Yolanda Renee is the fierce naturalista behind the brand, Et Cetera.
A lot of people don't understand why my brand is ETC BLOG MAG, lol! I'm kinda shying away from the "mag" part of it but I started blogging mainly about fashion, beauty, and celebrity entertainment. I was a blogger and graphic designer for Necole Kane of www.necolebitchie.com and she was my idol! Still is. Lol. So my own blog followed in her footsteps. Other than celeb gossip, fashion & beauty was a main focus as well. So that is why Et Cetera makes sense to me because I covered so many different topics.
However, once I went natural in 2012, natural hair took over my blog and my life! Lol. Now that I'm natural I have been able to branch out and start my very own popular YouTube channel, build relationships with huge brands such as Carol's Daughter, Entwine Couture, Dark & Lovely, Private Stock Hair & more; I've started my own online natural hair inspired clothing line, self published a natural kids coloring book, attend events as a keynote speaker/blogger, and even have my own events!
Overall, I've branded myself in the natural hair community who have accepted me with open arms.I think my curlfriends love me because I am a naturalista but stand out because of my creative approach with everything. Through my journey I not only inspire my curls to love their hair but I also encourage them to apply this lifestyle change to all aspects of life!
How long have you been natural (brief natural hair journey)?
What's your daily hair routine?
Most probably wouldn't believe me but my hair is protected most of my life! Lol. As a vlogger/blogger I work at home and spend most of my time designing t-shirts, editing videos, online shopping for my online store, processing/packaging orders, being a Mommy and girlfriend, etc. Whenever I'm at home my hair is in two strand twists, bantu knots or a bun. I say all that to let you know my daily routine doesn't require much; I just make sure I oil my scalp every night and add moisture as needed. If I do let "Racquel" out to play I simply let down my twists by coating my hands and fingers with virgin coconut oil, shape and style my 'fro with a hair pick! I keep a goody hair band in my bag just in case my hair gets out of control during the day. A puff always saves the day! I am a firm believer that your regimen should be basic, sticking the basics work! What is most important to have healthy hair to me is sticking to the basics of hair care, eating healthy, drinking lots of water, and exercising! I need to work on exercising! Ha! Genetics take the lead as well. So that is why I don't really stress over the actual routine or regimen, sticking to the basics is good enough for me, even as a natural hair vlogger! And that is what I try to show through my channel.
What are your favorite products?
What's your nighttime routine?
How did you get your hair color (if applicable), and how do you maintain it?
Do you ever get tired of curly hair?I wouldn't say I get tired of it but I am definitely a fan of a fierce 'fro! I love to rock my 'fro because its beautiful, its different and I am able to show my curlfriends "definition" is not that important! Our hair is so versatile and I love it! I will also throw on a wig with the quickness if I get tired of doing my natural hair. So basically, I never get tired of having curly hair but I sometimes get tired of caring for it. Sometimes a girl needs a break and that is when the 'fro comes out, a wig, or a turban wrap! Lol.
On your blog and channel you inspire women to achieve their dreams while promoting the beauty of natural hair and self-love. Did you meet any challenges on staying this positive and inspirational while building your brand? How did you overcome them?
Oh wow, there are so many! Where do I start!? Lol. Before going natural I use to wear weaves all the time! Once natural, I went through a stage of being so annoyed seeing people rocking curly weaves while I was struggling to grow my 'fro to those same lengths. I know, its crazy but I did go through that stage and now understand how silly and selfish that was of me. Now that I've moved passed that train of thought I find myself getting annoyed by those who still think that way. Does that make sense? I rock weaves or wigs now whenever I need a break from doing my hair or to just protect my hair to try to retain length. I have some that get so annoyed when I tuck my hair away, especially if I rock a long, straight textured wig! My gosh! I'm admitting I use to feel the same way, I got over it and I really wish everyone else would too! We all need a break sometimes and rocking a weave, wig, or straight does not mean you have left the fight to show society that natural beauty is acceptable!Hair growth in general is a myth in the natural hair community in my opinion! There are some who love to keep their hair short and in tapered styles but a majority of the community want to grow long, thick, healthy hair! I was scrolling through Instagram one day and came across one of my fav natural hair stylists, Jennifer Rose! She keeps it real! And she started a topic about hair growth and retaining length. It was very interesting and she made me realize there is a myth the black people's hair does not grow like other ethnicities. That is a huge MYTH! I want people to understand that our hair grows at the same rate, approximately 6 inches a year. Those who do not think their hair grows that fast need to understand that retaining that length is what is playing tricks on you! You have to work hard to retain the length to see the 6 inches a year! That is why a healthy hair care regimen, diet, exercise, and drinking plenty of water is so important! And your regimen does not have to be complicated! Sticking the basics works! As long as you wash, condition, deep condition, moisturize, and style your hair properly you should be ok! Another myth that I have started seeing a lot lately, is that most naturals want a curly texture! That is so far from the truth! I have to admit when I first went natural I did crave for a curly hair type! Its a rookie mistake! Lol. But that was apart of my "newly natural stage" and not having a lot of knowledge about my journey. I got over that so quickly! And I think most naturals go through that stage. But seasoned naturals know that you have to organically fall in love with your own unique texture. I'm sure we all get over that stage. A lot of naturals, whether they have a type 3 hair type like Taren or not, like to rock a fierce fro! Taren loves her 'fro! I love my 'fro! Curls are not that important! I think a majority of the natural hair community is beyond curls and more focused on hair healthy and retaining length! I wish this myth can be put to rest so there is not a forced divide in the natural hair community! There are so many textures- curly to the kinkiest, and they are all accepted! Be proud of your texture and show it off so we can showcase to the world how proud we are of all textures! I've made this a core focus on my facebook page, www.facebook.com/etcblogmag! I posts lots of pictures with all hair types rocking a fierce 'fro to remind my curlfriends, it is beautiful!
I started my blog in 2010 when I was following in the footsteps of my blogger idol Necole Bitchie, however, in 2012 is when I started blogging/vlogging about natural hair. Things happened so fast after that! I'm amazed by the rapid progression! Its a bit overwhelming but I love it! The natural hair community has been so supportive! And I thank God everyday for it! I feel so blessed that my hard work & dedication is being recognized and its people all at the same time!
How did you become a successful blogger/vlogger/guru?
I feel like I've been successful by working extremely hard, and never giving up! This applies to everything in life, not just being a blogger. I also stay true to myself because I know that is the one thing that is going to set me apart from the thousands already out here. Branding is very important. too! Your image will help you stand out. The smallest detail is planned out and executed with professionalism when it comes to me. I think people really take notice to those small details. Networking is also important to be successful in the natural hair community! I give myself a lot of props but connecting with other bloggers/vloggers like Necole Kane, Jenell B. Stewart, Curly Nikki Walton, Taren Guy, NaturallyGlam, Jouelzy, and even accepting offers like this interview on Naturally Curly benefits all parties involved. These women have helped me get my brand out there to masses. In a nutshell, work hard, be consistent, network, and have something unique to offer and success will come!
What do you like most about blogging/vlogging?
What do you want to do beyond your blog and YouTube channel?
Do you have any advice for new bloggers/gurus (what you wish someone had told you?)
My advice is pretty much the same as my view on being successful- be yourself, work hard, be consistent, network, and never give up!
Honesty is also important! Your audience can learn so much about you in videos whether you mean for them to or not! This is of course an extension of being yourself! Your videos should be very honest because they will learn to trust your opinions and content of your channel. That's a big deal and it should be taken seriously. Just represent yourself well because not only do your subscribers watch but brands watch as well. How you carry yourself on camera will have an affect on who your audience is as well as how your channel will grow by building relationships with blogs, websites, brands and other networks.
Any upcoming projects/events you'd like to tell us about?
Absolutely! I am currently on tour, YOLANDA RENEE TAKES YOUR CITY which is a meet & greet tour that myself and Natural Partners in Crime are organizing. We started in NYC in April, which was amazing! Its sponsored by Eden BodyWorks and Carol's Daughter! Our swag bags were the talk of the town! Lol.Next up is DC on July 26th at Bar7; its a very chill vibe, music, food, drinks, hair talk, giveaways, prizes, swag bags, and more. I can't wait for the DMV event, that's my hometown! You can get your tickets now at http://yrtakesdmv.eventbrite.