Today we’d like to introduce you to Malerie Thornton.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Malerie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My story as a natural hair ambassador began in 2011 as part of a holistic wellness promise I made to myself. A central part of my brand also stems from my roots as a Louisiana native. I consider myself the embodiment of “Creole, Curls and Curves!” My inspiration to leverage this wellness journey online began while I was in college at Loyola University. As a Mass Communication major, I was introduced to the world of PR and Social Media. So when it was time to decide how to share my story, naturally I went to what I knew best– Instagram and Youtube. I began posting pictures of my natural hair journey on my page (@MalerieAnneke) and to my surprise, started getting an overwhelming flood of responses. My followers would reach out with questions, encouraging words and heartfelt “hair goals” comments. The true turning point, however, came when I decided to have an honest conversation on Youtube about the pains of having natural hair in Corporate America. My entire career has been spent doing social media management in corporate settings. I noticed that my hair was constantly on the receiving end of backhanded compliments or part of a line of uncomfortable questioning.
However, my commitment to healthy hair was bigger than the discomfort. So, I continued to wear my natural hair at work anyway. I took this dedication a step further and got professional headshots done wearing my natural hair. When I posted my headshots to LinkedIn and declared “I am a curly girl working in corporate America.” This post went viral. A flood of natural hair women who struggle with the same experiences at work began expressing their support. After over 3 millions views of this post across my social channels, brands began reaching out for partnerships.
Since then, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to partner with brands to test products, launch digital campaigns and participate in PR lists and packages. My biggest dedication is always to my followers, encouraging them to embrace their natural tresses as part of an overall health journey.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
This has not been a smooth road! The greatest challenge I am facing is juggling my life as a professional social media manager and my role as a social media influencer. For 10 hours a day, I am setting social media strategy and developing content for my corporation. It gets difficult to come home and develop strategy and make content for myself. What I have found helpful in managing this balancing act is partnering with writers and designers who know my brand and can help me with some of the heavy lifting of managing my social presence. My motivation to bypass this obstacle is always my community of natural hair followers. If ever I find myself neglecting my online community, I remember that people are paying attention and depending on me. I never know who’s watching so I just tell myself to get back to it.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Malerie Anneke – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
My brand is @MalerieAnneke and my online platform is meant to create a safe space that welcomes members of the natural hair community from all walks of life. Regardless of transition status, hair type, or hair goals followers will find tips on recovery, growth and repair as part of holistic wellness. This channel provides natural hair uplift, encouragement and trial and error transparency. This blog is for all young women, whether they are students, corporate professionals or free spirits. The mission of @MalerieAnneke is to encourage every follower and subscriber to find beauty in the crown they created.
In establishing this brand, I am most proud of my growth–not my hair growth– but my growth as a global citizen. I feel much more compassionate and connected to the human experience. My presence as a micro-influencer has given me the opportunity to guide women from all walks of life who are having a shared experience. I am now more empowered to embrace my natural hair in the workplace and talk about my journey with other people. I’ve learned that the more we share, the more we can relate and educate other people. The fact that I hold my head high and am not afraid to speak about my natural hair in corporate America is what sets me apart. Having this community of natural hair women backing me gives me the courage to say “No, you can’t touch my hair.”
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
So much of this journey has snowballed organically and I plan to let it continue to do so. My overarching goal of @MalerieAnneke is to grow my platform, continue to be an encouragement in the natural hair community and pave new inroads brands. I foresee more speaking engagements and invitations to participate in product innovation. I have such a deep appreciation for what this platform has grown to become. I believe wholeheartedly in letting @MalerieAnneke continue to grow into what it’s meant to be. Wherever this journey takes me, I am along for the ride. Whatever doors God opens, I’m there.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/malerieanneke/
- Other: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3HVLEeeC_D7I9ZJ0Maaj6w