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As some of you might already know, I wrote an article entitled The Beauty Blogosphere in the September/October issue of Anokhi Magazine, the awesome South Asian publication that I just recently joined as Junior Beauty Editor.

When the Beauty Editor, my boss Denise Wild (also the founder of The Sewing Studio and Love Sewing Magazine), assigned the article she advised me on the importance of balancing South Asian Beauty bloggers with mainstream beauty blogs that had a strong presence online. Together the two of us decided I should interview Janine Falcon, founder of Beautygeeks.

Being a South Asian woman I still find Beautygeeks a really informative, engaging and fun read.  After all, you don’t have to be South Asian to be featured in a South Asian mag or blog, you just need to be informative to the audience in  question!  Janine was a pleasure to interview for the article and she was also happy to help me out with this post.

Check out my Q&A with Janine!

As a former magazine editor for Canadian Living and Homemakers what made you start thinking about getting on the online blogging bandwagon?

I never thought of blogging as a bandwagon I was hopping onto. At the time beauty blogging was relatively new in Canada. I know, it’s weird to give it geographical boundaries, but at the time there was only a handful of Canadian-run sites who had established themselves (Lipstick Powder n Paint, Canadian Beauty and Sugar Shock Beauty). I knew only of Lipstick Powder n Paint, but I’d read a little about the growing blog pool in the US.

That said, what really drew me to the blogosphere was how much fun I’d been having doing quirky status updates on Facebook, back when the update format forced users to work around an “is” construct, as in, “JANINE FALCON is….” The challenge to write something complete and amusing within that construct was irresistible for me. It also made the idea of blogging relevant to me — stat updates are mini blogs.

What is a beauty geek? Where did the idea of beauty geeks originate?

I’ve referred to myself as a beauty geek for years. I’ve always been a geek for all kinds of details, from application techniques to ingredients to how some products are uncannily similar to how others are unique. I’m interested in the stuff about beauty that make other folks’ eyes glaze over. Most beauty editors with a passion for their work are like that.

In 2009 P&G awarded you with the best beauty blog, describe that experience and how it might have made a difference for you as a beauty blogger and beauty expert.

I have to clarify that in fact the award was given by a panel of industry judges unaffiliated with P&G. The company’s name is on the plaque, but they don’t make the decision on who gets one. That’s important to note because a prize is worthless if it appears to be in exchange for some kind of payoff.

Winning a P&G Beauty Award for Best Fashion or Beauty Blog was a huge surprise. I was in very good finalist company. Second, it was a huge surprise! The thing about doing your own thing is that you have to trust your own instincts every step of the way — there is no boss to tell you you’re doing well or to give you an encouraging raise. You work really hard 24/7 and hope you’re hitting the mark at least most of the time, fingers crossed. Taking home an award given by a team of industry experts, most of whom you don’t know, have never met, is brilliant encouragement not only to keep doing what you’re doing, but in fact to do it better and better. (No pressure.)

From the other side of the computer screen, I think the award boosted BeautyGeeks’ credibility. After all, specifics regarding who bestowed it aside, an award from a juggernaut industry leader is a sign that says “Hey, we take this seriously. Just sayin’.”

What credentials or knowledge do you have to be writing about beauty and to be a beauty authority online?

I’ll tell you what I generally look for from the sources I trust, whether online, in print or in conversation:

1) Critical thinking.

I need to know the person sharing information is thinking for herself, truly evaluating something on its actual merits and even doing a bit of research rather than blindly accepting or regurgitating whatever the press material says or endorsing it because a) she got it for free and/or b) it’s pretty.

2) Context.

There can be no real evaluation of something if you don’t know what came before it and what else out there might be similar (or exactly the same). Take waterproof mascara. We all know it’s been around for ages. So how much value would you place on a review from a person who thinks the new release she just tried is the first waterproof mascara ever and is therefore groundbreaking beauty technology? Context.

3) Access to credible experts.

Where’s your information coming from? If you’re getting quotes on acne treatment from a doctor known for her research and knowledge on the subject, great. If you’re getting the information from BuyCheapZitStuffHere.com, not so much.

4) A good handle on the language.

I’m a beauty geek, yes, but I’ve been a grammar geek for much longer. Competent writing skills are key to getting a point across clearly and correctly. I can handle errors such as “it’s” in place of “its,” “your” instead of “you’re,” and “alot” instead of “a lot” a bit better now thanks to the very funny hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com. But such mistakes, as well as repeated misspellings and faulty punctuation, are still rather an insurmountable turn off. Not for everyone, but definitely for me.

How have your previous experiences as a magazine style editor and makeup artist helped you in running your website?

As an editor, I became familiar with the industry, learned how to produce stories, met key sources of expert information, made valuable contacts and absorbed a huge amount of beauty-related information I would not have had access to otherwise. I also made wonderful friends who have offered unwavering support — that’s so important. My experience as a makeup artist fuels my interest in cosmetics and techniques gleaned from the talented artists I’ve met and continue to meet.

If you had one piece of advice for other beauty bloggers still making their name online out there what would it be?

Be real.

As a beauty blogger what kind of impact do you think bloggers are making in the beauty industry for consumers and average women?

The same as a friend who shares your beauty loves and challenges. She has an opinion and advice you can appreciate.

Name one of the most satisfying aspects of being a beauty blogger that motivates you  to keep imabeautygeek.com going when you are going through a stressful time.  

 

Well, it’s fun!

What is the most memorable story in relation to your experience as a beauty blogger or a specific post you’ve done that you would like to share?  It can be about a specific interview you did, a challenge you overcame, or a post that caused a lot of discussion etc.

Honestly it’s the dorkiest thing. I had an opportunity to interview Chris Noth and take a buddy photo with him. A number of people commented that they were to Photoshop themselves into the image in my place. I thought that was a great idea, so I turned it into a contest and had readers vote on their favourite “Photoshop yourself with Chris Noth” entry. See? Fun!

What does beauty mean for Janine Falcon?

Confidence.

As a young girl, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?

A grown-up.

Who has been a role model or mentor in your life that has motivated you to become the Janine Falcon you are today?

I don’t think I should blame anyone for that. *grin*

PSSST, if you liked this post, you may want to check out my feature article in Anokhi’s September Fashion and Style Issue. Read it online, or better yet buy a print copy and check out my beauty trend report featuring some of the hottest beauty looks from the fall runways.

This is what is looks like, for easy finding on the newsstand!

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER ANOKHI MAGAZINE - hot cover eh?