Alicia Harper, Creator of Mommy Delicious

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If superwoman was a real life character, Alicia Harper would be her. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, just like Jay- Z, Alicia “bleeds blue” but for a different reason. Receiving undergraduate and Masters’ degrees from Columbia University in the City of New York – she’s True Blue. Being educated at one of the premiere universities is just the tip of the ice burg for this phenomenal woman. Her feats also include being a dean of students at a charter elementary school, creator of her own blog, Mommy Delicious, featured writer with magazines and online publications, and of course a mommy. Alicia proves that nothing is two great for a visionary woman who has drive and determination.

Excellence was always the standard for Alicia. Being involved in foster care as a child may not have been easy but Alicia grew tough skin to manage the difficulties of life. At a young age she learned not to fail and that if she wanted more in life she would have to work hard to get it. She knew that she would have to become the author of her own destiny. And she did nothing short of it. As a high school student she was awarded a Times Scholarship recognizing her ability to overcome adversities and successfully manage hardships in life. Though she was accepted to many universities, she experienced the greatest feeling of pride when she received her final acceptance letter – from Columbia. This was her top choice and for Alicia a life changing experience.

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As a Columbia student she realized the stark differences in academic preparation when she went from being the top student at her own high school to struggling with the academic rigor of an Ivy league university. Like the Superwoman she is, she worked hard to excel at Columbia – and of course she did. Beyond the academic differences Alicia was able to learn first hand the social inequalities within the city she had grown up in. Though she was from New York City she soon realized the many cultural and social experiences in Manhattan that her friends were afforded growing up and she was not.  She took it upon herself to be reintroduced to her hometown and enjoyed city life with a new lens.

A woman whose personal and professional are connected – her formative experiences at Columbia would later inform her professional pursuits. As a college student Alicia had completed several independent studies working with schools in Harlem and Brooklyn. She realized that she was not alone in her own academic experiences and become interested in the achievement gap. She wondered why some students have more resources and better schools than others.

After graduating from Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in psychology she decided to pursue a career in education. Alicia became a part of the NYC teaching fellows program where she taught third and fifth grade. Observing her classroom, Alicia became aware that her students had little interest in learning until their psychological needs were met. She built rapport with them and learned that they did want to learn and had big dreams – only they had personal issues that needed to be dealt with before they could focus in school. From these experiences Alicia felt that she could be more effective if she tackled the achievement gap from a different perspective.Alicia4

Alicia chose to pursue her Masters degrees in psychological counseling at Teachers College, Columbia University. She was not only a loyal Columbian and New Yorker, but was also drawn to the program for its commitment to multiculturalism and premiere faculty with which she would have an opportunity to learn from.

All of Alicia’s educational and life experiences connected to make her the perfect candidate for the Dean of Students at a local elementary charter school that services students in grades K-4. Alicia works directly under her principle to manage teachers and help them to help their students. Her work includes collaborating with teachers to develop lesson plans using multiple instruction methods and effectively managing student behaviors. Her job is to bridge the gap between passing state mandated tests, supporting the psychological and emotional development of children and staff, maintaining a positive school environment, and developing programs to sustain these efforts. Alicia asserts that the most rewarding aspect of her job is that she gets to help so many students directly and indirectly through consulting with teachers, staff, and parents.

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As if that wasn’t enough, Alicia is also Mommy Number 1 to a “rambunctious” 6-year-old son – Aiden. Life as a single mom may not be easy but Alicia manages it with style, grace, and a whole lot of love. Alicia is able to manage mommydom in addition to her professional obligations by prioritizing – a method that has admittedly kept her sane. She describes having a routing for both her and Aiden that supports his growth and development including participation in activities of his choice and also allows her to be a successful career woman and person! Of course she always makes time for mommy-son time including fun weekend activities exploring New York City together and awesome vacation getaways. Alicia enjoys the opportunity for them both to enjoy first time experiences with each other. She also acknowledges how her and Aiden have grown together – a blessing for them both.

Alicia has become more comfortable in her role as mommy, some of which might be attributed to her decision a few years ago to give her own life new meaning. She had always dreamed of becoming a freelance writer and as a new mom actively began to think about how she might do this. While in the gym she decided to create her own blog as a way to express herself. Though mommydom was an experience that she knew first hand she did not want that to be the sole focus. Motherhood was one of her roles but not her only one, so she used her blog to be more interpersonal.

Alicia created Mommy Delicious – a coming of age blog about her life including mommydom and womanhood. Alicia uses this space to honestly share her life and experiences from multiple angles – highlighting herself as a well-rounded woman. There is not a topic that is off limits as long as she has had enough time to mature and grow from it and can effectively tell her story with clarity and purpose. Interestingly, what started off as an opportunity to emote and share her story turned into a delicious cult following. Alicia knew she had something special after being invited to exciting events not only in New York City but also on vacations across the country. Her passion turned into even bigger opportunities where she is now able to run a successful blogging business as well as lend her writing chops to other celebrated publications – an experience she could have only dreamed of several years prior. Despite her writing success, the best part of her blog is when she receives positive feedback from readers who share her experience or feel inspired by her story.

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At Dirty Thirty Alicia’s accomplishments are nothing shy of phenomenal. Describing herself as strong, sensitive, and sweet she has overcome many obstacles to reach her goals  – making her the ultimate U Blush Woman. And it ain’t over yet. In the next ten years Alicia hopes to continue to be a blessing to other people by doing her current work but on a larger scale. These goals include writing a regular column on a larger platform, publishing her own book, teaching as an adjunct college instructor, and opening her own school.

Alicia’s source of inspiration is her faith and knowing that “God will never leave or forsake me.” Aiden, the special boy in her life, always motivates her that anything is possible and keeps her striving for better. She reminds readers that “overnight success” is rarely over night. You have to work hard even when no one is looking; your day will come. In pursuit of excellence Alicia asserts, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” A method that has brought her to the level of success she stands at now by never giving up even when the odds were stacked against her. For her, empowerment means “unapologetically going after what you want and know is right even if you are the only person doing it” – a quote with which she obviously lives by.

Jenn Camp, Fashion Blogger at Le Fashion

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Sometimes the best things in life come unplanned. This lovely Colombian born, Texas-Massachusetts-raised, rise to New York fashion blogger extraordinaire is a testament to trusting one’s passion to fuel a purpose. Jenn Camp is a trailblazer in the blogging industry. With dedication and steadfastness, she turned her childhood hobby into real world success. Starting her first blog in 2008, this endeavor was her creative outlet – she never imagined that five years later her pastime would lead to self-employment. Owner of five blogs, Olsens Anonymous and Le Fashion two of Jenn’s most read – propelled her to the forefront of the industry.  One might sum her rise to the top as luck. If luck is when opportunity meets preparation then Miss Camp is just that!

As an elementary school student, Jenn vividly remembers her date with destiny. In the grocery store with her mother, Jenn’s young eyes were drawn to Christy Turlington on the cover of Elle magazine. She knew she couldn’t leave the store without it. When her mother obliged, Jenn walked away with her first fashion magazine and from that day forward she was an avid reader, cutting out photos of her favorite looks, and keeping them in a book for safe keeping. Thanks to her parents who supported her creativity, Jenn was always able to express her personal style through her wardrobe. Drawing inspiration from fashion magazines and like many 90’s babies, the colorful attire of Clueless, Jenn transformed what she saw into her own personal style – the very thing that would later launch her fashion blog success.

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As a college student in Massachusetts, Jenn was determined to get her foot in the door at a fashion magazine. An interview with Harper’s Bazaar lead to her moving to the fashion capital of the United States, New York City, for a semester long internship. Jenn enjoyed her time in publishing and garnered valuable editorial experience. But, she soon realized that her dreams of becoming a fashion magazine editor were limited. With so many people who also wanted this coveted job, and only a few positions available, she knew the climb to the top of an established magazine would be a long and tedious challenge. It was then that she made the decision to make her own ladder instead.

Valuing independence, Jenn grew up inspired by her mother who was a successful attorney and businesswoman. From a young age, Jenn saw the value of education and autonomy. She always had an interest in Psychology, so after her decision to discontinue her pursuit in magazine editing, she decided to enter a graduate program to become a licensed therapist. In between her studies, Jenn indulged in blogging as a creative outlet and means of self-expression. Little did Jenn know that blogging would turn into the job of her dreams? Her dedication to her blogs grew her audience, building a strong internet presence. Coming of age, during the late 2000’s at the dawn of the fashion industry’s recognition of the power of bloggers, companies began to approach her for partnerships and advertising. She also began to collaborate with other bloggers. It was then that she started to understand the strength of her brand. After finishing her graduate program, Jenn decided to focus on blogging full time – a dream she had never even imagined.

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As a self-employed blogger Jenn is well versed in multi-tasking. She spends her days scouring fashion magazines, posting on each of her sites, answering dozens of e-mails, meeting with brands and potential partners, and attending industry events, such as coveted fashion shows at NYC fashion week. Her dream is to attend Paris Fashion Week!

Perhaps most famous for one of her first blogs, Olsens Anonymous, Camp pays homage to the two fashion forward trendsetters she most admires – Mary-Kate and Ashley. Jenn credits them as “independent women who dress the way they want to dress.” She is impressed that garb they wore back in 2006 to 2008 are the trend today! The Olsen’s confidence in their own style and ability to be “ahead of the curve” if not set it, is the inspiration behind the blog.

Le Fashion is another audience favorite. Jenn began the blog by posting clothing and accessories she liked. She has now refined the posts to include more street style, suchas celebrity inspired looks and what’s haute from fashion magazines and online stores. Jenn keeps her pulse to the fashion world to ensure that she provides readers with fresh daily content and style for the likes of any contemporary professional stylista!

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Jenn’s advice to bloggers is to be genuine, consistent, motivated by passion, and have fun! These are the same tips that led her to a successful career as a blogger with a steady growing audience. She has also grown her readership by connecting with other bloggers in addition to being a writer with an established fashion site, Who What Wear – providing her guidance and a platform to share her fashion visions. Taking inspiration from famous muses such as Vogue Paris team Emmanuelle Alt, Capucine Safyurtlu, and Géraldine Saglio, Jenn learns from the best – even if vicariously!

Jenn has undoubtedly seen herself evolve through her fashion. From a shy young girl who used her clothes as a means to introduce herself to others – Jenn now focuses on wearing what feels good to her – an authenticity that likely drives readers to her site. She describes her personal style as “classic minimalist” – a Parisian feel meshed with down town New York swag. You may find her wearing a blazer and classic tee, with her favorite ripped boyfriend jeans and leopard Louboutin loafers – she just loves animal print! When night sets Jenn may throw on heels and a leather jacket – but her style is simple.

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If you’re a lover of Black like Jenn and her favorite fashionista, Ashley Olsen, Jenn suggests wearing a statement piece that adds color, such as an interesting necklace or bracelet. Metallic accents and studs always offer a nice touch! Jenn’s most important fashion tip is “less is more!” In the words of Coco Chanel, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” This speaks to Jenn’s personal style, and belief that sometimes it’s better to make a “small statement.”

To all the lovelies who have big dreams Jenn suggests the best characteristic to embody is patience. “Ambitious people tend to want immediate success but what they are trying to accomplish takes time, hard work, and dedication.” Jenn believes that patience will help you get there. And when big dreams seem overwhelming, she advises to take it step by step until you reach your goal. Jenn’s confidence and love for what she does makes her a U Blush Woman. She feels empowered by her independence and the intrinsic happiness from waking up each day and sharing her fashion likes with the world. The perks of Jenn’s job is that she gets to do what she loves – so even though it’s challenging, it doesn’t much feel like work. Jenn states, “it has really allowed for my dreams to come true. I always dreamed of wearing designer clothes and attending cool events with the forerunners of the fashion industry. Because of blogging, I no longer have to dream about it anymore.”

Jamiese Price, Television News Reporter, Blogger

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Childhood dreams become reality. Jamiese Price, television news reporter, is a one-stop shop in journalism. From securing interviews, to filming, and editing her own pieces, this Jane of all trades is a forced to be reckoned with. Her journalism career started with a mock news cast in the fourth grade. At 9, she wasn’t a polished newscaster but she didn’t let failure stop her.  “I was horrible, but I wanted to be great so bad.” The following year Jamiese had the opportunity to “redeem” herself and from then on she knew she had found her calling. Attending college on a full ride scholarship to Tuskegee University in her home state of Alabama, Jamiese was an English major who sought out opportunities to hone her journalism skills. Her junior year she secured an internship in Detroit where she met a young newscaster who rocked the news station. Jamiese described her admiration for this young woman. “I want that” she told herself and quickly decided that she needed to pursue graduate training at Syracuse University.

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July 2006, Jamiese and her mother made the 18-hour trek from Alabama to Syracuse, which marked the beginning of her bourgeoning reporting career. She described the move as “emotional” with accompanying feelings of self-doubt. “What am I doing? Am I making a mistake?” she asked herself. Jamiese used her fear, anxiety, and excitement to push her to courageously face her dreams. Though Syracuse was a very intense and demanding yearlong program, Jamiese learned the essentials of the profession. Using this journalism boot camp to force her into reporting shape, she bested taking criticism and using it to enhance her skills. The long hours she spent in class and on the job, coming home to a few hours of sleep in the brutal upstate New York cold, all while being away from her family prepared her for a grueling career as a reporter.  During these testing times Jamiese turned to a group a classmates who became her family and helped each other get through the process. She also had the support of her family and friends back home that constantly motivated her to succeed.

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In August 2007 Jamiese’s hard work paid off when she graduated from her program and six months later secured her first job with a station in Huntsville Alabama! Though her first job differed from what she learned in school, Syracuse provided Jamiese a solid foundation for her employment. This “one man band” was able to successfully shoot and edit her own video, set up her own interviews and write her own stories. As a general assignment reporter she covered an array of stories including tornadoes, crime, and everyday feel good pieces.  After a year and a half, Jamiese decided to take a break from reporting by teaching at a community college and working as a policy coordinator for the American Lung Association.

 

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During an almost 2 year hiatus from broadcast journalism, Jamiese felt a burning desire to stay abreast of the happenings in media, fashion, and popular culture. In August 2010 she decided to add blogging to her resume. Jamiese started Ooh La La blog where, “fashion never looked so sweet.” On this platform she lets her personality come out discussing the hottest fashion, celebrity trends, and affordable pieces for the frugalista in all of us. Ooh La La is where sexy meets excitement! The blog invigorated Jamiese but there was still one thing missing. She began to miss the television industry and decided to continue her pursuits to become a premiere journalist. Securing another position with a local Alabama news station, Jamiese is mastering the mix of both her passions in blogging and reporting. A long but fulfilling workday, starts with blogging at 6AM, several hours reporting, and ends with blogging. She might spend her day reporting on a gun trial and come home and blog about Solange’s estillo. Her ability to switch between the two is predicated on her being her authentic self and remembering who her audience is – the perfect combination.

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Jamiese’s future goals include more fully integrating her two passions by becoming an entertainment reporter. Her dream job would be a red carpet correspondent for E news. In this way she can merge both worlds as a multi media journalist – all things pop culture, fashion, entertainment but still using journalism skills. As she pursues her career goals she knows that she must work hard now to play harder later. She often misses being away from her family and friends but uses them as her motivation to succeed. Her mother is her biggest inspiration who taught her the value of hard work and dedication. With a supportive family and solid foundation, Jamiese is empowered to pursue her dreams in order to make them proud and act as a role model to her nieces and nephews. She believes that if they see her achieving they will inevitably know they can too make their dreams a reality. In true U Blush Woman spirit Jamiese encourages others to believe in yourself enough to stand-alone. “Don’t let someone else dictate your dream.” Sometimes people won’t understand your vision because it was given to you. Nonetheless she challenges each person to pursue your passions and eventually success and happiness will ensue.

See Jamiese Price’s electrifying on screen personality!

Jackie Aina of Makeup Game On Point

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When you hear about Miss Jackie O., creator of Make Up Game On Point— you might think of pink, green, and all the pretty things in between. Since this queen of beauty and makeup has taken YouTube by storm, thousands of viewers frequent her site daily as she spreads fun, fresh, and fabulous tips on makeup for the perfect face! A Los Angeles native, born Jacquelyn Lonje Olayiwola Oyeshola Bolayemi Aina – Jackie, is more than what meets the eye.

While she may be well versed in making women look gorgeous, this makeup expert wasn’t always on track to being a beauty and fashion vlogger. The daughter of strict Nigerian parents, Jackie was always encouraged to pursue traditional occupations in the field of medicine or law. Though she had the smarts to boast a professional degree, there was something deep inside of Jackie that knew artistry was her calling.

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As an elementary school student Jackie was always interested in makeup and beauty. She even told classmates she was going to be a cosmetologist when she grew up — a passion of hers that would not manifest itself until adulthood. Fear kept Jackie from dabbling in makeup as a child, because “I didn’t want to look crazy.” But as a young adult her creativity could no longer be quailed.

Frustrated with the lack of options for women with a darker complexion, this brown skin beauty decided to take matters into her own hands. “I got tired of being told what I was limited to as a woman of color: black women can’t wear silver eye shadow, black women can’t wear nude lips, the list goes on. I got tired of being told what I could and couldn’t do, so I started learning ways of doing things myself!” With a love for colors and unique looks, Jackie practiced on herself and daring but supportive family and friends until she earned a job as a certified MAC Makeup Artist. Known for its dramatic cosmetic line, MAC was the perfect breeding ground for Jackie’s imagination to run free.

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Passion fuels purpose which attracts huge followings — this is true of Jackie’s rise to success. While living in Hawaii Jackie’s best friends “BEGGED” her to share makeup and beauty tricks with the world, and so Jackie decided to start her own YouTube channel. It wasn’t long before her well-articulated videos drew a huge following of makeup newbies who flocked to Jackie for her expertise and guidance. This was the beginning of her business venture, “Make Up Game On Point.” Jackie’s website and YouTube channel keep her incredibly busy while her work as a freelance artist keeps her creative juices flowing. This fuels her ability to continue to provide makeup tips through various social media avenues. Having done makeup for talent and celebrities, publications, and television shows, her growing list of clientele has solidified Jackie as a makeup artist and business extraordinaire. Jackie’s favorite beauty secret is using milk of magnesia to help control oily skin. She thinks its “pretty darn genius!”

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That’s not all! There’s a saying beauty is only skin deep — the words beautiful and talented are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to describing Miss Jackie. For her the key to running a successful social media channel lies in being genuine and relatable. She loves doing makeup and helping people find inner and outer beauty. Importantly she finds meaning in dispelling stereotypes about black women and beauty by using herself as an example. Jackie finds purpose in her work, “I am happy in the life I am living and the brand I am creating.”

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Jackie often runs into viewers who feel connected to her because of the tips she shares with the public. While it is endearing, Jackie maintains parts of herself for private.  Viewers might see her as “beautiful” and “talented,” but those close to her might also describe her as “crazy and approachable.” She finds peace in prayer, family, and doing what she loves — makeup. It is this balance that keeps Jackie motivated and self-sustaining. Though Jackie has reached an incredible amount of success, humility still defines her. She recognizes that she has not reached these heights alone and cites her mother as the person she most looks up to. “My mother, she is the most humble and grounded person I know.” Artistically Jackie loves Jennifer James, Uzmee Krakovski, and Chen Man. “Chen Man is a GENIUS!!!”

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For Jackie, being a U Blush Woman – Bold, Luxurious, Unique, Sophisticated, and Haute- means representing the “epitome of being self-made.” Coming from humble beginnings she knows the importance of had work, “I started from the bottom and worked my way up.” Having established herself as a successful businesswoman the qualities that lead to her achievements include her tenacious spirit. “I do not give up regardless of how much I have been through.” Jackie stresses the importance of being empowered, which for her means,  “overcoming any obstacle thrown at you.”

Jackie reminds other contemporary professional stylistas to spread their wings and fly in the face of adversity, always “looking past the negative and making something positive!” Drawing from her own life theme she encourages women to believe in themselves. “Don’t be discouraged by what others want you to do with your life. If you want something in life, make no excuses, go out there and GET IT!!!” She asserts that “travel” provides exposure that can help build the courage and strength you need to break barriers. Jackie believes you can achieve inner peace and success by “being able to smile when you don’t have many reasons to” – a principle that has ultimately lead her to a successful career as a make up artist and beauty vlogger.

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