“How and why did you start blogging?” is probably the question I’ve heard the most since 2008, ever since I was a naive little eight-year-old.
Back then, like so many other city girls who are attached to their gadgets, I found myself browsing around on my laptop, typed “cute dress” as keyword on Google and it sent me to a beautiful blog belonging to a French woman named Alix. I found myself obsessed; I would open it, close it and open it again. One day I said to myself, “Blogging sounds like a great idea. I’m sure I can make one.” I live apart from my mom, so I find it hard to explain or just talk to her about what’s happening in my life. So I thought making a blog could be a way for me to tell her how I’m doing and how I’m growing up.
So I started searching online and reading my father’s magazines about computers. Being a silly eight-year-old, I thought all blogs were fashion blogs, and so if I wanted to make one it had to be about fashion, which was easy for me – by the time I was six, I was already dressing myself and making shopping decisions.
I started my blog with full preparation and research. I took notes on everything. I knew I needed to have beautiful pictures and the stars seemed to align for me because at that time my older sisters were experiencing “camera fever” (as in “you just bought a DSLR and suddenly all you want to do is take pictures”). I asked them to take pictures for me and I started my blog, which I named www.jellyjellybeans.blogspot.com. People always ask, “Why jelly beans?” My answer: “Because I’m like jelly-bean candy. I’m unpredictable; I can be cutesy, but I’m sour inside – ha ha!” I was an obnoxious kid.
I never knew that my age would be such a big deal to people. I don’t think blogging is a hard thing to do. You just play dress-up, take pictures, and write your diary online – that’s all. (My math homework is way harder.) And it’s funny how my name is still on notable lists of young bloggers even though I’m actually an old player; I’ve been blogging for seven years now. I started so innocently, and never in a million years would I have thought that my blog could get me to where I am now, with people actually asking me about what the next big thing in fashion will be.
If you are my reader, though, you probably notice that I don’t follow trends. I wear what I want to wear. I dress for myself and me only, and if I feel good about something, I’ll wear it. I get my inspiration from anything: songs, movies, books or people around me. I can be as girlie as Barbie or a tomboy; I don’t have ground rules when it comes to fashion. I never actually try to send any messages through my blog because, honestly, I’m not that thoughtful. All I do is tell people my stories. So when people send me messages saying they feel more confident to dress up, and are inspired by my look and by how I show them it’s okay to be different through my posts – it feels magnificent. The feeling is better than any freebies, money, front-row seats or VIP invitations that I’ve received from doing my blog. The thought of my blog making people feel better about themselves is beyond belief.
Despite what adults think of teens – that we’re all just a bunch of drama queens who know nothing about anything yet – we do have real problems, from how to deal with a parents’ divorce to how to make friends. In our so-called drama phase, it’s nice to find other teenagers’ blogs that we can relate to when our parents and friends can’t seem to help. The teen blogger is there to fill the gap and help out by sharing everything on their blog. I actually receive many e-mails a day asking for advice about fashion, life and other things, or just from people saying that they can relate to me in so many ways, and how they find a friend in me. I once wrote about how I was bullied back in elementary school. It turns out so many teenagers are dealing with the same thing, and I even received an e-mail from a girl about how she almost gave up on her life because she has no friends, but she said she’s now better because she doesn’t feel alone anymore thanks to my blog. It’s an indescribable feeling knowing that I can help my peers through my blog and writing.
My blog is my playground, and I love to play characters through my outfits. I always believe that what you wear is a story about yourself, because like it or not, people judge a book by its cover – and you will want to have a standout cover.
I’ve always said that what makes me different from anyone else is that I actually have character, and that I don’t dress like everyone else. I personally hate it when something is on trend, and everyone starts looking the same. It took me months to design my bag for EN.PENS, the brand I own and creatively direct, because I wanted to design something really new. I’ve told my readers both on my blog and through my column (I work for Gogirl!, an Indonisian teen magazine), “Yeah, following trends makes you cool, but just as cool as everyone else. What you really need to be is cooler than everyone else and it’s actually easy. Just be you.” Don’t let all the ads and fashion media eat you alive. If you think about it, maybe that’s why bloggers are so important right now – because most standout bloggers are those who have their own unique style and look different from what you usually see in magazines or on TV. People actually love to see something new, and probably wish they had the courage to wear it. It’s even better when they get inspired and try to search for their own real style for themselves.
On a roll
Where do young Internet tastemakers go to feel inspired? Evita Nuh shares a few of her favourite sites that get the creative juices flowing
Run by 24-year-old Filipina Reese Lansangan, this blog is host to her fashion musings and work as an artist and designer. “It’s a superfun blog, made by a supertalented girl – she’s a singer, too,” notes Nuh. “I love her fun and colourful street style.”
A compilation of lists, articles and images from New York-based writer Hazel Cills, described by Nuh as “a very talented journalist,” who writes for Rookie, the Los Angeles Times and Rolling Stone.
“Her work is amazing!” says Nuh about the blog run by Polish photographer Laura Makabresku. “As a photography enthusiast, there’s no way I couldn’t fall in love with her work. It’s hauntingly beautiful, just the way I like it.”