Courtesy of Luvvie Ajayi
Ashley Stoney
Apr, 04, 2018

Luvvie Ajayi is one of the pioneering Black bloggers who, long before social media was critical to boosting a curated following, had a cult following of her blog Awesomely Luvvie —infamous for Scandal recaps told in her authentically Luvvie voice.

“I started blogging in college in 2003," she told ESSENCE. "It wasn't like a big plan. I just started a blog... I had basically an online diary, that's essentially what it was.”

Inspired by a journalist who once quoted her without attribution, the fearless and hilarious author decided to capture just why are people so messy? She penned a book of essays in her 2017 New York Times bestseller, I’m Judging You: The Do Better Manual.  After nine printings, her book was recently re-released in hardcover with a bonus chapter and is currently being developed into a series for television.

ESSENCE discussed Luvvie’s blueprint and success story, and how she honed in on an untapped talent that led to her success story today.

ESSENCE: Do you have a moment in time when you said "I love telling stories, this is what I'm called to do"?

Luvvie: For me, writing wasn't a career that felt tangible and it was one of those things that essentially kind of happened by accident. The journey to the point where I could call myself a writer was essentially when I had no other excuse to not call myself a writer.

ESSENCE: We want to hear who inspires you, so who are some women that you look up to?

Luvvie: Oprah's of course high on that list. What Black girl does not look up to Oprah? Because, I mean, just (look at) the work that she's done and the fact that she also built a career and an empire fully on her own... and that she's committed to making the world better. So, Oprah for sure.

I'm a huge fan of Ava DuVernay's because she's essentially created a career out of storytelling. She always said she didn't pick up a camera 'til she was in her 30s, and (it’s amazing) to see what she's been able to do in that time. Shonda Rhimes changed television with Scandal. Single-handedly changed television.

ESSENCE: How do you, Luvvie, hope to make Black history today?

Luvvie: I'm just trying to live out loud. To inspire other people to do the same. I think less about how I'm going to make history and figure out how I can live the best that I can live now. And I think that ultimately can make history. I just want my presence to give somebody else the courage to be exactly who they are and that's why I share my victories and my falls and my journey, because ultimately I want somebody else to look at me and be like, "Aight, if she can do this then I can do it, too."