Words by Naledi Sibisi
Photography by Katlego Mokubyane
“Remain unique, find your voice and be authentic. It will show through your content”.
Johannesburg based digital creator and fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogger, Ashlyn Diaz, has mastered the art of reinventing herself. She’s gradually expanded her personal and professional portfolios thus solidifying her consistency, growth and position as a creative force within her industries.
“I make sure that I practice self-care from the moment I wake up to the moment I lay my head on my pillow at night”. For Ashlyn, who is also a full-time Executive Analyst at Deloitte, routine is a major aspect when it comes to what a typical day in the week looks like for her. “I spend at least fifteen minutes journaling. The contents are related to my strengths as well as what I am grateful for. I then focus on breathing and stretching for another fifteen minutes before I start getting ready for work and making sure that I have breakfast before I leave home”.
Acknowledging that her days are always busy and can get overwhelming, she makes sure that she does not compromise on working out, researching beauty products and market trends as well as planning for future campaigns. In the same breath, she emphasizes the importance of taking some personal time out too. “I make time for things I enjoy in the evenings to wind down. Life is not always about working, but taking care of ourselves too. Journaling has been a great coping mechanism for me. I picked it up recently and I feel that it’s something we could all practise during the process of self-care”.
As someone who started off their influencing career quite early, one could imagine they would be met with different challenges as influencer marketing has gradually become more popular over the years and as more faces are dominating the scene. “Social media is very fickle”, she explains. “There will always be someone who does something better than you, posts more likeable things, who is more popular than you or has more followers than you and that’s okay. You need to be confident with who you are and what purpose you serve for your audience. This is what keeps me going. I’ve experienced challenges in the industry with brands and PR agencies using favourites and the same people all the time for campaigns without analysing the organic reach of their audience. Unfortunately, there is still a stigma that if you have a macro following, bought or not, you’re more likely to be chosen to represent a product or be selected for a campaign. I would hope that more research is done with PR agencies and brands before selecting their influencers”.
At the early age of seventeen, Ashlyn began working in her hometown and subsequently worked her way up the corporate ladder. Today, she has a seat at the top consulting firm in the world. “Outside my 9-5, I am a Director of a telecommunications company in Durban. I get to do all this while still being an influencer. I am very blessed to have such a strong work ethic”. On what she thinks people entering her respective industries should know, she insists on the importance of striking a balance. “Being an influencer is not a stable career. Don’t quit your job. Try and plan your time to do both. Always be selective of the brands you work with and don’t chase the pay check if it does not align with your interests and what your personal brand is known for”.
One of the biggest pillars for Ashlyn when it comes to content creation would definitely be the beauty aspect. Having worked on the Clinique X Cosmopolitan campaign, which also happens to be her favourite to date, she swears by their products when it comes to her skin routines. “I thoroughly love and use all the products in the Pep-Start range so for me it was a fun, authentic campaign that I got to be a part of while being featured in the Cosmopolitan Nov 17 print and digital issue”. When asked what five beauty products she absolutely cannot live without, she cited: Clinique Moisture Surge, NYX Stay Matte but Not Flat Liquid Foundation, Smashbox Limited Edition Coconut Water Face Mist, Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel and Natural Jade Facial Stone Rollers.
During the course of her journey, Ashlyn believes that she has remained true to herself and has used her stories and platforms to empower women. As a result, she feels she wouldn’t do anything differently. On where she continues to draw inspiration from, she states that she doesn’t have a specific person in mind, however, she acknowledges the help and knowledge she has received along the way. “I have worked closely with entrepreneurs and CEO’s and with this, I have gained so much knowledge and skills that have equipped me for where I am in both my career and life. They have all been my mentors and were all part of different phases in my life”.
Her immediate goals for 2019 are to be kinder to herself, to embrace herself, to execute her business ideas and to constantly be present.