Beauty and Brains with Ijeoma Kola

Hi EDEN family! It’s Ijeoma here - creator of the blog and YouTube channel, Klassy Kinks. After several years of sharing content designed to change perceptions of kinky textured hair around the world, I recently changed my motto to “thriving at the intersection of beauty and brains”.

 

Photo credit: Jeff Brooks

 

You see, in addition to being a full time beauty and lifestyle blogger - based on the number of hours I spend building my brand each week - I’m also a full time PhD student. I’m in my sixth year (hopefully of seven!) of a public health program at Columbia University, writing on the history of asthma in black urban America. I often get questions about how I balance my school and my blog. Being in a PhD program actually created the perfect environment for me to become a blogger. Many doctoral programs are individually paced - you create your own course schedule, decide when you’re ready to take exams, and do your research on your own. So I had the flexibility to start and grow a blog in a way that I might not have been able to do if I had a traditional career. The self-starter traits that are necessary for navigating higher education are the same ones needed to be a successful blogger, so the two roles mesh well together.

 

Still, I spend a lot of time jumping back and forth between school and blog commitments. Though beauty and fashion blogging is more fun than researching and writing, I am equally passionate about my academic work and the community I’ve created through my online presence. To help keep on top of it all, I have a support system that keeps me accountable with my schoolwork. I also have a network of bloggers who share resources, hacks, and opportunities to help one another flourish. On my computer, I have two different logins for academic work and blog work, and I use the Productivity Planner and the pomodoro method when I have really tight weeks with several time-sensitive deadlines.

 

In addition to being a PhD student and a blogger, I’ve also recently added on the job title of wife. Planning a large, intercultural wedding gave me tons of new and beautiful content to share with my readers, and by taking them along my process, I was able to connect with people on a more personal level. Even though I’d been sharing a bit of non-hair related content before the wedding, people really now understand that I’m not just a hair blogger.

 

Photo credit: Alakija Studios

 

Besides God, my husband is my biggest help in keeping my life together. He helps take my pictures when I don’t have time to shoot with a photographer, he suggests new content ideas, and every once in a while, he indulges me with a selfie or a video despite being camera shy and social media averse. I have absolutely loved every second of marriage - I describe it to my friends as having a personal hype man every day!

I hope my story can encourage you to pursue ALL the dreams that have been laid on your heart. I firmly believe that God does not give you ideas unless he wants you to act on them, so go forth and thrive in whatever you are meant to do!

 

Photo credit: Taylor Carment

 

-Ijeoma Kola

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