Despite all of the challenges, I love being a Caribbean woman!
Ianthia Smith is a journalist, lifestyle blogger and influencer. Her inspiring story reflects the fact that our latest muse is a risk taker, armed with an impressive work ethic, confident spirit and vibrant personality. You’ve most likely seen her images on major platforms such as Essence, Travel Noire and Global Jet Black just to name a few. Add to that several years spent working as a TV anchor, reporter and news editor for several leading media houses in her native Bahamas, Ianthia Smith’s CV is definitely impressive.
Today she discusses how she got started, the keys to building a successful online presence and the state of Caribbean women in 2017. Here is her story…
If you had to describe yourself in three words what would they be?
Passionate, bold and driven.
You’ve been chasing stories as a TV anchor, editor and journalist since the tender age of 16. Tell me about your journey into the field of journalism. Did you always want to be a journalist?
Yes. Journalism and writing have always been my passion and from as young as 5 years old I knew I wanted to be a reporter. As an elementary school student, my breaks consisted of filling out thick books of word scramble so I knew I loved words. I got my first go at journalism when I was 16 years old and started writing for the student section of a local newspaper company. After high school I attended The College of The Bahamas (now The University of The Bahamas) and enrolled in the associate’s degree journalism and mass communications program, I then went off to the University of Tampa where I received my Bachelor of Arts in journalism and writing and came back home and worked my butt off. I’ve worked at every major media house in the Bahamas as writer, TV anchor, radio news personality or editor.
You built quite a successful career as a journalist, however you decided to take a risk and walk away from it all to become a lifestyle/ travel blogger and TV host. By your own words; “I just walked out and said goodbye, never to look back again.” Tell me about the day you decided to quit your job. What was that feeling like?
The more my love for journalism grew, so did my passion for entertainment journalism. Being in the mainstream media and journalism field for so long, I felt like my creativity was being stifled a bit. I always loved magazine writing, entertainment production and hosting but hard news consumed so much of my time, I could barely manage both. I literally felt like I hit a ceiling, so as an outlet I started a cheesy blog to get my creative writing out. I also started a web show called The Click to tap into that inner entertainment reporter, I knew was ready to burst out. I can’t tell you what hit me, but one day I just knew I had to risk it all and pursue these two new passions. I felt like I’d done it all in hard news locally and really had nowhere else to go…but out the door! So I left to grow my blog and build my brand as an entertainment TV host and the rewards were definitely worth the risk!
You have a beautiful Instagram page and your images have been reposted on major platforms such as Essence, Global Jet Black and The Black Tourist to name a few. What advice would you give to budding lifestyle and travel bloggers on building their online presence?
My Instagram page is a labour of love! It’s my way of telling mostly my story of being a travel and lifestyle blogger through photos instead of words (although I love a well written caption). It makes me so excited to see some of my travel images reposted by these amazing brands, it’s truly an honour. I think the one thing to remember about building an online presence is to be consistent. That’s literally the only way to build anything. Consistently post, consistently create, consistently speak the same language throughout your brand. Is your brand colorful and vibrant or muted and pastel inspired? Is the tone of voice upbeat and cheerful or more inspirational and thoughtful? I think the trick is to choose a niche, style and voice and kill it!
What’s a typical day like for Ianthia Smith?
Girl!!!! Even Ianthia Smith doesn’t know lol! Because I’m a freelancer, no two days are the same. Either I’m working from home or on the road meeting with clients, gathering content, running errands or looking for food. The days are always different and that’s one thing I love about working for myself.
Are there any personal affirmations or habits you practice to help maintain your confidence and keep you on track with your goals?
I wish there were. I know I work hard and I put so many projects and things out but truth be told it’s all helter skelter. One day I’d get an idea and just go for it and find myself doing 10 projects at once. One habit I do have though, is that I write my ideas down; whether it’s in one of my 10,000 colorful notebooks or the notes app on my phone, I make note of it. I find that this holds me accountable and in some way helps to bring the idea to life. My personal motto is Live. Love. Write it down!
In your opinion, what’s a major issue affecting Caribbean women in 2017?
I think Caribbean women are still marginalized, abused and taken advantage of in ways that are unfathomable in 2017. I think the violence against Caribbean women, the huge wage gaps,
lack of opportunities to lead our countries, in a time where there are so many messages of girl power and sisterhood and love for women of color, is insane. I know we have some amazing success stories of Caribbean women who have managed to get ahead of the challenges but many more haven’t and won’t. This all stems back to educating our women about the possibilities and advantages available to us, educating us about our rights.
What do you love most about being a Caribbean woman?
Despite all of those challenges, I love being a Caribbean woman! I love our resilience, our fighter spirit, the unshakeable and incomparable love we have in our hearts, our ambition to always strive for the best, our strength, our take-no- crap stance, and the way we throw it down in the kitchen! Nothing beats being a Caribbean woman!
One Caribbean woman (besides mom) who inspires you and why?
If not mommy, then definitely grandmother, both of them! They are absolutely my source of strength and perseverance and determination and the ones who give me the guts to go on when I wanna
quit and just go to the beach.
Finally share some words of wisdom for Caribbean women.
Continue to push through! Continue to do you and make your mark. I’d also say don’t become a victim of your circumstances nor location. Yes we live in small countries and people often see us as “just a Caribbean girl” but let your work and worth speak louder than their words ever could. Travel the world and expand your mind!