We first met and fell in love with Mattie James back in 2010 when she decided to interview Mel for her then blog, mattieologie.com, as part of a video series featuring women who embraced her motto of "live what you love" - a mantra she still preaches to this day. Perhaps it was their mutual love for fashion, or the fact that they both grew up as first generation Americans and shared a similar work ethic, but the two hit it off instantly and have remained fashion friends ever since.
Born to Liberian parents, Mattie was strongly influenced by her entrepreneurial mom and dad who literally lived the American dream - starting with close to nothing and building a comfortable home and life for their family. With business on her mind at a very young age, Mattie started her blog as a fun hobby in 2008 but when she won the crown of Miss Liberia United States the following year she decided to take the digital platform a bit more seriously.
As Mattie states, "I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning, I just knew one day I wanted to work for myself full time." That is precisely what has materialized for Mattie over the seven years that she has been consistently blogging. Her now blog, mattiejames.com, is not only a business with a full-time team, but it is also a means by which she teaches other content creators and entrepreneurs how to live a life they love through her online courses and masterclasses.
What we love above all about this mom, wife, daughter, entrepreneur, coach and fashionista is her transparency. She certainly keeps it real and proves that you CAN do it all (read how she maintains balance below) and you CAN make a very beautiful living simply by being your authentic self.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
I wake up, pray and journal, then get my husband and daughter ready for their day. Once they're out the door, I pull myself together and head to my office. No two days are ever alike. Some days I'm shooting videos and other days, I'm on calls and writing blog posts. But I like that each day is different. Keeps me on my toes!
How do you find balance?
I look for it really, really hard. Ha! Honestly, balance looks different everyday and what I've come to accept is that true balance means you will fall short in some aspect of your life each day. Some days, I'm an awesome wife and mom and a mediocre businesswoman. Other days, I'm supermom and amazing entrepreneur but lacked in the wife department. And that's ok. That's part of being human. I promise myself to put my best foot forward each day and not to beat myself up if I do miss the mark.
What are some of your wardrobe staples?
I love a great pair of wide leg jeans, oversized sunnies and a nude lipstick that makes me look effortlessly chic.
What gets you most excited about the future of your fashion blog?
The endless possibilities. The fact that so many content creators are running their blogs as businesses excites me. I'm dabbling into introducing physical product to my audience and excited to see where that takes us.
Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere. I try my best to walk outside and let what I see and hear inspire me in a way that social media and the Internet can't. How my two year old daughter approaches new things inspires me as well. There's something about approaching things with new eyes that is powerful. Most times, I flip through my favorite magazines and let gorgeous images excite me about my next project.
The best career advice you received?
People will always talk, do it anyway.
Who is your role model?
Easy. My mom.
Who is your style muse?
Tracee Ellis Ross.
What are three items you always carry in your handbag?
Hand sanitizer, sunglasses and lip gloss.
What do you love about the Mel Boteri bag you chose for your #MelsMuses feature?
The color. That blue just pops and commands your attention.
What tips do you have for other women looking to let their personal style shine through?
Make it your own. Pick out your favorite features and highlight them. If you love your legs, wear more skirts! If you have killer arms and shoulders, embrace the off the shoulder trend.
Here at Mel Boteri, we believe the best style is your style, so thank you, Mattie, for embracing your beautiful style and especially for inspiring other women to do the same.
We also want to give a special thank you to the following individuals and companies who made this #MelsMuses feature possible:
LOCATION: High Museum of Art, Atlanta
VIDEO & EDITING: Marquis Garden Media
MUSIC CREDIT: Island by MBB → https://soundcloud.com/mbbofficial, Creative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported— CC BY-SA 3.0 → https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/, Music provided by Audio Library → https://youtu.be/6by8zhaG04Y