16 of My Favorite Stories of 2015

This was originally posted on my personal site.

As this year comes to an end, I find myself doing some retrospective thinking. I’m sure you do, too. I don’t know if it was written in the stars but it feels cosmic, because everyone around me found this year particularly challenging. There were so many new beginnings and bittersweet endings all around. Speaking for myself, I personally found 2015 to be quite trying, but thankfully I overcame all obstacles.

As an artist captures time in a frame and a photographer in her lense, so does a writer with words. If you have followed me through my writing journey, or have read just one of my stories, I want to thank you. Without your support, I would not progress. In this year end post, I want to share with you some of my most pivotable, favorite, and personal stories and moments of 2015.

  1. Creative Couple: The Wares

lesley-and-kamau-w-portrait

I love this story because it is one of my most in-depth feature stories on Casual Muse and it’s a beautiful love story about one of my favorite couples, Kamau and Lesley Ware. Seriously, these two are awesome both together and on their own. (Look out for a new Creative Couple story on two other lovebirds next year!) Read the story here: http://casualmuse.com/creative-couple-the-wares/

 

  1. 10 Realizations About Friendship You Have When You’re Grown Up

friendship-cover

As I entered the latter half of my twenties, I noticed a change in all of my relationships. My connection to my family, romance, and friendships became completely different. I wrote this story as a way to express the lessons I learned and also some frustrations I was learning to deal with. Read here: http://thoughtcatalog.com/kadia-blagrove/2015/02/10-realizations-about-friendship-you-have-when-youre-grown-up/

 

  1. The Starfish Gala

SA-Consul-Bernard-Legoki-and-Kadia-Blagrove

This year I was invited to the Starfish Gala for the second time. It was a big deal because this time I was representing my own project, Casual Muse. Plus, it’s always a pleasure to support a great cause. Read about it here:  http://casualmuse.com/starfish-usa-celebrates-10-years-of-charity-and-south-african-art/

 

  1.   Azaria Ledeatte-Williams

portrait

When I saw artist Azaria Ledeatte-Williams’ portrait of me, I was blown away! No one has ever painted me before and I felt so honored that I could inspire her work. I reached out to her for a Q&A. Check it out here: http://www.kazzledazz.com/artbeat-azaria-ledeatte-wlliams/

 

  1.  Lazy AF Series on XO Jane

natural hair

In my first installation of my Lazy AF series for XO Jane, I wrote about effortless styling tips for natural hair. I love when I can be a little silly in my stories. Check it out here: http://www.xojane.com/beauty/easy-hairstyles-for-natural-hair

 

  1. Crochet braids
Had to do it for IG. @KazzleDazz
Had to do it for IG. @KazzleDazz

This summer I finally gave crochet braids a try. It seems like this year was a year of beauty articles as I’ve written A LOT of ‘em! This post got a lot of love on social media. Check it out:  http://www.kazzledazz.com/i-tried-it-crochet-braids/

 

  1. What Makes a Mistress Likable: Race and Infidelity on Television

angela-and-ghost

This year, I binged on Starz’ hit series Power. I finally caught up in time for the live airing of this year’s season finale. The love triangle in Powerreminded me of Scandals messy love drama, but the general viewer reaction was completely different. I did a little essay on it and Power’s creator Courtney Kemp Agboh tweeted me about it and sparked quite the debate! Read my essay here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kadia-blagrove-/what-makes-a-mistress-lik_b_8000906.html

 

  1.  California

Venice beach

This summer I went west. I never shared too much about my original plan but I was meant to move to Texas in June for an opportunity but ended up turning it down due to my breast reduction recovery which took way longer than expected. So in an impromptu mood to really make the most of my year despite the setback, I went to California with an open mind. Maybe I would stay or maybe it would just be a visit — there were no set plans. Ultimately, Cali, as beautiful as it is, just isn’t for me. I moved back to NYC  but not before snagging a LA gig writing for Mane Addicts. Thanks to internet, I can write for them remotely. http://www.kazzledazz.com/catch-me-on-mane-addicts/

 

  1. Getting Whitney White’s Hair Secrets

naptural85

Naptural85, aka YouTube star Whitney White, is my absolute favorite beauty vlogger! So you could imagine my excitement when I got a chance to chat with her about her hair secrets for Mane Addicts. Check the story out here: http://maneaddicts.com/2015/11/16/whitney-white-naptural85/

 

  1. Trying to Unthink the “White Default”

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 2.11.54 PM

I was almost scared to share this story because of the potential backlash I could’ve received. Thankfully, I only received love.  In this piece, I express my frustration of carefully avoiding my “controversial blackness” in favor of protecting the “white default.” I started writing in an industry that painfully lacks diversity. As I grow more conscious, it gets harder to erase my identity from my work. Read it here:http://www.xojane.com/issues/im-a-black-writer-and-im-trying-to-unthink-white-as-default

 

  1.  My Take of Cultural Appropriation

katy perry cultural appropration

2015 was the year of all things cultural appropriation. You literally could not escape the topic. I wrote two stories on the buzzy issue and the second one posted below was used as part of the curriculum at Columbia College Chicago for its Clothing and Society class. One student in Singapore read both articles and asked to interview me for her school project. Moments like this really keep me going!

Cultural Appropriation: It’s Not About Kylie Jenner’s Braids

Your Guide to Avoiding Cultural Appropriation

 

  1. Blavity Names Me as One to Watch

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 11.55.37 AM

I’ve never been on any ranked list before, so you can imagine the joy when I discovered Blavity named me as a black creative to watch. The digital publication is known for its tastemaking style, on-the-pulse reporting, and treasure trove of creative news on people of color. I was so very honored to recognized for Casual Muse!   http://blavity.com/10-black-creatives-from-brooklyn-you-should-follow/

 

  1.  How Taking Selfies With My 4-Year-Old Niece Taught Me About Confidence

kadia and brynn

I am so in love with my baby niece! She’s funny, smart, and very inspiring. I love this story because of how vulnerable I allowed myself to be (and because it’s about my baby Brynn!) Read it here: http://www.xojane.com/relationships/children-and-self-love

 

  1.  I Ran into My Boyfriend on a Date and He Acted Like He Didn’t Know Me

beer at the bar kadia blagrove

Ah this wonderful memory. Long story short, I dated a turd who cheated on me in one of the worse ways. Ugh! The story unexpectedly got a lot of press and attention — some unwanted. For instance, Daily Mail stole all of my images (even some younger photos of me) and tried to give out my personal information in their overly-sensationalized version of the story. *SIDE-EYE* Thankfully, despite that nightmare, I received a lot of love and support from readers and other publications covering the story. See it here: http://www.xojane.com/sex/i-ran-into-my-boyfriend-on-a-date

 

  1.   Just a Little Warmer

flyer just a little warmer

For four years, I daydreamed about hosting my own winter accessories clothing drive. I am so proud to say that with the help of friends, family, and The Bronx Museum, I made my dream into a reality! Read all about my first drive here: http://casualmuse.com/thank-you-for-making-nyc-just-a-little-warmer/

 

  1.    My Breast Reduction

_E9A1370

Perhaps the most important moment for me personally and creatively, was sharing my breast reduction journey with the world. I got my long awaited surgery in May and decided to document the entire experience through my writing. My heart exploded with love as women from all over the world emailed me with words of encouragement, their own vulnerabilities, and personal stories. Another magical moment: A student in South Africa interviewed me for her documentary about  her own breast reduction journey. This is definitely one of my biggest moments as a writer for sure. See my most popular breast reduction stories below.

Why I Did A Nude Photo Shoot Before My Breast Reduction

IT HAPPENED TO ME:I Got a Breast Reduction and Men Shamed Me for It

 

Again, thank you all for reading and sticking with me. I look forward to connecting with more of you. Feel free to contact me.  I hope to give you more stories next year! Wishing every single one of you a magical, joyous, prosperous New Year.

 

Love,

Kadia

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