Dagny Zenovia is a full-time law student, fashion guru, and blogger who uses her platform to share her experiences and opinions to not only show others what she can do, but to also share these same experiences and opinions with others. The moment I went to Dagny Zenovia’s blog I was immediately captured and interested in the wisdom that not only showed throughout her blog posts, but also her fashion sense and style that was presented in her pictures. Literally every post has a pop of color followed by a paragraph that allows for the reader to not only learn more about Dagny, but to gain a greater sense of self from the inspiration and advice she gives.
Awkward Activist: Hello Dagny thank you for allowing me to not only interview you, but get to know you as well since this interview will allow for me to know more about you and your brand. So tell me a little bit more about Dagny Zenovia. Of course I’ve read the “About” me page on your blog, but tell me more about the focus and what you wanted for your blog, Dagny Zenovia, when you first created it?
Dagny Zenovia: Thank you for inviting me to this collaboration. When I first created Dagny Zenovia, I was using it as a space to practice my writing and create my portfolio. At that time, blogging was not what it is today. People then used blogging for journals, assignments, and exploring. Branding, endorsements, and monetizing was not part of the picture. I created a pen name for myself to leave room for my blog to evolve with me. Even though I started writing about anything I was interested in to find my blog voice or niche, I knew I wanted the future of Dagny Zenoiva to grow into a platform that expands through all media. That journey is still in full effect.
Awkward Activist: When you created Dagny Zenovia did you foresee it garnering as big of an audience as it has now?
Dagny Zenovia: I really did not know what to expect when I started. The biggest factors that have helped me to grow my audience are fine-tuning my niche and enhancing my social media presence. Narrowing my topic to social issues and personal development made creating quality content more efficient. Incorporating my personal style made the challenge of persuading people to read more easier by providing images and tips. For my blog, I focus primarily on twitter and instagram to share and engage. I have connected with a lot of cool people through those sites.
Awkward Activist: Did you want or expect for your blog to have an impact on people when they came to your blog and read your posts? I have to admit when I read your post “5 Ways to Become Marriage Material” it made an impact on me because I was looking at myself like am I marriage material haha
Dagny Zenovia: Haha, I am glad to hear that post resonated with you. I always write my posts in anticipation that it will impact or inspire my readers. I feel that is the point of stepping up as a digital influencer. It should not only be about pointing your followers to wear to buy what you are wearing or using, but to also encourage your followers to think, discuss, and learn. I always keep that in mind when I create my content.
Awkward Activist: Growing up, did you always want to be a writer? Did you love writing as a child or is it something you started to love once you got older?
Dagny Zenovia: Funnily enough, I did not consider myself a writer when I was younger. I wrote only for school assignments through grade school and dabbled in poetry in high school. I started to love writing my junior year of college when I began my minor in journalism. I really enjoyed that style of writing and storytelling because I had control to focus a spotlight on any story, voice, or issue I felt needed attention. My blog evolved with my writing as I switched from a freelance journalist to a blogger. The distinction between the two is gradually fading with advances in technology, social media, and readers behavior. My training and experience as a journalist does influence my blogging in the depth of substance and research behind my posts. My self-taught experience as a blogger, which incorporates branding, graphic design, coding, marketing, photography, curating, etc, does influence my writing in the personality behind my posts. I enjoy balancing both.
Awkward Activist: I see in your “About” page on your blog you’re a full-time law student, which is awesome by the way, what made you want to go to law school?
Dagny Zenovia: Law school has been the plan since 4th grade. Growing up, after wanting to be a secret agent like The Famous Jett Jackson, I wanted to be a supreme court justice. That dream later evolved to wanting to be an attorney. I am interested in intellectual property pertaining to media, entertainment, fashion, and business. I am currently interning at a trademark clinic.
Awkward Activist: How do you, as a full-time law student, find the time to create in depth posts such as the ones you currently write and take great pictures along with these posts?
Dagny Zenovia: Ha! Self-discipline and time management. Law school requires a lot of reading and studying, so balancing my blog is an enjoyable challenge. I create my content in bulk as best as I can. On the weekend, usually Sunday, I shoot about 5 – 7 outfits in the DIY studio I have created in my apartment. Depending on how much of my homework I completed before Sunday, I might edit 2 – 3 of those outfits and write 1 – 2 posts to go with the photos. I also have an editorial calendar I try to stick to with ideas and scheduling. Other than scheduling posts through buffer and posting on Instagram, I do not touch my blog during the week. This is really the only way I can maintain consistency on my blog.
Awkward Activist: Once you finish law school would you like to incorporate blogging or writing into what you would like to do for law?
Dagny Zenovia: That would be cool. I do not have a clear picture of how to incorporate the two yet, but I am working on it.
Awkward Activist: Do you believe in the advice most established bloggers give beginning bloggers of posting 3 - 5 times a week, sometimes a day?
Dagny Zenovia: I think that depends on your priorities and goals regarding your blog. Quality is more important than quantity. Starting out with 2 -3 posts a week is helpful to create more content that readers can look back on and develop your niche and voice. All of those posts should be substantial. If not, 1 – 2 posts a week might be better. There are a lot of tips and tricks for bloggers that range from practical to extreme. The key is to balance what works for you. I wrote 2 posts about the bigger picture behind blogging:
Awkward Activist: So let’s talk about your blog posts for a second as your posts stand out because of your use of photography. What made you want to use pictures of yourself instead of regular stock photos?
Dagny Zenovia: I actually got that idea from the person who introduced us, Vanessa R Williams. She hosts free 30 minute blog brand phone sessions. At the time I signed up for one of her sessions, I was starting to feel a little disappointed with how my visitors seemed distracted by the style posts and would not read the articles. She gave me the idea to combine the two, which helped me find the enthusiasm for my blog again.
Awkward Activist: The outfits you wear in your pictures are magnificent! Do you have a certain look in mind when you write your blog posts or is it dependent upon how you feel that day or what you’re comfortable with?
Dagny Zenovia: Thank you! I shoot the outfits independent of the posts I have in mind. I dress for the season and what I am in the mood for.
Awkward Activist: I have to ask this —— where do you get a lot of the clothes and outfits you wear in the pictures on your posts? Is there a specific style you have when shopping for clothing?
Dagny Zenovia: Most of my recent purchases have been from New York & Company, ASOS, and thrifting. My other go-tos are Nordstrom Rack, Marshalls, The Limited, H&M, DSW, Steve Madden, and Aldo. I do have a signature look that continues to evolve. I wrote a post about how I build my wardrobe: http://dagnyzenovia.com/2015/08/15/how-to-dress-boss-fabulous/
Awkward Activist: How do you use social media to connect with your audience and what presence or purpose do you feel social media plays when writing or blogging?
Dagny Zenovia: I use social media to share my work and connect with other creators and influencers. I participate in twitter chats and create a variety of twitter lists to stay up to date on what others are working on and news. This engagement sometimes inspires a post depending on the conversation or issue. In general, I think social media plays a big role in all forms of self-publishing because that is the medium almost everyone filters their information. It has grown to be quite saturated, which is why I do not obsess over numbers. I am more interested in growing an engaged and supportive community instead of floating groupies.
Awkward Activist: As a blogger that I feel is more established, what are 5 points you would give to beginner bloggers who want to be successful at blogging?
Dagny Zenovia: 1) Trust your process. We all blog for different reasons and blossom at different times. As long as it feels right, trust it. 2) Enhance your influence. Blogging will continue to evolve as technology and consumer/reader habits advance. Continue to seek knowledge and inspiration. 3) Voice your truth. The thing that distinguishes bloggers is personality. As you scroll through inspiration, remember to maintain authenticity in your work. 4) Commitment. Having a successful blog cannot be a hobby. It is as challenging and rewarding as a job. You will need a strategy. 5) Be flexible. Success is relative. Be open to redefine it when things do not go as planned or opportunities lead you to a different direction.
Awkward Activist: What are some points you would give to beginner bloggers who would also like to blog about social issues, fashion, and inspiration?
Dagny Zenovia: Be clear on why you want to do it and what you would contribute to the conversation. Blogging about more than one thing requires a balance between storytelling and relevancy.
Awkward Activist: What is a quote or saying you would like to tell the readers that makes you feel positive and good, even when you’re having a bad day?
Dagny Zenovia: “As a writer, if someone falls in love with my work, I know they have fallen in love with my mind. Having no idea what my face looks like, they chose my mind. Art may be the only space a woman can be whole and seen, without being seen.” By Nayyirah Waheed
“I’m no longer auditioning. This is my life.” By June Ambrose
“I started my life with a single absolute: that the world was mine to shape in the image of my highest values and never to be given up to a lesser standard, no matter how long or hard the struggle.” By Dagny Taggart
Awkward Activist: Dagny thank you again for allowing me to interview you. I truly appreciate it. Would you mind listing your social media accounts so the readers can follow and keep up with you?