From Rags To Riches: Kristina Bazan On How To Become A Mega-Blogger

From Rags To Riches: Kristina Bazan On How To Become A Mega-Blogger

Just announced as the new spokesperson for L’Oréal. Digital It-Girl Kristina Bazan is leading a blogging revolution. We spoke to her about setting a new bar, pioneering a three-dimensional approach and transforming the future of fashion

“I feel like I’m leading a double life,” Kristina Bazan tells me on the phone from Paris, midway through our conversation. I’m speaking to one of the brightest digital stars of the moment; a girl that the term mega-blogger was coined for, although, as I’m learning, to call her a blogger would be simplifying things. “My blog was never the finality of what I wanted to do. I launched it as an outlet for me to express my creativity. I thought I may be an interior architect or a writer – even a painter one day. But I love music and I feel like I’ve been doing it behind the curtain!” she says of her recent foray into songwriting.

Kristina bazan, EW Cover Story, Polo Ralph Lauren

Floral dress Dhs1,760. All by Polo Ralph Lauren

A bit of background; Bazan launched her fashion blog Kayture a mere five years ago and has since amassed 2.3million Instagram followers (arguably a more crucial influence barometer than page impressions these days), a mention on Forbes30 under 30 list, a host of luxury collaborations (think Louis Vuitton, Cartier and Chopard) and a legion of fans who call themselves The Kayturettes. The last one alone is enough to cement her status as a bona fide fashion influencer – a term I’ve always wondered if girls like her love or loathe. “Of course if I’m asked the question, I say I’m a blogger. It is what it is,” she says matter-of-factly, “but I do find the word quite diminishing because technically we can all click a button on the internet and suddenly have a blog. It takes so much more to actually make a statement in the industry and create something that’s going to inspire people or change their perception of something.”

Kristina bazan, EW Cover Story, Polo Ralph Lauren

Leather collar jacket Dhs6,700 Coach, Suede dress Dhs3,325 Vanessa Bruno at, matchesfashion.com, Mini suede cross-body bag Dhs1,380 See by Chloé

She’s right, of course – and for a 22-year-old girl from Switzerland who’s now graced the cover of everything from Portuguese Vogue to now Emirates Woman, the word ‘blogger’ does seem a little reductive. So what would she like to be called? “It’s hard because I don’t think I’m the one to say what people need to call me!” she laughs, “I don’t really like labelling myself, either. I just know I’m a very creative person and I have a lot to share. I want to express myself on different platforms, whether it’s text, photography or music. I just want to create. I think saying that I’m an artist is the best way to put it, but that’s not a label I want to give myself! It’s one I have to earn.”

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Read: How To Be Insta-Famous 

What’s most striking about Kristina – aside from her doll-like features and killer knack for a great outfit – is how smart and self-aware she is for someone so young. Speaking to her is like sitting through a mini TED talk. It’s easy to see, then, the appeal for millions of girls – and indeed brands. “When I was growing up I couldn’t afford a designer bag or anything like that, and I’d never showcase expensive clothing on my blog. I experienced challenges as I went along and I think people could feel how excited I was. So many of my readers come up to me and say, ‘what I love most about your story is that I was living all these things with you’. I didn’t come from money and I’m an example of how you can start with nothing and achieve something pretty cool. It gives hope to a lot of girls.”

Kristina bazan, EW Cover Story, Polo Ralph Lauren

Aviator sunglasses Dhs1,385 Oliver Peoples at mytheresa.com, Silk bomber jacket Dhs3,275
Tommy Hilfiger, Flare jeans Dhs1,005 Stella McCartney at matchesfashion.com

Read: Eight Dubai Instagram Accounts you Should Be Following 

And who doesn’t love a good old rags-to-riches tale? The difference here is that hers is no Cinderella story. Instead, she used her entrepreneurial talent as currency and capitalised on her ability to resonate with her readers on a real level. “I think it’s a matter of sensitivity,” she explains. “I have a lot of empathy and I manage to put myself in a lot of different positions. I write articles from my point of view but I always have in mind what my readers are going to feel when they read it. And I try not to take myself too seriously. When you’re in the fashion bubble you can very quickly get absorbed by it and lose your grounding so I try to make my writing as relatable as possible.”

Kristina bazan, EW Cover Story, Polo Ralph Lauren

Suede jacket, Crochet black midi-dress Dhs1,445, Tan leather woven belt Dhs820, Neck scarf worn on wrist. All Polo Ralph Lauren

She’s tapped into something valuable there, that’s for sure. Killer outfits notwithstanding, her writing is what sets her apart in a very overcrowded blogosphere. It’s candid, naive and warm, and absolutely says ‘you can sit with us’. And in the Mean Girls-esque fashion domain, that’s pretty refreshing. Kristina may have graduated from Zara and H&M to be dressed in Balmain and hanging out backstage, but she’s not lost her USP: her every girl perspective. “I love reading fashion magazines but they always have a tone that makes you feel that this is the lifestyle you have to lead. Not everybody is experiencing that – it’s such a luxury.”

Read: How To Be A Successful Blogger: Tips From the Experts

She tells me when she started out she only knew of two brands, “When Vogue flew me to Tokyo for Fashion Night Out I had no idea who Michael Kors was. I’d only heard of Anna Wintour twice!” she laughs. “I think it allowed me to write from such a fresh perspective. I couldn’t write like that anymore, though – when you’re working for brands you have to have earned a certain credibility. But I’m really happy I came into the industry with such a naive view and grew to learn everything.”

 

Kristina bazan, EW Cover Story, Polo Ralph Lauren

Gold hoop earrings Polo Ralph Lauren, Suede black jacket Dhs1,830 Sandro, Crochet top Dhs760 Maje, Mosaic white 18-carat gold pendant POA Kamushki, Leather brass buckle belt Dhs467 B-Low The Belt at revolve.com

Speaking of brands, her CV is impressive to say the least. “The video I did for Mugler was one of my biggest highlights,” she says. “They approached me without really having a project in mind, just saying they’d love to work with me,” she says, a tinge of incredulity in her voice. “I had the opportunity to do whatever I wanted so I brought in my friend Justin Wu, who’s an amazing director. It was incredible. We hired the whole production team, selected the location, wrote the story, I wrote and performed a song – everything! They allowed me such creative freedom. When a brand does that, that’s when I want to express myself the most and do the best I can. I love photography and artistic direction and I’m using that to create projects and to erect all the artistry behind them.”

Kristina bazan, EW Cover Story, Polo Ralph Lauren

Round sunglasses Dhs950 Prada at mytheresa.com, Patchwork leather jacket Dhs9,200 Coach, Cream knit tank top Dhs1,850 Coach, Bone pendant necklace Dhs605 Isabel Marant, Flare jeans Dhs1,005 Stella McCartney at matchesfashion.com, Dumbell bangle in rose 18-carat gold POA Kamushki

Her boundless energy and enthusiasm means she’s embraced so many facets of the creative world. You can’t really see pigeonholing herself ever becoming an issue; a smart move in an ever-changing digital landscape. “I’m really focusing on my music right now. I like stuff that’s a little edgier and darker. The Weeknd is one of my favourite artists but I grew up listening to Britney [Spears]!” she admits. “I play keys and compose all my own songs. But people already know me for something else so I have to be very careful about the way I release my music. I want to keep my fashion career and my music career separate.”

Read: Kristina Bazan Fun Facts 

Kristina’s also written a book, On The Go, which couldn’t be a more apt title. “It took me two years because of timing. And I really wanted it to be an actual book, not just images from my blog, so all the pictures were created exclusively for it. It’s 240 pages of almost all text and a really poetic photography concept. It’s a lifestyle guide; more of a motivational book than the rules to blogging or my biography.”

It’s becoming clear that she doesn’t do things by halves. But how on earth does she find the time? “My team is amazing – we’re five people currently,” she says of her crew, split between LA and Paris and including her manager James Chardon, her ex-boyfriend and photographer who she launched the blog with back in 2011. They’re all wunderkinds – young, sparky, and plugged-in to the digital revolution to such a degree that they’re also responsible for directing it. “I think in order to have a good team and energy it all comes down to transparency and communication. We’re very honest about our ambitions and what we want to achieve in a few years and we try to adapt our tasks for the blog to serve opportunities we want to have later.”

Read: Inspirational Women Aged 25 And Under 

On the topic of the future, where does she see it all going? “I don’t want to be just confined to this blogging bubble; I want to make things happen outside it and not just be a virtual personality. My approach has changed incredibly because at the beginning the blog was the only platform I had in order to have visibility,” she says. “Now I’ve managed to establish myself outside the internet which I’m so grateful for. One major thing is that I’m becoming an official spokesperson for L’Oréal. It’s an incredible step for me because there aren’t that many digital It-girls that are able to transition to the actual print world.”

Kristina bazan, EW Cover Story, Polo Ralph Lauren

Stripe shirt Dhs410, Tan leather belt, Wide leg jeans Dhs620, White leather fringe bag Dhs4,145
All by Polo Ralph Lauren

It’s a wake-up call for anyone who’s still dismissing the legitimacy of the blogger. Her L’Oréal deal is rumoured to make her seven figures a year – that’s a staggering new bar for fashion and beauty influencers everywhere. You can see her already moving forward, though, resting on her laurels not an option. “I know that if you want to survive today in the blogosphere – or in fashion in general – you have to be able to constantly innovate and transform yourself because otherwise you’re going to be boring.” Spoken like the true SnapChat generation. “Fashion is part of the entertainment industry so you need to give people something new all the time. Our attention span is so short that if you’re not interesting they’re going to look somewhere else, so I think that once people think they know who I am, I’m going to change again.” One step ahead, as always.

 

The Polo Ralph Lauren Collection is available at The Dubai Mall, Mirdif City Center, Burjuman Center,
Mall of the Emirates, City Walk and The Galleria on Al Maryah Island

 

Main image: Look by Polo Ralph Lauren 

Styling Jade Sprowson | Photography Aaron Feaver | Make-up Gloria Noto at Atelier Management | Hair Rick Grandone at Atelier Management | Nails Adela Munoz at OPI | Nail polish throughout You’re So Vain-illa  by OPI | With thanks to the Beverly Hilton hotel

 

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   April 13, 2016