“My End Goal Is To Always Uplift The Stories & Celebrate Women Of Color Who Often Times Lack Visibility In Media”
A Conversation with Lifestyle & Wellness Blogger Amani Richardson
“I continue to share my story and highlight the ‘In Betweens.’ This means making sure to bring transparency through all of my endeavors and achievements. On social media, most people leave out the ‘hustle’ or the ‘grind time’ they put in to get to where they are now; everyone always wants to highlight the good, but what about the bad or indifferent? I believe I’d be doing a disservice to my supporters if I didn’t openly showcase the struggles or setbacks I’ve encountered — this is how I bring goodness to the world. I wholeheartedly believe in encouraging those around me to not to skip any steps on their journey, but to take their time and have fun on the road. The more you take your time and celebrate your process, the more gratitude and kindness you can share with yourself and others once you’ve reached a new goal.”
I had the pleasure to interview Amani Richardson. Amani is a Lifestyle & Wellness Blogger, the Editor at Sad Girls Club and is a Mentor at MoxxieMade. Amani recently graduated from Southern Connecticut State University, and is the owner of Amanirakeia.com
Thank you so much for joining us! What is your “backstory”?
I feel like my life began the moment I attempted to end it. As a teenage girl, I wore the brightest smile the world could ever see, but I was also filled with so much darkness. There was a part of me that didn’t know how to let go or internalize pain or rejection. It wasn’t until the age of 16 that the lightbulb went off and I begin to find my light. At 16, I created my first website and focused on writing poetry. As I continued to write from such a vulnerable place, I started noticing a number of women contacting me sharing similar stories with me. Most of my poems highlighted my depression, suicidal thoughts and finding a way to heal and move on from heartbreak. Fast forward, now in my 20 somethings, I’ve refocused my writing on self-help, while also continuing to highlight my own personal experiences. I still battle depression and anxiety, but now I’ve found my voice. I wanted to find the light within me so I started applying myself. Any opportunity I’ve seen for the growth of my writing and creativity has been an opportunity I’m willing to take. Hence I’ve taken on the role as Editor in Chief at the Sad Girls Club, Blogger and Intern with EveryStylishGirl. My end goal is to always uplift the stories and celebrate women of color who often times lack visibility in media.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you’ve worked at Sad Girls Club?
One of the most interesting experiences as Editor at the Sad Girls Club has been having the opportunity to meet and interview Lauren Ash (Founder of Black Girl In Om) about mental health and creativity as a tool for self-understanding. Prior to meeting Lauren Ash, I had written down on my list of things to do in my 20s was to meet Lauren and to contribute to her online publication, Black Girl In Om. And when the stars all align and the opportunity presents itself, I was granted more than the opportunity to interview her, but also hangout and have dinner, which was such an honor and humbling experience.
What do you think makes the Sad Girls Club stand out?
The fact that we’re curating real life experiences for everyone to find a safe space and get real about the depths of mental health makes us stand out from any other organization. Recently, we held our ‘Summer Lovers’ event, which included workshops on how mental health can affect your physical health, ways to cope and reduce anxiety. At prior events, we brought in licensed therapists to hold discussions and just be a resource for young girls, who may not have the monetary funds to seek a therapist on their own. The Sad Girls Club is committed to changing the landscape of mental health by continuing to highlight our supporters stories and have no problem getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Nana Agyemang, founder of EveryStylishGirl and content strategist at Refinery29. Without Nana taking a bet on me and believing in my drive and ability to bring great content to her brand as her Social Media/Beauty Intern, I would not have ended up in spaces that have ultimately changed my life. Because of Nana, I have had the opportunity to do an Instagram takeover R29 Unbothered for my dream publication — Refinery29, interview and develop such a special friendship with Lauren Ash of Black Girl In Om and explore the Refinery29 office and meet such amazing creatives and writers within the publication. So many amazing opportunities have come my way simply because she believes in my commitment to following my dreams and making them my reality.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
Yes, I am currently working on my next endeavor, which is a podcast! I won’t reveal too much, but just know it’s a podcast that all women journeying through their 20 somethings never knew they needed until the first episode drops. With that being said, I’m looking for kick-ass 20 year olds in the tri-state area to join me in delivering real, honest and flirty content for world to listen to!
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I continue to share my story and highlight the ‘In Betweens.’ This means making sure to bring transparency through all of my endeavors and achievements. On social media, most people leave out the ‘hustle’ or the ‘grind time’ they put in to get to where they are now; everyone always wants to highlight the good, but what about the bad or indifferent? I believe I’d be doing a disservice to my supporters if I didn’t openly showcase the struggles or setbacks I’ve encountered — this is how I bring goodness to the world. I wholeheartedly believe in encouraging those around me to not to skip any steps on their journey, but to take their time and have fun on the road. The more you take your time and celebrate your process, the more gratitude and kindness you can share with yourself and others once you’ve reached a new goal.
Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
All About Love by Bell Hooks. This book has greatly changed my perspective and definition of love. Love is not just something we say to someone when we develop intimate feelings for them, but it is the commitment to the nourishment and growth of one’s spirit. Since getting my hands on this book, I have daily check-ins with myself and ask, “In what way did I commit to nourishing the growth of my mind, body and spirit?” One of my highlights from this book is when Bell Hooks identifies the difference between loving and caring actions. Anyone has the ability to care for someone or something, but in order to elevate and live a life of love, one must constantly, consistently and always commit to their actions unto another. After all, love is an action and requires more than sweet words to persuade you.
How did you get started with mentoring?
I got involved with MoxxieMade by just being a woman who isn’t afraid to showcase my vulnerability, which ultimately leads to many of my supporters challenging themselves to welcome vulnerability into their everyday lives, too.
The community that MoxxieMade has offered me is just what the world needs more of. We need more spaces of women uplifting and celebrating each other through the thick of our very busy lives. The MoxxieMade community is the first community I will call home once I finally make the move to New York City. To challenge women to be vulnerable and step into heir courageousness is how we create the next generation of change agents. Each woman that MoxxieMade brings into the community is for sure a woman destined for all things beautiful in the world.
Is there a person in the world who you love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
Elaine Welteroth. Elaine Welteroth has become such pivotal influence as I navigate through my passion for journalism and digital marketing. Elaine has allowed me to realize that it’s not enough to simply have the knowledge or skill in a particular area of study, but instead it’s how you choose to use your skill to make a greater impact. As a Black woman who is not afraid to embrace my vulnerability and get real about myself and the world around me, Elaine has inspired me to challenge my stories and content delivery. Elaine has always made me question how I choose to show up for myself and my brand in the world. I’ve learned from Elaine that it’s not enough to just write a story, but you must also lead your thoughts and ink on the paper with compassion, authenticity and love. In order to create great stories or have great interviews, you must know your why and be willing to challenge others and help them find their why by asking questions of the heart. The questions that forces someone to take a moment and really sit with themselves before giving a response. Breakfast with Elaine, chatting about self care and how we show up for one another as Black women in the age of social media, over warm waffles and mimosas is a dream I’m willing to replay every night.