely here to stay.
5. If you could give advice to a room full of women considering altering their looks for a better shot at chasing their dreams, what would you tell them?
That it may not be a dream worth pursuing. I don’t believe that one should sacrifice the identity they were born with to pursue their dream and to fit in a particular mold. As I said before, set your own standard of beauty, excellence, achievement and in the long term you will be rewarded for that.
Thank you Cassidy!!!
**Now guys you know we’re going to have to have her back on in full audio format right? leave a comment if you agree!**
**As always, if you find the contents of this blog helpful or inspiring, we ask that you share the page with your network, and leave a comment so we know what it is you’re looking for and how we can help**