Meet the multi-talented yet oh-so-humble-about it Xenia Tchoumi who is currently sweeping through the digital industry with a Dior bag and an empowered look on life. We talk about the struggles she has gone through on her way to success, but how having the right attitude can take you anywhere. Plus how she looks gorgeous on a day-to-day.
With a total of eight million followers across your social media channels you’ve racked up quite a following. With such influence comes responsibility. What are your tips for using social media responsibly and avoiding negative attention for other girls also seeking out to become mindful influencers?
Be yourself, take inspiration from women you love online but don’t be a copy cat. Work on your pages consistently, timing and rhythm are fundamental. Educate yourself: there’s plenty of good advice online on how to be a successful creator in your field.
Regarding bullying; there are two ways; you either completely ignore (it will go away) or you expose the bully to the rest of your audience for them to take care of this person. Both are very effective ways. But do not let it affect you and look at them with compassion; if the same bully was in front of you in real life, he or she wouldn’t have the courage to say even 20% of what they are capable to write!
But first things first, let’s talk about your background leading up to your success. You used to work as a bartender while pursuing your university studies in Economics. Can you make a killer Mojito?
Yes absolutely, and a Caipiroska and a Caipirinha and some others too. It was an intense and very fun time to work in a bar! I love music and dancing, so it was an amazing real life work experience.
Later, you swapped the Caipirinha for the calculator and worked at the prestigious bank JP Morgan as an intern. After a successful period followed by a job offer you however decided it was not for you. Did you have a clear idea of what you wanted to do when you left the world of finance?
No, I didn’t – I just knew that I have a very independent entrepreneurial nature and couldn’t cope well in a corporate world. So I lie on my mom’s couch, a bit depressed, certainly lost – until after a month or two a friend suggested I start a blog. Reluctantly I did, until while consistently creating good content, I fell in love with it. And within a year I had reached 1M fans on FB….
What kept you going during your most difficult times?
The belief that there will be better times and seeing people succeed (mainly in newspapers or on TV at the time). Positive examples and role models play an important role in the belief of a better future and opportunities. It’s one’s ability to dream that fosters creativity and eventually personal growth. That’s why on my social platforms I always try to set a positive example.
Xenia, you’ve enjoyed quite a few successful moments since then. You’re an avid public speaker and have taken part in the prestigious TED Talks to share your experiences. ’’Fear is fuel’’ is a quote of yours. What does it mean exactly?
We are all afraid, we are all human, no matter how strong one wants to be or pretends to be. I say that by embracing the uncomfortable feeling of fear, rejection, or failure we can channel this negative energy into progress. When you feel bad, instead of dwelling on it, do something positive for yourself and others – you shift your focus, and transform the negative into action. Over time this reactive habit building progress and success. A lot of very successful people made it to success, not because everything was easy, but because they needed to get away from feelings of uneasiness, or way worse.
As an outspoken feminist – is there a female role model for you?
I’m a female empowerment advocate and I feel strongly about the education on the subject to all of the people that follow me on my social media channels – by communicating with them the best I can. I love what Oprah Winfrey has achieved. I have also read Malala’s book and follow her journey. But the truth is, every girl who stands up for her rights and every man who respects women as equals is someone who’s a role model to me.
Tell us about your project at the UN and how it will really help women all over the world.
I have given a speech about feminism in the digital age at the UN during the International Women’s Day with the goal to explain how the internet and the new online professions give access to both income and independence for women across the world. If you can afford a connection and a device you can start earning a living. I was also appointed as a UN SheTrades ambassadress.
International Trade Centre (ITC) has launched this initiative, which seeks to connect one million women entrepreneurs to market, through the powerful SheTrades app that connects women who own businesses across the world to companies, corporations and institutions.
Speaking of collaborations, you’ve worked with some amazing luxury brands. Do you have a clear set of rules with this type of collaborations? Dos and dont’s as an influencer?
Absolutely. I work with brands that inspire me aesthetically and creatively, as well as that fit my social media pages and my own image and style. Of course it is a job, but no money offered can be right if the image of a company is completely off-brand.
My do’s are – always be on time, over deliver, be precise, and put passion in every detail of a picture, video, event, presence. It’s a privilege to be able to work with so many high level professionals and learn from them. Every company and brand at the end of the day is made by people, and it’s the relationships that form during the creation of digital content that at the end make this job extremely fulfilling.
Speaking of luxury and fashion, you have an exquisite style. What are your go-to brands or favourite pieces off camera though?
Thank you, makes me very happy to read. Off camera? Oversized hoodies and tracksuits. I get tired from high heels and red carpet dresses so I need my off-duty moments. I even designed an entire capsule collection with this inspiration(Xenia x familyfirst) that’s coming out in September 2018.
What’s next for Xenia Tchoumi?
I have a list of things, and it’s all about self development. Take dance classes, take martial arts classes, complete reading a 10 books list, listen to lectures from the world’s top universities and a new business idea. So it’s just work in progress really, as always.