Tell us a little bit about your background: Who are you and where are you headed?
Blessings. I am Amber Janae, an author and Digital Content Strategist from the Bay Area. I am the Founder of amberjanae.com, an online space curated to inspire self-love, wellness and spiritual growth in the lives of those who read. Also, the Founder and Creative Director of The Core Magazine, a self-care and wellness magazine for men and women of color. Lastly, the Founder and Creative Director of Twenty8, a clothing brand designed for the everyday creative. Since forever, I have always had a passion in my heart for writing and story-telling. It’s important for me to reinvent and recreate spaces to keep that passion alive while sharing it with those in need. I don’t just create these spaces for me, but for others like me as well. It is with great hope that I can take all of what I know and have learned to a place that enables me to dive deeper into the fashion and/or beauty industry in the near future.
How did you get your start in writing, social media, and wellness? Who or what inspired you?
I have been writing since I was a small child. I vividly remember forcing my older brother to teach me how to write my name. I believe that was the day I decided not to look back. I’ve always been passionate about technology, fashion and writing. I was not the average kid. I spent my summer vacations off from school glued to my computer, making clothes out of the hand-me-downs from my big cousins, and learning Destiny’s Child routines. I wrote poetry throughout high school. Tupac inspired me a lot then and is still a major inspiration for me now. I actually began writing my first fiction book in a beat-up journal at the age of 15. I got all the way to college and decided that school was not for me. I was very eager to pursue writing, but I didn’t feel like school could teach me what I felt I already knew. I have always been a bit of a non-conformist. I had an idea of how I wanted things to work and I did it all my way. After dropping out of college, I worked endlessly on the launch of my blog. I had spent the earlier part of my life working through and overcoming a lot of mental, physical and emotional abuse. I felt like, so much time had passed where I did nothing with my life but fight through pain, I was determined to find my joy. I believed writing was the only way to it. From the beginning of it all, I knew that I wanted to cultivate an online space that uplifted those who read my work. After a few rough starts, in 2012 amberjanae.com was born. Writing was my way of dealing with my trauma at the time, but I didn’t want it to be solely about me. I wanted to pour into others and inspire them to be their best selves. That’s how the self-care and wellness aspect of my career came into play. At the time I first launched my blog I was working as an assistant, but I knew that my goal was to work in the field of digital marketing. Eventually, my blog and dedication to it landed me in the career field I desired. I feel like my journey of personal growth has inspired me to pursue all of this. I went through really dark periods early on. I wanted to break away and no longer experience any of that so, I searched for the light. This, amberjanae.com and everything that has come from it was the light at the end of my tunnel.
Founder and Creative Visionary of The Core Magazine, as well as, AmberJanae.com your personal blog, talk to us about the decision to start The Core? Why did you want to enter the wellness and self-care space? How did you decide to step outside of your blog to do so?
I would say that wellness and self-care have always been the focal point of my career. I just feel like for so many years I did that one way, through my blog and my blog only. As I mentioned earlier, there is a huge importance for me to continue reinventing and recreating spaces that keep my passion alive, The Core was a product of this. I saw a need to create a publication that magnified the importance of bettering ourselves in every aspect. A place that not only encouraged mental, spiritual and physical wellness and healing, but encouraged us a people to do it collectively. There are very few publications that cater to both him and her. We’ve been sort of conditioned to be divided. Especially within the black community. Growing up, I was pretty much the only girl out of my brother and all of my cousins that were around my age. I grew up having a very close-knit bond with my brother, grandfathers, uncles and cousins. For years I had created content that inspired only women to heal. It wasn’t until I got older that I saw the value and the importance of that content inspiring men to take pride in their healing as well. Seeing firsthand the changes that the men in my life needed to make in order to become better versions of themselves was really my push to get The Core started.
A writer and author whose work I’ve respected for years, describe your writing process and why you still think good old-fashioned writing is important in 2017 even as podcasts, YouTube, and other forms of media come into play more and more?
Thank you. My writing process is very much intuitively guided. Before I understood the art of working and being fully led by my intuition, I would describe to other’s how I would often see people post excerpts of my work and I’d sometimes be in awe at what I read. I always feel like I am reading my own work for the very first time when I read it back. I don’t memorize much of anything that I write. I once described it as stepping outside of myself when creating. I now see it as me channeling wisdom from my higher self. Writing and reading is how I connect with the greater parts of me. I know that I can’t be the only person that feels this way which is why it is so important for me to continue to write.
In a way, we’ve become spoiled. It’s almost like we’ve lost our way. Writing is such a sacred, ancient practice. Seshat, she was the Egyptian Goddess of the written word also known as the mistress of “The House of Books.” She was the scribe of the pharaoh and was the patron who looked after the library of the gods during her time. She’s the only goddess engaged in the art of writing in the physical depictions of her that exist today. That is so powerful to me, always has been. The power we possess as writers is strong. That is why I’ll always honor and value the gift of writing. Her name literally means “female scribe” or she who scribes.” Hence where Ajscribes come from. It is history like this that makes it so important for me to always value that good old-fashion way of curating art in word form. Oftentimes, our work is the remedy for someone else’s pain or to inspire someone. I respect our ability to share our art in other forms, but it is very important to reprogram ourselves to understand the power that traditional reading and writing has and to instill that into our children and future generations.
What opportunities do you see for women/women of color/girls like you in your fields? How do you intend to positively influence those spaces?
If I am being honest, it has always been extremely hard for women of color in the blogging world. We aren’t afforded the same partnerships and opportunities as other women, that is a fact. There are plenty of opportunities out there for us all, but we don’t see women of color hold down the spaces we could and should. I believe that there has been a lot of progression over the last several years, but there are still so many talented women of color who go unnoticed and/or unsupported. We have all developed the “f* it I’ll do it myself attitude” when it comes to creating opportunities for ourselves, especially within the wellness and self-care fields. As men and women of color we’ve pretty much taken matters into our own hands, we’re dominating fitness, wellness, spirituality, all of that. I can only influence these spaces the best way I know how and that is continuing to support and shed light on the work that we’re all doing. I do my best to magnify the work the work of others through The Core Mag. I created that space solely for that. In addition, I would hope my work inspires and encourages someone to not see it as impossible to get out there and create your own opportunities while doing what you love.
What message would you give millennial women of color trying to break into the spaces you occupy – those who want to start their own magazine or blog or just live their best, most aligned life?
The advice I would give is, believe in yourself. People will tell you what you can’t do all day long. I’ve lived through it and I still live through it. A lot of what I am doing now are things I not only spoke into existence, but things that I believed in wholeheartedly. Never let anyone tell you something can’t be done. If it’s in your heart, do it. Don’t wait around for others to affirm or validate your greatness either. You won’t always receive the support that you desire from those you love. People won’t always show up for you in the ways you need them to, but that is not your problem. Keep moving forward. Don’t worry about trying to create something that impacts the world. Think about one person you can change. If your work changes one person, it was a success. Also, walk in your truth. Live your most authentic life as possible. It is very hard to break into or pursue anything without knowledge of who you truly are. The odds of anything being successful when it isn’t built on an authentic foundation are very slim. All of what I’ve achieved so far is a product of who I am to my core. All of my work is a representation of my true self.
It may not look like it to many, but I fell off a lot last year. I was trying so hard to find my way, but unauthentically. I barely wrote on my website. It almost didn’t make it into 2017. I was going through a lot of growth and change. I realized that a lot of things I had attached myself to were not a reflection of my true self. There was so much hindering my forward progression. I promise you, I often heard the words “when you decide to tell the truth you’ll find you way” replay in my head over and over. I felt extremely caged and stuck all throughout 2016 and going into 2017. I made a vow to myself that this would be the year I’d release anything and anyone hindering me from living authentically. And that vow to myself helped me to release a lot. When I did, the pathways opened. So many ideas came flooding in, so much energy and inspiration came through. Most importantly, I had got to a point where I truly felt like I was fully aligned and living my best, most authentic life. Being true to you will always serve you when you’re chasing any dream or passion. Have an amazing work ethic and don’t ever feel like you must be confined to one space. I don’t believe any of us were here to master and excel in just one thing. Use everything that God has given you. Don’t limit yourself at all.
What can we expect from you and The Core Magazine moving forward? How can we best be of support?
Moving forward, you can expect some of the best writers, photographers and influencers to bless the pages of the magazine. I am definitely working on ways to expand the content a bit more, I wish I could share all of the things I have in mind. There is so much in store. I’d love to have more men contribute their written work. A fun fact is, all of the photography thus far has been shot by men. I think that is so dope and it makes me proud. I definitely think the best support comes from sharing that platform and engaging in the content that we’ve all put our hearts into. The more people who know about The Core Magazine, the more lives we’re impacting.
In the end, how do you want your story depicted? What legacy do you want to leave behind?
In the end, I want people to be able to say that no matter what, she showed and spread love. There is no higher depiction of your art than it being admired for the love, passion, and thought put into it. The only legacy I seek to leave behind is the wisdom in my work that I pray will inspire future generations on the art of navigating through their pain. Nobody taught me how to do it, but I create what I create so that others do not feel alone in their process. I want them to know that those feelings of loneliness are only feelings. I want my work to be the work that inspires many to heal and not give up on themselves. I want my legacy to be known as the woman who was not supposed to make it but did. I want my children and their children to be able to say my mother beat all of the odds that were set against her. She survived all of the heartache, trauma, turmoil and pain and still managed to do it with a heart full of love. My only desired legacy is love, man. I want to leave behind an abundance of work filled with love that will pour into many for centuries to come.
Just for kicks
Erykah or Lauryn? – Certainly, Mother Badu.
Blog or Podcast? – I am a visuals kind of gal. I love a good blog.
Instagram or Twitter? – Twitter. It’s the only place I can laugh until my face hurts, get accurate news and watch an award show with family that isn’t actually family. Twitter wins every time.