Where Are The Women Of Color On Influencer Trips?

Shanna (AKA Shanna) is a Richmond, VA based blogger, TV style expert and freelance PR coordinator for Sarah Olivia Marketing. Follow her on Instagram @meeandminnie where she sometimes post outfits but mostly post IG stories of her cat. 

Brands not inviting a SINGLE woman of color influencer on press trips: a tale that’s as old as the times we were told to not wear white after Labor Day, that black and blue don’t match, mixing patterns is a no-no, and never be caught dead in a denim-on-denim ensemble. If these old and antiquated ideas about fashion have been put to rest, why not the idea of brands excluding influencers of color from their press trips or campaigns?

The issue surrounding a lack of diversity in the fashion influencer space is not a new one. It’s been spoken about at length, with major publications from BOF to Forbes penning essays about the need for equal representation. Over the past few years, major brands have been called to the carpet for lacking diversity in their campaigns. Brands from Athelta to BooHoo, to Revolve and the whole #revolvesowhite issue—something they have yet to address—have been the subject of diversity consumer researched articles, personal op-eds, and the wrath of social media about their blatant disregard of the need for diversity.  

Obviously, this is a problem. I could go the “POC want to be able to see themselves” route with my “why diversity matters” argument; according to a recent Google survey, 75% percent of black millennials want to see more diversity in ads. But I’m going to do you one better, because that argument seems to be falling on deaf ears. No matter the color of the person who spends it, money is green, and I was under the assumption that brands wanted money, so why the hell would you not want to include my skin color in your marketing material? According to a 2019 University of Georgia study, minority markets spend a combined $3.9 trillion dollars on everything from beauty to fashion to health and wellness. Of that, Hispanic Americans take the lead with $1.5 trillion in spending, African Americans with $1.3 trillion, Asian Americans with $1 trillion, and Native Americans with $115 billion. Dat’s a whole lotta green brands are missing out on if the aforementioned minorities decide to collectively not shop with brands who don’t showcase diversity. Whew chile! 


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How long you think it’s gonna take for the tree to realize I’m not a flower? | ? @sandyswaggerjones

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And I don’t want to downplay or make light of the feelings minority groups have when we’re not included in campaigns. It’s a painful reminder of the spaces we were once not welcome in, and in some cases, still aren’t. It keeps a nagging question in the back of our minds: “are we good enough?” The answer is hell yes, but the question lingers anyway. As a blogger, I find myself sometimes modeling after my white counterparts because maybe it will make me more marketable and help me land campaigns. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t! But when we express our disappointment at being excluded, we’re told we are overreacting, we need to get over it, and (what’s funny as sh*t to me) we are being racist! So I thought a lesson in consumer diversity was better illustrated on a financial level, since a human one seems to be going over some folks’ heads. 

Last week, Alicia Tenise, a D.C. based fashion and travel blogger, gave a mini Ted Talk about the lack of diversity on press trips. She stated she’d been invited on just two trip so far this year (need I remind you, 2019 is more than halfway over), despite having over 22,000 followers. Alicia then screenshotted pictures of press trips she’d seen with zero influencers of color, shared those pictures via her Twitter account, and it racked up 13,000 likes.

Since then, Alicia’s tweet has been the latest centerpiece of a number of articles discussing brand diversity over the past week. I’d sort of forgotten about Alicia’s tweet until another blogger I follow shared a shout-out from a blogger who happened to be on one of the press trips Alicia called out, which no WOC had attended. I decided to head to the brand’s account, @amaryllis_apparel, and leave a comment asking why no influencers of color were in attendance. No more than 10 minutes later did I find they deleted my comment…..the damn nerve, but not a surprising one.


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we don’t sweat, we sparkle ✨kicking off #AmaryllisAbroad Turks & Caicos with an amazing crew .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ .⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #myamaryllis #tropicalvibes #vacation #palmprint #tropical #summer #currentlywearing #ltkunder100 #ltkunder50 #fashionpost #summerfashion #bloggertrip #outfitideas #summerlook #instafashion #igstyle #summerootd #igstyle #ootd #ltkshoecrush #ltkit #weekendstyle #whowhatwearing #vacationstyle #dailystyle #todaysoutfit #contentcreator #ootdgals #stylesubmit #styleinfluencer

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Surely this was a slip of a finger, so I posted my comment again and sent them a DM with the same question. I then went on a mini IG Ted Talk of my own about the issue, again calling the brand out, and a few of my followers left comments of their own inquiring “Where the black gals at”????

Update: As of this article, @amaryllis_apparel has yet to respond to my comment or DM but had not deleted anything, so I guess that’s progress. 

So you agree? You think this is really f*cked up?

HOW CAN YOU BE AN ALLY, YOU ASK? Yes, white women, I’m speaking to you! I was asked this question, and my answer is simple: ask where the influencers of color are. Oh, you thought I was going to suggest marching out into the streets and protesting, burning the clothes on social media, or threatening to boycott? I mean, you can do all that if you want, but a simple ask would do the trick. When brands start to see the women they market to (white women) take issue with the lack of color, they will listen. For influencers who are being invited on these trips, speak up! Let them know you’re not comfortable working with a brand that doesn’t work to showcase diversity. Ask them what they are doing to be more inclusive. If you know an influencer of color who would be great for a campaign or press trip, tell that to the brand. 

But, ultimately, it’s up to the brands to decide that they want to listen to what their customers are telling them. Dear brands: diversity is not varying shades of tan on identical-looking white girls. Here are some ways to actually add diversity to your next press trip or campaign! 

It’s hard to showcase diversity in front of the camera if there is none behind it, so hire more minorities. I happen to be the PR coordinator for a digital marketing agency, so if you need help, hit me up. Shameless plug, yes, but the help is far from it!  

Instagram has these things called hashtags that I’m told I need to widen my visibility so people can find me. The ones I use, #ootdblackgirl, #wocblogger, #youbelongnow, and #browngirlbloggershave been helpful to me for finding other WOC influencers to follow, and I’m sure you can use them to find WOC influencers for your next campaign or press trip.

Did you know there are influencer marketing agencies that have been created just for WOC??? Brown Girl Bloggers, Black Girl Digital and SHADE are a few that come to mind, but I’m sure a quick Google search will yield more results.   

But if you have no desire to use any of my tips, do me a favor? When you knowingly make the decision to exclude influencers of color from press trips, campaigns, your Instagram feed, and website, KEEP THAT SAME ENERGY when you’re called out for it! When the comments section of an IG post is lit, your DM’s are bursting at the seams with questions, and you’re the latest subject of articles discussing a lack of diversity, don’t get silent, don’t ignore, don’t give us that tired-ass “We hear you, we value you and all our customers and will do better” bullsh*t. And for the love of God, don’t delete comments (third jab’s a charm @amaryllis_apparel)! The same energy you had choosing the influencers to invite on your trip is the same energy I want you to have doing damage control by sticking to that ignorance. It’s okay to say out loud that you don’t value me, because I already see it. 

I have no idea how long this latest round of  conversations calling for “more diversity” will be a hot topic, but just know, it should always be a hot topic until it’s become reality. 

And to @amaryllis_apparel, thank you for showing me what your true colors are—or in this case, lack thereof—by deleting my comment, not responding to my concerns, or giving me the standard “We hear you, we value you and all our customers and will do better” mess. I appreciate knowing where you stand and I will happily take my money elsewhere. I mean, Target has cuter swimsuits anyway! 

Shanna (AKA Shanna) is a Richmond, VA based blogger, TV style expert and freelance PR coordinator for Sarah Olivia Marketing. Follow her on Instagram @meeandminnie where she sometimes post outfits but mostly post IG stories of her cat. 


Images: AliciaTenise / Twitter

A Ridiculous Influencer Trip Is Happening This Weekend

There’s something that’s just so fascinating about influencers and the lives they lead. Like, who takes all their pictures? How much money are they really making? I think the reason we all love to rag on influencers is that what they do is ridiculous, but we’re all still a little bit jealous. I’m convinced it’s why so many people have been following Marissa Casey Fuchs’s “surprise” live engagement that unfolded on Instagram stories. It’s why we all felt a smug sense of satisfaction when Arii couldn’t sell enough clothes to launch her retail line. And it’s why I f*cking cannot even with Amaryllis, a fast fashion brand that is taking a bunch of influencers on an “immersive travel experience” called #AmaryllisAbroad, where, according to the press release I received, “like-mind influencers will network, grow their brands, cultivate relationships and create lasting memories.”

Ugh, barf. This sounds like the most obnoxious bachelorette party ever. Like, really, what is an “immersive travel experience”? Just call it a trip. That’s what it is. All travel is immersive, I’m pretty sure.

So here’s what’s happening. Amaryllis Apparel is taking eight influencers to Turks and Caicos. The influencers will stay in a 15-bedroom oceanfront villa (but why, if there are only 8 influencers?) and “participate in a fun-filled itinerary which includes horseback riding on the beach, sunset cruises, spa days and brunches on the beach.” First of all, I will forgive you, Amaryllis, for losing my invite in the mail my DMs. Second of all, damn, this sounds fun. I’m not bitter, you’re bitter!

As for the identities of the hateful lucky eight recipients of this incredible trip? We’ve got Ashlee Nichols (@ashleeknichols), who has 235K followers on Instagram; Ashley Hargrove (@dtkaustin), who boasts 139K followers; Caitlin Covington (@cmcoving), with a whopping 964K (I bet Caitlin is pissed to be on the same trip as these lowly 100K peasants); Dani Austin (@daniaustin), with 261K followers; Jessi Afshin (@jessi_afshin), who’s got 295K followers; Jordan Underwood (@jordanunderwood), who has 277K devoted fans; Savannah Roach (@savrosee), who has A MERE 23.7K people “asking about her hair routine” (seriously, how did she get on this trip); and finally, rounding out this list is Shea Leigh Mills (@shealeighmills), with 220K followers.

Let’s take a gander at the lucky ladies, shall we?


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Had the best time at the @tula product launch party! Loved seeing so many sweet girls and meeting the ladies behind the brand! Seriously such an amazing brand that I’m so thankful to represent! If y’all missed it, there is a new face filter primer that is AMAZING! Use the code ASHLEE20 for 20% off it and any other Tula products! I’m obsessed with everything! Also picked up this new under $60 dress after my breast milk mishap ? check my stories for a good laugh! #tula #tulaobsessed http://liketk.it/2CxMs #liketkit @liketoknow.it #LTKtravel #LTKunder50

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Spent most of the day running last minute errands for my Turks & Caicos trip in the most comfortable @timberland sandals EVER. I was searching for the perfect pair of summer sandals and hit the jackpot on @zappos! (Y’all know they offer free next day shipping, right?!) Now, the only thing missing in this pic is Mr. Steven Jalapeño and a glass of rosé! ?? Head to my Stories to see more details and to shop! A ton of y’all have messaged me saying your size already had sold out so HURRY and grab them before they’re ALL gone. #ad #gotitonzappos #Timberland

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Heading somewhere superrrr fun (and tropical!) today with @amaryllis_apparel! ? This is my travel outfit for today – both my top and pants are less than $35 & are so comfy for a plane ride! Can’t wait to share with you guys where we’re headed – it’s somewhere I’ve never been plus a few of my favorite blogger babes will be there too ? Shop my outfit in the LIKEtoKNOW.it app: http://liketk.it/2CG4o #airportstyle #airportfashion #travel #LTKunder100 #LTKunder50 #LTKtravel #amaryllisabroad

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Back from Malibu with my boo! ? We soaked up some sun. ☀️ We danced until the break of dawn. ?? But nothin’ like coming home to our little girl waiting for us. ? Starting the week off with a little somethin’ somethin’ surprise for you hot sassy mamas. ??‍♀️GIVEAWAY! ?? Giving away F O U R $500 gift cards to @evereveofficial . To enter – Follow: @evereveofficial @holliewdwrd @lipstickheelsandababy @kbstyled @courtney_shields @sarahknuth @chelseaolivia13 @nataliekennedyblog @jordanunderwood @jesshogancrum @kathleen.post @karinastylediaries @dthompsy @tallblondebell @daniaustin @latishaspringer @shannonwillardson @pinterestingplans @mumuandmacaroons Leave a comment below (customize this to you) Bonus Entry: follow each of us in the @liketoknow.it app – available in the App Store Closing: Giveaway ends on 6/23 at 12:00am EST. The winner will be announced on 6/24 and must be claimed within 48 hours. By entering, entrants confirm they are at least 18+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to abide by Instagram’s terms of use. . . http://liketk.it/2CDmd #liketkit @liketoknow.it #holliexevereve

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Stars and Stripes ⭐️ wearing my @sanctuary_project star choker (which is 25% off just for you girls this weekend, link on IG story) with a jumpsuit full of stripes ❤️ also linking more summer jumpsuits! Happy Father’s day to your papas and happy Sunday! Shop a ton of cute jumpsuits via the @liketoknow.it app! http://liketk.it/2CAYK #liketkit

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Step inside my office / living room / bedroom …I’ll be here all day. . . . #myamaryllis #amaryllisabroad http://liketk.it/2CHik #liketkit @liketoknow.it

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? Had the most gorgeous beach dinner of allll time with the best people ever!! And was able to catch this pretty sunset too ✨ This @amaryllis_apparel dress is one of my fav throw-ons from the trip – so easy and the cut is so flattering! ? #amaryllisabroad You can instantly shop all of my looks by following me on the LIKEtoKNOW.it app http://liketk.it/2CIWV #liketkit @liketoknow.it

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hearing country music from the rooftops ALL weekend long! ?? day one of #cmafest was a hit & ended with a VIP show with lots of horses in the back… see my stories for an amazing show featuring my ole pal @billyraycyrus & the ever entertaining @lilnasx ??? @cmafest @spotify @liketoknow.it #liketkit http://liketk.it/2CnS6 #cmafest2019

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Wow, what a truly diverse cast of characters we have here! I’m honestly surprised they aren’t all named Ashley and Caitlin, and furthermore, that we have no Laurens in the group. I guess being a travel/lifestyle/fashion influencer is mostly a white girl’s game, but not even one redhead??

#AmaryllisAbroad is happening now, from June 19th through June 24th, so you can hate-stalk all these ladies’ stories this weekend. Amaryllis also launched a collection called the #AmaryllisAbroad Collection, in case you want to dress like a person who starts 70% of their Instagram Stories with “Heyyyyy guyssssss.” The collection features pieces that are actually very cute and super affordable, like this $35 jumpsuit.

Amaryllis Apparel Catalina Jumpsuit
Damn it. This insane, marketing ploy is so annoying that it just might work. Join me in hate-following this trip all weekend, since that other girl is engaged already. I need something to propel my envy until Monday.