How a creator’s natural hair journey built community
Google for Creators recently launched The Conversation, a new YouTube series spotlighting the experiences of women of color creators. This month, we’re featuring beauty and lifestyle creator Tyla-Lauren Gilmore, who shared how her natural hair journey led her to build an online community and become a full-time content creator. Learn more about Tyla-Lauren below and check out the full interview.
In 2014, Tyla-Lauren Gilmore graduated college and began to earn a living on her own. She was also trying to find herself, and started thinking about what kind of image she presented to the world. As she looked in the mirror, she wondered why, as a woman of color, she was straightening her natural curls — a process that, over many years, left her hair dry and damaged.
“A college friend told me, ‘Ty, people pay for your curly hair. You should embrace it,’” the native New Yorker says. “Not many of my friends had curly hair, so it was up to me. I was in search of community.”
Tyla-Lauren took to social media to find other women who looked like her. After following a few beauty bloggers on YouTube and Instagram, she began documenting her own natural hair journey. “I was figuring out what to do with my big afro,” she says. “I started posting my natural hair care tips and tricks on Instagram.” Almost immediately, other women took notice, and her online following grew.
Tyla-Lauren knew she’d tapped into something special when a widowed dad reached out for advice. “A father [messaged] me saying, ‘Hey, I just lost my wife, and I have no idea how to do my daughter’s hair,’” she recalls. “I gave him step-by-step processes of how to do his daughter’s hair. And he was so grateful. From then on, I knew this was something I wanted to do.”
She continued to grow her web presence over the next few years, including starting a YouTube channel. In 2018, she quit her 9-to-5 job at a beauty products company to become a full-time digital content creator.
Tyla-Lauren Gilmore’s YouTube channel features dozens of videos and has almost 10,000 subscribers.
Now, Tyla-Lauren has more than 150,000 followers across her social media channels, creating a supportive space for women to connect and share their experiences. She posts on beauty and fashion, lifestyle, cooking, parenting, travel and self-care. She aims to create authentic content that people can relate to. “I love helping people, especially younger girls looking for a role model,” she says. She has also developed business partnerships with major brands across different industries, with her TyLauren website serving as the home base for her growing portfolio.
Tyla-Lauren Gilmore started posting about her natural hair journey on social media; today, she’s a full-time content creator.
For Tyla-Lauren, helping other women and girls on their own self-discovery journeys makes the hard work of being a full-time content creator well worth the effort. She offers two pieces of advice to other women considering becoming creators themselves.
Know your self-worth
Tyla-Lauren recalls the first $50 she received for creating original content. “At first, I viewed it as extra gas money for my commute into the city,” she remembers. But when she left her corporate job, Tyla-Lauren had to get savvy about how to survive and thrive as a solopreneur. She recommends researching the content creation space you’re in to learn more about what brands will pay for product reviews, content sponsorship and other types of business deals. “You may be super appreciative to [work with brands], but it’s not about working for free,” she notes. “Brands have money, and you are a contractor who is doing a job for them. I want all young creators to know this: Take pride in your work and know your self-worth. Be savage! Never sell yourself short!”
Be relatable… and vulnerable
So many social media influencers, including celebrities, curate seemingly flawless images online. Tyla-Lauren strives to create a welcoming community for all women and girls, inviting them to share their day-to-day life experiences. “I’m a creator, but I’m also a human being,” she says. “I want to erase that [ideal] that everything is perfect and all flowy dresses and vacations. That’s not what being a creator is about. I talk to people about normal stuff like laundry and grocery shopping and things that we all go through.” Her posts on mental health and self-care, including her own experiences in therapy, have been very popular with her followers. “These posts get a huge response,” she says. “People connect with you. Everyone’s story matters. We’re all human.”
Tyla-Lauren wants her readers to be vulnerable and know their worth.