Luvvie Ajayi is determined to bring about change one chuckle at a time on social media. As a digital strategist, humor blogger at Awesomely Luvvie and director of her non-profit Red Pump Project, the self-proclaimed “wacky wordsmith” has used her various platforms to not only raise awareness about like HIV/AIDS through her foundation, but to also infuse laughter into people’s lives in a unique way. With an irreverent voice and razor-sharp wit she dishes on everything pop culture, social justice and technology while serving side-eye and hilarious commentary that has earned her top billing as one of the most influential voices in the blogosphere. Even Shonda Rhimes is a fan, retweeting and addressing her posts directly during Thursday night OMG TV. Fresh, bold and brilliant, Luvvie’s commentary keeps her followers in stitches and brands clamoring to work with her. Here are her thoughts on her 11-year journey and what it takes to succeed in the digital space.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I basically get up around 8:30. I usually check my emails first thing when I wake up. There’s usually something overdue in there somewhere. I’m like in my email for the first 30 minutes to an hour. I’m loitering on Facebook and Twitter. And then I get to writing my column at The Grio. It gets kind of crazy different because on some days I work more on doing work for The Red Pump Project, working on sponsorship kits, working on our events we have coming up. I loiter too much on Instagram and Facebook and Twitter. I usually have some type of conference call. Usually I have them back to back. And then more writing.
How did you get started with Awesomely Luvvie? It’s quirky, different, funny. How did it come about?
Luuvie: It basically formed itself. When I started blogging, I didn’t set out to be a “humor” blogger. I was just writing and using my voice and just talking like I was talking to my friends and people were laughing. So it’s just based on the fact that I’m goofy and that came across in my writing. It was leaning more toward humor and I just kept doing it. People I didn’t know started reading my blog, people started sharing my work. In 2009, I started blogging more, started writing more. Started getting more attention for it. More people started reading it. And it kinda just grew.
What are three secrets to your success that you rely on to live your dream?
One secret to my success is always staying true to myself. I don’t say what I don’t believe. I mean what I say and I say what I mean. And I think most of my success is because of the fact that people trust me. I think integrity is one of my strongest values. So just knowing that whatever I do is because I want to do it, not because I’m getting paid for it.
And just making sure that I’m working hard. When people ask ‘how did you get here’ I wasn’t necessarily the best blogger. I wasn’t necessarily the funniest. But I’m one of the ones who kept doing it. While other people fell off and stopped writing and got distracted I just kept writing. So I’ve been writing consistently for eight years. And just because I had been writing for so long, it made my writing better. And I can read things I wrote eight years ago and say I am a way better writer now.
And three, treating my audience like they are my friends in my head has also made me successful. They are the ones who cheer me on the most and it’s amazing because my community really does ride for me and it’s just because I’m transparent with them. If I can’t write today I can say hey y’all I can’t write today and they’ll say alright fine but make sure you write tomorrow. So my community is an extended friends circle for me. And that brings them into the process. It’s made them more invested in me.
What’s been your biggest career mistake or obstacle you’ve had to overcome and what did you learn from that experience?
I would say an obstacle would be, just having people take my work seriously. I have to constantly prove the value of what I do. That’s definitely an obstacle. But I think it’s something that all “creatives” have to deal with because our work isn’t always necessarily tangible, as in you can hold it in your hand. People tend to undervalue it. So for me that has been something that’s an obvious challenge, but how I’ve overcome it is I just stick my ground. I know what I’m bringing to the table and I know basically that there is only one me so it’s kinda like ‘sure if you don’t want to pay me what I’m worth, you can go somewhere else.’ Anybody who thinks it’s important to get me will come to the table right.
Who are your personal heroes and why?
My mom is one of my personal heroes just because she taught me how to be like the woman I would be proud of. She’s someone who I would say put being a good person above all else and she taught me that. On a professional tip, for sure Oprah because she also finds it very important to stay true to herself as she’s built this ginormous empire. Oprah has done it by being her. She’s talked about her struggles and she’s been transparent. Just her approach to success being more than “get all the money that you can.” That is inspiring to me. And she built this entire media conglomerate and made a name for herself. And I feel like it would be cool to do the same thing one day.
Finish this sentence: I’m living my dream by:
I’m living my dream by saying things that matter. As my platform grows I have to understand that yeah I can talk about anything at any time, and not do anything that makes a difference but that’s a waste of elevation. So I’m living my dream by really loving what I do and saying things that matter.
Connect with Luvvie:
@Luvvie on Instagram and Twitter