1. First off, how long have you been blogging for?
I’ve been blogging for what feels like my entire life. I created my first blog when I was only eight years old, posting on and off until I was thirteen. But I didn’t really start getting into blogging until college, where I joined the team of my university’s fashion blog, Trendsetters at the U, my freshman year. After three years of blogging for my university, I knew this was something I wanted to do for real. But I knew that if I was going to really commit to it, I had to do it right. Michelle ma Belle was a project I slowly and seriously worked on for about a year. From making lists of potential blog names, to frantically texting my blogger and programmer friends for advice, to taking a web design class at my university and, of course, doing lots and lots of Googling. It finally was finally ready to be shared and I launched my blog in July of 2016 and have loved every minute of it since.
2. What made you start blogging? Was there someone in particular that influenced you to become a blogger? Or a specific website?
One day when I was about eight years old, my dad sat me down on a computer, and showed me the world of blogs. He told me, that this was a space online that could be my very own. I could write stories, share bits and pieces about my life, or anything else my heart desired. I was in awe, and took to it right away. Michelledufflocq.blogspot.com was born and I wrote everything from stories about cats to little diary entries about my life and what I was interested in. My sister and cousins all started blogs too, but their excitement wore off within a couple days. My excitement still hasn’t worn off. Which is how Michelle ma Belle came to be.
3. Why is it that YOU blog, and what keeps you going?
First and foremost I blog for myself. I’ve always loved writing, taking photos and documenting my life so it’s just a very natural and fun thing for me. I’m a total introvert so blogging for me is a way to speak to the world in a way I feel comfortable with. I obviously love the community aspect of it and am so grateful for everyone who reads my blog and the connections I’ve made from it, but I think it’s so important to do it for you before anything else. What keeps me going is my genuine passion for everything blogging is. I love doing it, and I love reading other people’s blogs, which helps fuel my motivation if I’m just not feeling it. I honestly care more about bloggers/YouTubers than movie stars at this point, it’s become a total obsession!
4. Have you ever written a post you were hesitant about publishing? Did you maybe not even publish it? If so, why?
I wrote a post called Back to School Thoughts which was all about feeling overwhelmed and lost after embarking upon my senior year of college. I was having a particularly rough week and just needed to vent, so I started typing and a post just sort of fell out of me. Clicking that “Publish” button was pretty daunting, especially knowing many of my peers would probably click on it. It ended up being my most popular post and I’m so glad I went out of my comfort zone and showed vulnerability because I think it really resonated with people. It’s so important to show that you’re human when creating any piece of content. It’s easy to put up a “picture-perfect” persona online, but it’s when you’re the most real that people really start to connect with you.
5. How does it feel to be a woman influencer online, especially in today’s world?
It’s pretty frickin’ cool but it’s definitely not easy. On one hand you’re a part of this amazing community of girlbosses who kick ass at what they do and are there to provide inspiration and support, but on the other hand that can be incredibly overwhelming. It’s hard not to compare yourself to other female influencers especially in a society that likes to pit women against each other. Women also are victims to way nastier comments than men from what I’ve experienced. You can’t get away with anything. You have to look perfect and be perfect but not too perfect because that’s fake. You’re held up to this ridiculous standard that you can never ever reach. It gets exhausting. I once made a Tinder Storytime YouTube video and nothing has proven to me that the world needs feminism more than the comments I get on it.
6. Where do you see blogging in the future? 5 years from now?
I’m very interested to see where blogging goes in the future. I think social media is a platform a lot of people connect with bloggers through, so I definitely see those becoming more blogger-friendly and blog content being expanded even further to tailor to social media. I think that the blogging industry has not yet reached it’s peak which is pretty exciting. There’s a lot more potential there. But no matter what, I sincerely hope that blogging or forms of blogging remain relevant for a long time. 5 years from now I hope I’m still creating content I’m proud of, hopefully for just a few more eyes to read.
7. How has starting your YouTube changed your perspective on blogging?
My sister and I started our YouTube channel almost four years ago and I only just launched my blog last summer, so it’s been a learning experience for sure. YouTubing and blogging are similar in many ways, so being a YouTuber has definitely helped my transition into the blogging world. It’s opened my eyes to the world of content creators, helped me hone my camera skills and helped me develop my voice and personal brand. Most importantly it’s taught me how to hustle. It’s shown me how much time and effort it takes to do anything worthwhile online, something that I was definitely oblivious to before dipping my toe into the YouTube world. Starting a YouTube channel made me realize that being a content creator could be an actual career while being something you’re passionate about at the same time. It definitely was responsible for the turning point in my perspective on blogging.
8. What are some other hobbies you have besides blogging?
I’m honestly down for anything that allows me to get creative. Making music will always be very close to my heart, I love singing, playing guitar and writing music. Music is something I definitely would like to do more of on my YouTube channel. I posted my first solo cover on the channel a couple of months ago and it got a really good response which was incredibly humbling. Taking photos is also my jam. I love Instagram and am always of the hunt for aesthetically pleasing backdrops, quality latte art, and good lighting. In my free time though I love perusing Pinterest in my pajamas, watching The Bachelor, journaling and reading. Downtime is essential for creativity to be able flourish!
9. Lastly, I’m always looking to follow new bloggers. So who are your favorite 3?
That’s such a tough question! At the moment I am obsessed with Chelsea Lankford (TrueLane) and everything she does. Her style is the epitome of cool. Tamara Waterston (Champagne and Macaroons) is a recent fave. Her taste is exquisite and she has the cutest dogs I’ve ever seen. Julia Engel (Gal Meets Glam) has been my queen since day #1. Her blog is gorgeous, plus her and her husband are ultimate #couplegoals.
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