One on One: Kelly-Anne Joseph

With all the lovely positive vibes floating around on Instagram lately, I thought about how I could do my share in supporting the fantastic blogger community (all of whom have been so kind to me in my months of being Perilously Pale). For bloggers, and women, and blogging women, support and backing and encouragement is vital for growth. The amount of shout-outs, collaborations and mentions I have received have been the biggest reasons for my ever-growing following.

And so, One on One was born. I wanted to give an inside look into the personalities behind some of my favourite accounts and blogs by doing little interviews with some of these amazing women. Often we follow pages and see their content daily without knowing much about the people behind it.

This segment on my blog is going to be a platform for you to learn more about my favourite Instagrammers, makeup artists and bloggers, and a place for them to share a little more about themselves.

And who better to start with than Kelly-Anne? Kelly-Anne Joseph is a part time blogger and a full-time superhero. Juggling an impressive career, and an equally impressive blog, she seems to be one of those girls who can, and will, do it all.

This was my reason for following her Instagram account (@kellyanne_joseph), which boasts beautiful look-book shots, amazing product reviews, hilarious snippets of her Youtube videos and genuine insight to her everyday life.

(My comments are in bold and Kelly-Anne’s replies are in normal font.)

How about we start off with getting the low-down on who Kelly-Anne really is. Describe yourself in no more than two sentences. 

I’m a twenty something brown girl living in Johannesburg. If you need me you’ll find me in the sun with a book, a cup of tea and my cats.

For those who haven’t read your ‘About’ section on your blog, could you tell us what you do when you’re not blogging? 

I manage a team of highly skilled engineers and coding geeks (they’re ok with me calling them that). We provide alternate methods of content consumption to audiences across Africa. We’re basically a team of television nerds. So, I work in TV but behind the scenes.

I live for technological innovation within the broadcast space. We build new audiences and we are helping shift consumers from old methods of consuming content, to mobile based content. We build apps and websites to support this. It’s a riveting industry to be in at this stage. High risk, high reward – my cup of tea! That’s what I do on a daily basis.

On the very rare occasion that I’m not working, I’m spending time with my hubby, reading, writing, making videos and always, always spending time with my cats!

You say your blog started as “a blog for brown girls, by a brown girl”, why do you think it’s important to have a beauty blog told specifically from that stand point? 

I think it has become necessary, more than it is ‘important’. We’re always on about how diverse South Africa is, heck, I did a whole Masters about diversity. So why are Indian women so underrepresented in the beauty space? Not all Indian women are ‘Bollywood’ looking. In my opinion Bollywood is so shaped by typical Hollywood beauty standards, it’s sickening.

I think it is necessary for blog posts to always be written truthfully. And what else can I write besides my truth? I am a dark skinned, Indian woman who considers herself beautiful in all aspects. My daughter (when I have one) will learn to consider herself beautiful whether she is fair, dark, green, blue or pink and she will have ACCESS. Access to opportunities that aren’t open to dark skinned, Indian women yet. Change starts somewhere. My blog, even if the smallest blog in SA, will have contributed to the change in perceptions of beauty both within and out of the large, Indian community in SA.

Do you feel racial representation has changed sufficiently in the beauty industry since you were younger? How would you like to see it change moving forward? 

It hasn’t changed at the rate I wish it had. However, we’re on our way. Of course I would love to see more melanin gifted women like me, in significant beauty campaigns. I just want the beauty space to be more diverse and diverse does not just mean black and white. Yes, Indians are people of colour too but we need to see more black, Indian and coloured representation.

We need to be represented as equally as the rest. We are AFRICA for God’s sake! Beauty in Africa isn’t just one shape and colour. We know that we’re diverse so now we need to start acting like it! We have a really long way to go because we’ve just taken such a long time to start this journey of the inclusion of women of colour.  Sorry, I don’t mean to sound aggressive. I’m really passionate about this so I write exactly the way I speak.

Your passions include beauty/makeup AND fashion, but if you had to had to had to pick just one, which one would it be and why? 

It would be fashion. I can go days without wearing makeup but I feel good because my outfits. Go with what makes you feel good, always.

Speaking of beauty, give us your top five ride or die products. 

  • Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation in the shade Amber Honey
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance eyeshadow palette
  • Lush Cosmetics Buttered Brazils lip balm
  • L.A. Girl Spice palette.
  • L’Oreal Double Extended Beauty Tubes Mascara

These are my top five because it’s all I need to create a full look.

Your blog and social media pages are well put together, and it looks like you have an absolute ball! Tell us all about your favourites: best event attended, favourite article you’ve written, best PR package/gift, and favourite account to follow/blog to read. 

Can I be honest here? Ok, I’m just going to go ahead. I am a home body. I know that makes me a walking contradiction because what is a blogger without a list of events to highlight, right? Wrong. My home is my favourite place and I never get enough time to spend in that space so I am super selective of events I attend. I prefer attending events for brands that I truly believe in and support, events that involve important dialogue exchange and offer a good learning opportunity for me. So, I really enjoyed attending a few events around women’s day that were hosted by TRACE.

My favourite article I wrote… hmm. I think the most challenging one to write was perhaps my favourite because it pushed me as a writer and as a person. It was titled, “Can We Change Our Perspective, Even if Just for A Moment?” I knew it would rub some people the wrong way but I took a risk because I thought if people really follow me and know me, they will understand why I wrote this post and they will appreciate it. I trusted myself and wrote about something other than fashion or beauty. Go check it out on my blog.

‘Best’ is relative right? I think the best package I received was from Woolworths. They sent me a bunch of their new makeup products to try. Their mascara is a must have. I also enjoyed trying out the BB cream although I wish they came in a few more shades.

There are so many accounts I love following so I would have to give you my top three. Karen Wazen is a fashion blogger. I love following her because she talks a lot about her family life and being a working mum. Plus, she lives in my favourite place, Dubai! I also love looking at Rhea Gupte’s work. She is an Indian, digital art maven based in Goa. Her work is so vast and really provides some food for thought when I need it most. Lastly, purely for the love of fashion I follow Danielle Bernstein. Go check them out.

I’m sure it’s not all sunshine and roses though. Have you had a particularly bad blogger/influencer experience? 

Of course! I attended SA fashion Week in Joburg last year. One of the shows I attended was particularly awful because the people that attended the show were snobbish.  There was just something about the atmosphere that evening that I couldn’t stomach. It lacked a human element. People kept their shades on even after the event while eating sushi and drinking champagne. They also just made us ‘non-celebs’ feel really uncomfortable. Hated it!

And what about the South African blogging community? What has been your experience so far, and where do you think the community could improve? 

I think there’s a movement of female bloggers supporting each other, which is great and SO 2018!  However, I still get a sense that there is a level of competitiveness in SA that is unhealthy. You will often see stories on Instagram or certain posts by bloggers that are clearly throwing shots at other bloggers. That really annoys me. If you’re focusing on yourself then do just that. Stop making under handed comments and just stick to promoting your content.

I unfollow those bloggers really quick because it’s so petty and just doesn’t add value to my life in any way. I haven’t seen any of the international bloggers I follow, do that. There’s room for everyone. Just let people be. Acting out like that just shows that you’re threatened. And you can only be threatened when you don’t trust your craft. We certainly have a lot of room for improvement in our attitudes towards people entering this industry.

Okay, give me a quick, shameless advert! If the person reading this isn’t following you, why should they check your page out? 

Haha! You should follow me because you’re probably not following a little brown girl who is vocal about the stigma against dark skinned, Indian women. I am shameless in my opinion of the lack of progression in thinking, amongst the Indian community.

Apart from that, I’m just a regular brown girl, with a fulltime job, a PhD on my hands, a husband and two cats. Not everyone’s cup of tea. But I’m real. I’m kind AND I respond to DMs because I’m not a diva! So follow me and let’s be friends. It’s literally how Megan and I met! I’m so happy we found each other online. Also follow Megan. If you aren’t, then what are you even doing?

And there we have it! I can’t thank Kelly-Anne enough for being my project pioneer, and for giving my questions such thoughtful responses. I really hope you guys liked this post, as there will definitely be more coming soon! Head to Kelly-Anne’s blog or social media accounts to find out more about this fantastic human-being, and incredible content-creator.


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