Name & Age:
Cydni Meredith Robertson, 24
Retail Manager & Fashion Blogger at ItsherStrut.com
A little background:
Cydni is a born and raised Dallasite, Oak Cliff to be exact. She’s had the privilege of attending St. Philip's School and Community Center and Bishop Dunne Catholic School which provided her with an amazing educational foundation. The University of Missouri (Mizzou) continued to foster her talents and skills. As a Textile and Apparel Management Major/Business and Spanish minor, Cydni was able to explore her creativity through various fashion driven internships, business entrepreneurial experiences, and develop her love of culture through travel in various South American countries. In her senior year of college she developed ItsHerStrut.Com. The term strut is symbolic of the way a confident woman carries herself. She doesn’t just walk, or mope, or drag her feet into a room. A woman who knows her self-worth will always have strut. Initially it served as a personal outlet to remind herself why she was valuable, why her self-esteem is important to manage, and why knowing or not knowing your worth can have critical positive or negative effects on your future based on the choices you make. Once she realized she was not the only one battling with confidence concerns, she began to interview women who seemed to “have it all together.” She interviews many womanpreneurs (as these were the women who inspired her most) to learn their personal lessons of self-confidence, business tips, and any words of encouragement they were willing to give. The blog has now expanded to hosting charity events called Serve and Strut. Birmingham, AL, Dallas, TX, and Tyler, TX have all had a Serve and Strut Brunch in which women come to donate shoes to a local charity with the goal of helping another woman find her strut.
Promoting positivity and spreading knowledge on the importance of self-love seems to be the sole focus of your blog. Was there one single act or series of events that encouraged you to create your blog?
There were two events that inspired my creation of ItsHerStrut.Com. The first was my college relationship. It wasn’t the healthiest. It was full of dramatic peaks and valleys, manipulation, and confusion. It was the first time that I realized that insecurity was contagious. I started to think very lowly of myself and noticed that my ability to make rational decisions was fading. A light bulb moment hit me when I heard myself say something that was completely out of character. There was a certain event that required an audition and I began to talk myself out of doing it because I was afraid I wouldn’t get the part. I had never had a thought like that before in my life. I’ve auditioned for 10’s of 100’s of parts and even if I didn’t get it, it never deterred me from wanting to try again. Once I realized that certain relationships in my life induced feelings of fear and self-doubt, and I started to think about all of the opportunities I would miss because of these feelings, I immediately began taking steps to putting myself out there and forcing myself back into a zone of confidence. Part two, the name of my blog came from a conversation with a college friend who was interested in modeling. We were both practicing our walk for an audition to be in a fashion show and she began expressing feelings of doubt, saying things like “what if they don’t pick me.” Because I’d just had similar feelings not too long before, we started a conversation about belief in self, understanding your talents and gifts, and seizing opportunities. I told her,
“It’s your strut, it’s fierce, and that’s why they’ll pick you.”
Within the last decade or two, society has caste an ugly shadow behind the image of both women and young girls which has led to mental instability, body shaming, and lack of confidence. How does the content or visuals within your blog exploit these issues and bury the social stigma?
I intentionally try not to feed into social standards of beauty. I’m so against body shaming, especially for women. I post images that reflect the beauty of the person’s personality and character. Whether it’s sassy, sweet, or subtly sexy, it has nothing to do with the shape of their body but, well, their strut. I post a lot of images of African American women that inspire me, as my audience is mostly African-American women. Celebrating natural hair, showing admiration for different body types, and ultimately realizing that none this really matters is what I want people to notice on my blog. I want them to see the accomplishments of the women in my interviews. I want my readers to notice how these women have overcome obstacles, make notes about how to stay motivated, and realize that dreams do come true with faith and strategic work. I don’t promote a sole standard of beauty. I have too many little girls’ women in my life who all look different that I know look up to me and I believe it’s my responsibility to encourage self-acceptance at all costs.
Upon choosing a topic that speaks to the soul, what message do you hope to convey to your audience and what can they take away from it?
Be mindful of the people in your life and how their actions, words to you, and the thoughts they have about you that you might’ve received as truth are affecting your life. You have to know who you are. You have to intentionally take time to understand your character, your beliefs, your gifts, and emotions. If you don’t, you’ll be more susceptible to absorb the opinions of the people around you, the media you digest, the literature you read, etc. Don’t let the outside world form your identity, you will never have joy or develop your purpose. I believe that you’ll never understand why you were created apart from growing to understand The Creator. Your identity is valuable, own it, and strut in it.
If you could strut through the streets with someone in the DFW area, who would it be and why?
Oooh :-) I would love to strut with Michelle Obama. That woman has done some serious strutting in her life. I admire her ability to strive for excellence at all times. I believe I would learn a lot about growing in your gifts, how to maintain healthy romantic relationships, and how to balance career, family, business, and spirituality from her.
What are a few of your favorite local boutiques?
I don’t really have a favorite local boutique but my current favorite local designer is Jameelah Shamid-Deen of Flawless Honey (flawlesshoney.com). She makes awesome custom pieces that are so unique and well-fitting!
Favorite natural hair products?
I’m on the Shea Moisture train. I’m digging my Jamaican Black Castor Oil Leave-In. But my old-faithful, never let me down, always and forever product is Motion’s Leave-In Conditioning Spray. It works wonders on tangles and I’ve noticed I’m able to retain length more when I use it.
Current must-haves in your beauty bag?
Ruby Woo MAC lipstick, pressed powder, and bronzer! I never leave home without these three things. A red lip brightens my whole day.
Future projects, events, and or other components incorporated on blog in the works?
Well I just finished my third brunch and I’ve been in conversation with a few people about bringing it to Louisiana :-) Stay tuned everyone!
Any last words or pieces of inspiration for our DFW beauties?
“Work with what you’ve got until you can work with what you want.” God will always provide for you and bless you but you have to be a good steward of what He has already given you.