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Zoe amazing

NATANGA SMITH, [email protected]

Zoe amazing

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Meet Zoe Allamby, a 23-year-old Barbadian living for the past five years in Miami, Florida and currently working as a fashion marketer for Miami-based designer Julian Chang. Added to that she has her own beauty blog on social media websites.

Growing up in Porter, St James, and having studied theatre arts at The St Michael School, Zoe knew she had a love for performing/media.

“I really, really, really wanted to be a model or an actress,” she told EASY magazine of her childhood ambitions.

She left Barbados to study at Miami International University of Art and Design, graduating with a bachelor of arts (honours) in fashion merchandising.

“To hone my skills I did marketing internship at The Falls Mall, a subsidiary of a Fortune 500 company, Simon Property Group, working directly with the director of marketing and business development, assisting in marketing, operations, and administration at the shopping complex in a metropolitan area of Miami,” she said.

She also did a bit of modelling, and considered herself a natural in front of the camera.

“I was bitten by the fashion bug from early. I had a love for clothes. My mum and dad [Cynthia and Michael] owned retail stores. So I used to work with them. It just was so organic that I decided to further my studies in the industry.”

Zoe’s full-time job description as a fashion marketer, she brand, as well as how it is perceived by the public.  “My duties are vast but include digital marketing campaigns, art direction and the management of e-commerce sales.”

Speaking of digital, she has countless Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube posts with beauty and style advice.

“It started with me watching tonnes of make-up tutorials on YouTube. There was something so relatable about watching girls, just like me, show how they apply their make-up. As time went on I thought to myself, ‘Why can’t I do this? I love make-up, I have a camera, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t’. I also noticed the lack of black girls on YouTube, even though there were lots of videos, they were few girls I could truly identify with. I realised I could help fill a void.

“After just talking about doing it for a couple of weeks my old roommate Ryan really gave me the initial push to start filming. And by that I mean a literal push: she made me sit down at our dorm room desk and pushed the record button on my little digital camera,” Zoe said, chuckling at the memory. “My experience in modelling made it easy for me to be in front of the camera.”

With thousands of views, Zoe tries to make sure she posts regularly so her subscribers won’t have withdrawal symptoms. She says juggling her full-time job and blogging works out as both feed off of each other.

“Since both are creative positions it’s actually quite easy and helpful. The hardest thing for me is the time it takes to produce a quality video/blog post from beginning to end. There are so many elements involved: getting ready, filming, editing, exporting, uploading and writing just to name a few. It really and truly is a whole production.”

Zoe said her life has changed for the better since she started blogging.

“It has opened a lot of doors to collaborate with global brands, attend various events and network with inspirational people. I’ve had the privilege to work with esteemed make-up brands such as IMAN Cosmetics, Beautiful Textures and Made Beautiful.”

Zoe tries to make sure her attire and make-up represent her brand as a blogger and her job description.

“What I wear is entirely based on how I feel in the morning.  Trends can constrict you, I don’t believe in any set of rules dictating when to wear a particular item . . . . I work in a fashion office and am usually in front of the computer for the majority of the day so my theme is comfort. My outfits can vary from maxi skirts to jersey pants or even off-the-shoulder tops.  Also you can usually catch me in an all black outfit. Even though I may look like I’m constantly in mourning, it’s no doubt a chic colour . . . .You can never go wrong with all black”, she said, laughing.

As you may have noticed from the pictures, Zoe has natural hair.

She has been natural for about five years, applying her last relaxer before she left Barbados for college.

“I love my natural hair,” she said, adding that her go-to style is a high messy bun. “My hair is usually set in braids, twists from the night before so I usually just unravel, spray with a little water and dab with coconut oil for moisture and shine.”

As a naturalista myself, the topic veered more towards hair.

What are your favorite products? “Cantu Leave In Conditioner, shea butter and coconut oil.”

 How do you retain length? “Larger, twisted protective styles for sure. I’ve actually oftentimes found the less I play with my hair, the more it grows.”

How do you keep your hair moisturised? “ Typically with the L.O.C method which is liquid/leave in conditioner (I usually use water), oil (coconut oil) and cream – Design Essentials Curl Stretching Cream.  Also I sleep with a satin head scarf every night. It’s not cute but it pays off in the morning,” she said.

Tell us about your washday routine and how often do you wash your hair? “I wash my hair once a week. My hair is naturally on the drier side so I try to stretch not washing as far as I can so the natural oils aren’t stripped. To assist I use a sulfate free shampoo to increase moisture retention. After a thorough wash I coat my hair with a conditioner, focusing on the ends. The ends are the oldest part of your hair so they need the most attention. I usually put it in 4 big twists, also adding some coconut oil and put on a plastic cap for 20-30 minutes then wash out. Due to the twisting, when I wash out my hair, it is already detangled.”

Zoe says she wants to be an inspiration to other young Barbadian women.

“The web isn’t only for social engagement but for building a business. It’s the most inexpensive way to establish credibility and show your talents in a professional way as it connects you with the entire world.”

Since starting her journey, Zoe said that she had learnt to keep pushing: “Everything in life has a season; the good and the bad. The important thing is to not let the bad times overcome or define you.

“I believe everything that has occurred in my life has led me to where I am supposed to be. Everything is unfolding in God’s perfect will.”