TURNER Q&A: Nana Agyemang | Every Stylish Girl
From transforming The Cut’s social media presence to founding Every Stylish Girl, a company devoted to elevating Black and Brown women at media companies, Nana Agyemang has an impressive résumé, to say the least. But wait, there’s more: in addition to being a multimedia journalist and entrepreneur and journalist, she’s a powerhouse influencer in the travel and fashion spaces — just check out her dazzling Instagram feed for an abundance of inspiration. Recently, Nana took some time out from her busy schedule to chat with the TURNER team.
How’d you get started to become the amazing influencer and content creator you are today?
This is a profession to me. I got my master’s degree at Columbia University for multimedia journalism, so this is something I’ve been doing on the ground for over five years now. But the thought of being an influencer and content creator wasn’t something I knew about five years ago. I just knew I had a camera in my hand, and I wanted to tell the stories of Black women in fashion and media, and I wanted to specifically focus on entrepreneurship. It really came very organically to me. I love storytelling and I love interviewing people. I’ve always had that relationship with content creation, but at first, I didn’t realize it could be a business on Instagram.
Tell us about where the concept for Every Stylish Girl came from.
Every Stylish Girl came about from asking the question: “What is the Black, millennial publication for women?” We’re there to speak to the millennial women, the women who are trying to figure out their careers. They’re trying to move to the next level, and they don’t feel like Essence or Ebony quite captures their voice. So, we create content for those women to motivate and inspire them. We teach them how to be phenomenal content creators and entrepreneurs.
More and more, influencers want to be financially compensated for their work. How should brands navigate those conversations?
Brands should definitely have it built into their marketing budgets. Specifically speaking of influencers of color, they oftentimes feel undervalued. And the reason why is that they aren’t being compensated for their work. So, there has to be some kind of budget allocated for influencers — a separate budget from an all-inclusive experience, travel, flight, food, etc. An influencer starting from 30k to 50k followers is going to start to say, “Hey, I want some type of budget for this [partnership].”
Ultimately, you really have to be mindful of the time that these influencers are putting in. It’s amazing to have an all-inclusive trip — trust me, I’ve done 20 of those this year. They’re great. But it’s important to understand that an influencer’s time and labor are worth the spend. Remember, they’re creating marketing materials for you. Otherwise, a brand would have to hire a photographer, pay for a model, get a videographer. With an influencer, you have someone who is a one-stop shop. So, why not allocate even a minor budget towards that?
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What advice do you have for destinations and brands with a historically non-diverse audience who want to diversify their content in an authentic way?
If you’re trying to push for diversity, you’re going to have those people [in your audience] that just aren’t going to be as interested, because they’re not used to seeing that type of content. They’ll say, “What’s going on — this is not what I signed up for!” But what’s going to be so beautiful is that you’ll bring in a new community.
That’s what happened at The Cut. So many Black women followed The Cut while I was there. They knew we were speaking to them, and they felt seen, they felt appreciated, and they were so much more interested in our product than ever before. It’s important for brands to realize is that it’s not going to be a quick change and it’s not going to be easy. You might not have the highest engagement in the beginning. It’s something you really have to be consistent with. It has to be something that you are committed to doing.
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What are some of your go-to guidelines for brands and agencies who work with influencers of color?
The reason my recent trip to Bermuda was so successful is because it brought about Black joy, right? It showed Black women just being themselves and living their best lives. Part of that was that it brought together people who were already friends — it wasn’t just putting a random group of four to five people together on an island. You want your content creators and your influencers of colors to feel comfortable. You know, I’ve gone so many trips and I’ve been the only Black woman. That still happens. [Brands] don’t realize how that much that can impact my experience.
Also, something I’ve found is that groups get higher engagement. If you go on a trip with your partner or your girlfriends, it’s going to do better [on social media]. It makes sense to make sure that influencers of color are comfortable with the group that they’re traveling with. Just make sure you’re having that conversation.
Any other tips?
Instagram Reels and Video should be part of any influencer agreement. We just had a Reel go to a million views and we grew by about 6,000 followers in a day. That and TikTok are growing in the travel space. I’m actually finding hotels to stay at through TikTok and Reels. All my friends do that now, too — they go to TikTok first, and they see what people are saying about destinations.
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