Belle-Noir(BN): Thank you so much for taking the time to sit with Belle-Noir Magazine. Before we find out more about Blaq Vixen Beauty and Blaq Siren Hair, we’d love to know more about the woman behind it. Who is Anjela Dandridge?
Anjela: Thank you for the opportunity Aja! J Anjela Dandridge is actually my pen name. Before I started Blaq Vixen Beauty or even blogging, I was a freelance writer for Helium, which is a platform for seasoned and beginning freelance writers. I was a sub channel steward for one of their channels and eventually I became the channel site steward for Helium Style & Beauty channel. I recently stepped down as channel steward to focus on my blog. However, I am the site steward for the cosmetic procedures channel. Concisely, Anjela Dandridge is like my glamorous alter ego. She's all about beauty, fashion and finding great stuff for less.
BN: What inspired you to start BlaqVixenBeauty.net?
Anjela: Before I discovered beauty blogs for women of color, I was having a hard time relating to the popular beauty blogs because they didn't look like me and they featured department store makeup 90% of the time. I really couldn't find beauty bloggers who looked like me, were college students and shopped mainly at the drugstore. Therefore, Blaq Vixen Beauty was born. After that, it seems like my beauty blog was my ticket to meeting other beauty bloggers of color.
BN: What are some of the challenges of being a beauty blogger? What are some of the rewards?
Anjela: Some of the challenges that I have encountered are struggling between posting what other beauty bloggers are talking about or just sticking to topics that I know personally. I like educating my viewers and I try to be interesting so that they’ll keep coming back. Some of the rewards are when someone find my blogs interesting and they subscribe, leave comments, email me or share my content with their friends.
BN: If you could give the cosmetics industry a letter grade when it comes to cosmetics for women of color, what would it be & why?
Anjela: I say a C- because when the cosmetic companies show “diversity,” they only cater to certain shades within the rainbow of ethnic skin. Women of color come in 30+ shades and the makeup that is formulated for us is either outdated, loaded with harmful ingredients, either makes us look ashy or is expensive. Out of the choices provided at your local drugstore, one of the major brands, L’Oreal, has the HIP High Intensity Pigments collection that is blaq vixen friendly because it takes not only your shade but also your undertones in consideration. The HIP Collection is probably the only drugstore makeup line that does that. Then there’s the Queen Collection by CoverGirl. I’ve heard that’s great too. Now, if you want cosmetics that offer more selections, you have to venture out to the department store. Realistically, not a lot of us can actually afford to buy department store brands. So, I feel that both drugstore and department store should step their formulations and shade selections.
BN: Do you have any favorites in terms of cosmetics and shades for women of color?
Anjela: Based on what I’ve used, I love L’Oreal’s True Match, especially their concealer and powder. I’m still new to the makeup world so I don’t have too many favorites…yet!
If you could give a make-up newbie one tip as she begins her journey with cosmetics, what would it be? I’d say don’t be a product junkie! Research the cult faves to makes sure they’re safe and are great for women of color.
BN: If we looked inside your purse right now, what must have items would be there and why?
Anjela: Lip gloss and mascara. I have my Victoria’s Secret Beauty Rush lip glosses, my Sally Hansen Diamond Lip Treatment and my Maybelline Shiny-Licious lip glosses. Then for mascara, I have my Maybelline XXL, L’Oreal Voluminous and my Max Factor Volume Couture.
BN: Finish this line: “I never leave the house without________________.”
Anjela: Some type of lip gloss! I’m a gloss girl! Even if I don’t wear a full face of makeup, I’ll put on a lip gloss and call it a day. I feel naked without it!
BN: In October, you started a "Safe Cosmetics" listing. Explain why you decided to do so, and have there been any surprises as you researched the companies? Why was it important for you to bring this list to your readers?
Anjela: I decided to do the Safe Cosmetics listing during October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I had always intended to do some type of feature about safe cosmetics but never got around to it because I’m all over the place. (Smiles) When October came around, it just seemed the right time to talk about pink washing and companies that really do have our best interests at heart. It wasn’t a surprise to find out that some major cosmetics giants refused to sign the Compact of Safe Cosmetics but wanted to start Breast Cancer Awareness campaigns. It’s like a slap in the face; they want us to buy their makeup but our health isn’t even a top priority to them. It was important to bring this list to my viewers because women, especially women of color, need to be educated about who’s concerned for our health.
BN:You are also the creator of a new black hair care blog, Blaq Siren Hair. What was the catalyst in deciding to start BSH?
Anjela: Well, one of my main problems is starting things but not finishing them. I constantly have to find inspiration and discipline myself. I know from reading hair blogs that hair regimens require dedication and focus. Up until now, I’ve depended on either my mom or my stylist when it comes to the health of my hair. However, I want to be able to take care of my own hair without being dependent on someone for once. I knew that if I started a hair blog, I would have to be serious about growing my hair and maintaining it. So, it’s like self-improvement for me.
BN: Where do you hope to see Blaq Vixen Beauty and Blaq Siren Hair in five years?
Anjela: At this point, I’d love to see BVB and BSH turn into online magazines or full-fledged websites for women of color. I love helping people so I hope that when I do hit that 5-year mark, I have reached millions of women to see that they are blaq beauty vixens and blaq hair sirens.