Welcome to my new interview series featuring some of the brightest and most hard-working women I know. My goal for this series is to collect stories from women in all levels of their career. The hope is that their journey and their advice will trigger something in you, and help you take the jump you need to achieve your personal level of success. Whether they are freelancers, founders of their own business, corporate employees, or students, this #LadiesWhoHustle series will showcase their unique talents and help you unveil yours.
A lady that I just knew I had to interview, up next on my #LadiesWhoHustle Series, the talented CeCe Olisa.
Named on of the "Top 10 New York Fashion Bloggers" by WhoWhatWear and a "person who proves you can be fit at any size" by MTV.com, CeCe Olisa is a Lifestyle Blogger and Co-Founder of theCURVYcon, a convention that celebrates body positivity and plus size fashion during New York Fashion Week. CeCe creates wildly popular plus size workout videos on her YouTube channel and encourages women to workout because they love their bodies, not because they hate their bodies. CeCe has appeared in Vogue, Oprah Magazine, the Rachael Ray Show, The Wendy Williams Show, Self Magazine, Marie Claire, Refinery29 and more. She adheres to her motto, "Don't wait on your weight to live the life you want."
When CeCe moved to New York City from California, she quickly noticed that as a plus-sized girl, she was having a slightly different experience than her skinny friends. From dating, to finding wide-calf boots, to job hunting - things were different for her and she needed a place to sort through her feelings of body insecurity and her constant quest to express herself in fashion.
So, in 2008, as a hobby, CeCe created a blog where she discusses fashion, fitness, dating, and life from a plus-sized and body positive perspective. From the beginning, she'd had passionate and insightful readers who have come along with her on her journey. As her audience grew, she'd been super humbled to have worked with an awesome list of brand partners including: LOFT, Olay, Secret Deodorant, Lane Bryant, Always, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Amazon, Shea Moisture, e-Harmony, Match.com, Forever21, and so many more.
CeCe has also been able to create brands of her own, and in 2015 co-founded theCURVYcon with her business partner and fellow blogger, Chastity Garner. Their continuously sold-out convention has been sponsored by brands such as Target, StyleWatch Magazine, JC Penney, Carol's Daughter, ASOS, Rachel Roy, and Dia&Co. CeCe loves telling stories through her photos, videos and writing and can't wait to continue to share her personal and professional evolution with everyone.
Co-Founder, theCURVYcon and Lifestyle Influencer.
Why do you do what you do?
Each time I step out of my comfort zone and use my gifts and unique talents, it helps other people and I grow personally. It doesn't get any better than that!
What was your dream job at 10 years old?
I wanted to be a broadway singer/actress.
Tell us what your typical day looks like.
Morning - coffee, prayer/meditation, workout, urgent e-mails (1 hour only)
Afternoon - content creation (writing, filming, editing, etc.), client meetings
Late afternoon - Finish answering e-mails, set intentions for the following day
Evening - cooking, checking in with friends and family
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
The exciting thing about my work is that there are endless opportunities. I can't say exactly what I'll be doing in 10 years, but I know I will be spreading positivity and empowering women. I pray there will be a husband and babies in there somewhere as well!
What has been your biggest career struggle so far?
I am an impactful influencer, but my numbers/following are actually small in comparison to many online personalities. As I try to level up, it can be hard to get people to see past the numbers. The good thing is the right people always see the potential in what I do.
And what about the biggest career win?
The success of theCURVYcon is beyond what I could have dreamed of. Being invited to do a TEDx talk was an honour. When Vogue and Oprah magazine wrote about me in the same week, it felt like a dream.
What's the best piece of career advice you've received?
Don't be afraid to ask for more money.
Have you received any bad career advice to date?
It's okay to work for free... you might get exposure. I think this is good advice, but without strategy it can be a huge mistake.
What are you the most proud of?
I'm proud of my audience... I started blogging 10 years ago and my audience has watched me grow up. They're loyal to me and they've been with me through a lot. The loyalty and connection I have with my fan-friends brings me a lot of joy.
Who motivates you the most?
My business partner, Chastity Garner. She does things her way and I learn a lot from her.
When do you feel the most confident?
When I'm in the gym loving my body through fitness.
Currently coveting: anything home decor related, I just moved into my dream apartment and I can't wait to decorate!
Favourite way to sweat: boxing and weight training.
Favourite book: currently reading: Essentialism, the Art of Doing Less. It's changing my life.
Morning bird or night owl? Both... it's complicated haha! But, I prefer to wake up early.
Favourite city: New York City... for now.
Get in touch with CeCe:
Know anyone that would be great to feature in the #LadiesWhoHustle series? Connect with me on Instagram to nominate them - or yourself!