Remember the time I shared with you guys the ways I use social media, especially Twitter? Well, it seems incredible to even type these words, but Twitter did its magic and put me in touch with some wonderful souls yesterday night.
A couple of days ago, while I was taking a pause between my homework, I came across Nandi’s post, hosting a networking event in Manhattan. As an Essence reader, I was super happy to the idea that I could actually meet in person an Essence writer and get together with other people in the editorial and fashion industry together, in the same venue, at the same time. Oh well, I took the blessing and made it a reality. I went to the event and it was amazing!
Along with Leah Hill, Nandi was able to gather a solid group of creatives – writers, models, artists – who were given the chance to interact with different people from various industries and cultural backgrounds. The event was sponsored by a series of black-owned hair care products. Every guests was able to get their own bag of goods at the end of the one and only panel, with Brooklyn duo Lauren and Merlyn.
I had the chance to meet several people from Houston, college students like myself into fashion and music, models, talent managers, and other fashionable journalists: what a great way to start February and Black History Month. The whole night was an aurea of black girl magic with and I felt welcomed. Thanks Nandi!
Many people, especially college students and new graduates, ask me how do I find such cool events, how do I connect with people with great vibes, and how I maintain the connections with them. Two words: social media.
Since my first year at Hofstra University, campus life has been a reality in my daily existence. I depend lots on my academic calendar and as a college student, my finances are not always at their highest desires. However, as a fashion lover and creative-multimedia journalist, I’m always looking to great and vibrant events in the city. As some of you already know, my college experience has been a very peculiar one and I’ve always tried to take the best out from both my campus and urban experiences in NYC, in the fashion industry. I genuinely love meeting new people, because I believe that everyone is a storyteller in their own way and I can learn from them, 24/7. So where do I meet people, people’s stories? Where do I find the sources for my blog, my ideas, my writing?
Real talk: you don’t meet new people, with good vibes, with your same exact interests, casually in the streets of Manhattan. No. I mean, it’s NYC, so you can be blessed with such a marvelous encounter. But most of the times, if you want to go out, meet new people, and feel less intimidated of the new town/industry/place-in-your-life, you have to push yourself out and attend events. Especially if you’re a curly flower like me.
Building a solid community and habits on my Twitter and Instagram accounts has been beneficial and a major plot-twist in my career of freelancer, creative, and college student. The tools I was given, including this blog, allowed me to keep up with the creative scene not only in New York, but also Los Angeles, Atlanta, and other cities in Italy and Brazil. In three full years, my connections in New York have seen some ups and downs, because here you are another real talk: not everyone that you’re gonna meet is gonna be forever nice to you and sometimes boundaries are necessary between each other. However, most of the people I got to know in the editorial and fashion world have inspired me, grown along with me, and most importantly believed in me.
So what do I actually do to find these souls in these crazy, colorful, gigantic industries?
- I am myself all the time, no matter who I have in front of me. Do I need to explain this? Nah 🙂
- I don’t sugar coat or exaggerate anything regarding my work. What I’ve done it’s out there, and what I’ve not completed, I still haven’t it yet. It’s in the process, but no shame in telling “I’m working on X project”, rather than selling it as already done. People are able to see your honesty and professionalism at the same time.
- I create my pitch. I’m a business. I treat myself like one. As a writer, I ponder and give meaning to every single word you use. As a model, I show my mindset. As a creative, I share my interests in a passionate and detailed way. I know my details, you can fact-check whatever I say.
- I dress within my comfort, never to impress. Plot twist: I’ll impress people by showing them how comfortable I am in my clothes.
- I’m more of a listener than a speaker. Probably because it’s the innate nature of a polyglot, to actually enjoy listening to others. But I also like listening because it gives me more time to shape my narrative. After a verbal exchange I can offer a piece of information that the other might be into, can serve to them, more than other stuff I’d be able to share. In other words, I listen because I want to show my respect to whoever I have in front of me.
- I let the conversations flow. In a span of five minutes I can go from one subject to another and reconnect everything to what I initially said. I never lose track of what I’m saying.
- I’m honest. If I space out, I ask politely to repeat themselves. It’s in the human nature to sometimes put a silent mode in your ears, especially in crowded spaces. I’m also an Aquarius, does it mean something? If the conversations turns out dull, I find ways to get myself out of that situation. It happens. Nobody’s fault.
- Make eye-contact. Coming from a Latin culture, I tend to kiss on the cheeks or hug a person when I first meet them. In the US sometimes this is not the best way to approach to people. In three years I’ve learnt such, but I also know now when and where I can be more Italian than in other scenarios. It’s just a matter of being present in the moment and realize what and what not to do.
I wasn’t born with these manners. I made them my own. I had to engage connections with people and attend many workshops, fashion shows, cyphers, concerts, networking events, in order to understand how to move in this worlds, in journalism and fashion.
After a whole month spent in Italy, I finally came back to New York and started off February with a new confident tone. I’m embracing my stories and I’m ready to make great connections, always with the intention to inspire and spread good vibes.
Thank you Nandi and Leah. As my first 2020 event, I think that this one set the bar pretty high and yes: ready to do more now!
Stay tuned for NYFW. I can’t wait to see what’s in store.
the curly flower