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I’m Featured On The Every Girl: The Art Of Starting Over

I am featured on The Every Girl this week.

Thank you Bianca Lambert for such an amazing piece!

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The Art of Starting Over: How This CEO Reinvented Her Career

As I was waiting at my desk to interview Necole, it reminded me of the time I got to meet Solange at a party at the Saint Heron House at Essence Festival. I was so excited and nervous that I opened my mouth and nothing came out when she reached out to shake my hand. But, unlike my impromptu Solange sighting, going mute wasn’t an option this time. I had a job to do. I also had the chance to pick the brain of an entrepreneur I admired for the last 10 years. So, I got my butterflies in check and said, “Hi, Necole, it’s Bianca,” when I heard her bright voice on the other end of our UberConference.

Necole has been my mentor in my head since her days running NecoleBitchie.com. A gossip site she shuddered at the height of its success because, as she put it, “I didn’t want that to be my legacy.” Instead, she moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, to clear her head, take control of her career, and plan her next big step —launching xoNecole. It wasn’t just the content on Necole’s site that made me one of her biggest fans, it was her story and transparency because I saw myself in her. During our interview, we talk about taking chances, starting over, and why we should never let our careers come before our health.

Name: Necole Kane

Age: 37

Location: New York

Current Title/Company: CEO and Editor-in-Chief of xoNecole

Education: Towson University

 

As the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of a lifestyle brand, how do you start your day?

When I wake up in the morning, I write out exactly what I want to happen that day. I started it last January. I had gone through this stage of depression, and I just felt like I didn’t know what was happening. I felt like I didn’t have enough resources to turn xoNecole into what I wanted it to be. I felt like I was failing. A friend suggested I try intention setting each morning. I remember waking up the first day and just writing, “I will be presented with a new opportunity today.” I was very vague in the beginning because I just didn’t know what to write. That day I got an email from my managing editor, letting me know Will Packer was looking for me.

I know it’s all about the law of attraction, but I don’t think it’s magical. I think what writing things down does is get your mind into a winning mind frame. It’s almost like you know it’s possible because you’ve written it. So your perception of everything that happens in your life changes. Before I started writing everything, I would wake up some mornings in the fetal position because every bit of money I was making was being sucked up by this brand, and I started having resentment toward my website.

“If you’re getting up and just going and not setting your intentions it’s hard to get in alignment with the life you want for yourself.”

What did your experience with Necole Bitchie teach you about growing a thriving business?

It’s funny because I think of all the bloggers that started back then and we didn’t think of our blogs as businesses. Necole Bitchie taught me to always start with an exit strategy, because if you don’t start out knowing where you’re trying to go, you’re going to be floating in the wind.

I was approached to sell the site (Necole Bitchie) in 2013 for seven figures, and I hadn’t planned for that. I hadn’t prepared for where I wanted Necole Bitchie to go. I didn’t know if I want it to be acquired or if I wanted an investor. I honestly didn’t see the brand going very far with the name. I was like, if I was going to sell this brand to someone, there’s not much else they could do with it. And if I sell it to someone, I still will always be Necole Bitchie for as long as that site runs, and I wanted to be in control of the legacy of the site.

Did you ever find yourself regretting not selling the site for the seven-figure price tag?

For years, it weighed on my spirit, like, should I have sold because once the blogging opportunities start falling off, you’re like, “Did I make a mistake and not sell?” But, it ended up working out. If I had sold Necole Bitchie, I never would have been acquired by Will Packer, and I would never have been able to launch xoNecole.

Necole Bitchie taught me to always start with an exit strategy, because if you don’t start out knowing where you’re trying to go, you’re going to be floating in the wind.

What was your approach going into starting xoNecole? Did you start with an exit strategy this time around?

When I ended Necole Bitchie, as I said, I didn’t start with a plan so when I ended it, it was like what’s next? When I started xoNecole, I had a business plan, a marketing deck, and an exit strategy. That was to either be acquired or get an investor, and with me having an end goal I was able to get acquired within two years of launching xoNecole.

How did you know it was time for a fresh start?

I closed Necole Bitchie because it no longer represented who I was and where I was going, and the woman I was becoming. I was no longer interested in the content, and your audience can tell when your heart’s no longer there. I remember watching an interview with Will Smith, and he said he had to leave The Fresh Prince because it was keeping him at one age. It was keeping him stuck, and he wanted to grow, and that’s how I felt about Necole Bitchie. It stagnated my growth for a minute. I was so wrapped up in what celebrities were doing at any given moment that I started living my life as a spectator to other people’s lives. I realized I wasn’t living my own. When I realized that, I knew that I could offer so much more to the world, and I wanted my legacy to be much more empowering.

Did you know you wanted to start xoNecole before closing your gossip site?

I started coming up with the concept of xoNecole in 2013. I thought xoNecole would be the event piece, and then I tried to spring up a site for xoNecole at the same time as Necole Bitchie, and it just wasn’t happening. People asked me why I didn’t keep both sites, but they just could not co-exist in the same space together.

Was it challenging for you to let go of what you built with Necole Bitchie?

The one mistake I almost made was I tried to keep my audience. When you evolve, you’re not going to take everybody with you, that’s in any area of your life. It’s impossible. Some people are not going to be ready to elevate at that particular time. When I launched xoNecole, in the first month, we were still trying to embed entertainment into the site, and I would see messages saying I don’t see the difference between Necole Bitchie and xoNecole.

 

“I wanted my legacy to be much more empowering.”

How did starting over impact your life?

I lived in Arizona at the time. I had been there for six months, and I moved there to start my transition. I knew starting xoNecole was something I’d always want to do, and I knew I couldn’t change my brand living in LA or New York. I really had to seclude myself from friends, family, and everyone that knew me as Necole Bitchie because I knew people would try to talk me out of it. When I was able to shut my site down, I was able to live my life. It’s crazy how restrictive your life can be when you get a little bit of fame, and people start to know you. I tell people all of the time there is so much freedom in irrelevancy. I was able to live in that freedom when I closed down the site.

Many women connect with you because of your inspiring story. Do you think transparency has been key to your growth as a businesswoman?

I think transparency really helped my brand. There are a lot of people not willing to be as transparent. When you get on social media, you don’t know what’s real or fake. No one’s telling you when they’re failing, but they want to tell you they’re winning all the time — and that’s not realistic. We fail nine times and win on the tenth. It’s about getting knocked down and getting back up. I needed my audience to know about the times when I was knocked down, as much as they knew about the times that I was winning. I never wanted them to look at me as an unattainable goal.

When you closed your gossip site, I remember reading your goodbye newsletter, and shortly after you released a very candid video. What was it like putting your story out there with the possibility of judgment?

I put out that video and letter in September 2016, about a year after I left my website. I talked about running out of money and having to move back to my aunt’s house, and a lot of media outlets picked up the video and the headlines were, “Necole Bitchie From Boss to Broke and “She’s A Hot Mess,” and that terrified me because now you’re saying to all of these young women, “Don’t take a chance.” When they saw that I left something that no longer fulfilled me to do something positive, that was inspiring to them, but then when you put those headlines out there, it’s telling them that I failed. I didn’t want that to be the message that people got from me leaving something successful because now they’re thinking I’m going to stay even if I’m not happy because I don’t want to end up like her. A year after the release of that video, I got acquired by Will Packer. So, I needed them to see that low moment for that high moment to be even better.

“We fail nine times and win on the tenth. It’s about getting knocked down and getting back up. I needed my audience to know about the times when I was knocked down, as much as they knew about the times that I was winning. I never wanted them to look at me as an unattainable goal.”

 

What inspired you to launch xoNecole?

When I would go to other sites that were targeting black women, it was so celebrity-heavy because that is what brings the page views. But black women are multidimensional, and we’re into way more than what celebrities are doing. I felt like, well, if I don’t see it out there I need to create it. I wanted xoNecole to be the site I needed when I was a young woman trying to find my way.

Did you encounter any roadblocks while rebranding? If so, what helped you make it over those hurdles?

Running a site like xoNecole, you have a lot of contributors. When I had a gossip site, I had a very small staff, and they just reported on the gossip, but with xoNecole, there are so many different topics, so we work with a lot of contributors. Building the infrastructure of my business was a process. All of our ads are sold in-house. So, it took about a year of knocking on doors, sending media kits to brands, and a lot of legwork to build those relationships. I did not plan for that. Everyone I hired to launch the site was getting paid from my bank account. Since there was no ad revenue coming in, I was watching my bank account dwindle. But, I knew I had to invest in myself first before I expected someone else to. If I had waited around for a check or investor to launch xoNecole, it would have never launched. Someone would have been telling me that a site like this for black women wouldn’t work without celebrity content. When people used to ask me what I did, I would pause, and it would be a sense of embarrassment. But, I look at my site every day, and I’m so proud of what we’ve built and I love what we do. It’s the best feeling in the world.

Your company was recently acquired by Will Packer Media (“Girls Trip,” “Think Like A Man,” “Ride Along”). What has it been like having the support of someone as influential and seasoned as Will Packer?

It’s been good. They created an environment that allows me to practice my self-care. I say that because they are very respectful of my fitness journey. If they know I have a competition, they aren’t scheduling any meetings or having me fly anywhere within three weeks of my competition. They know this is my passion and they don’t want to stress me before the show. I also love that they give me the freedom to run my brand. I thought there was going to be a huge change and it would be like working in corporate America, but it’s not because they trust me with my brand.

Health and fitness are an essential part of your life. How do you balance taking care of yourself along with a flourishing career?

When I had Necole Bitchie, I would eat one time a day. I went to a doctor in LA, and I found out I was extremely malnourished. They couldn’t even take my heart rate because it was so faint. The doctor was like, Girl, if you keep this up, you’re not going to live long. I realized I was going down the same path as my parents, who both died at 41 and 42 years old, over a career. That was a wake-up call for me. My health and fitness are important to me right now because I know when I’m pouring into myself healthwise, and making sure I’m the best me I can be, it pours over into every aspect of my life.

 

Necole Kane is The Everygirl…

Favorite way to unwind? A good candle and Sade

Favorite cheat day treat? Sour Patch Kids and Reese Cups

Favorite inspirational quote? A lot of people complain that life doesn’t give them any chances; you were given life, you must take the chances.

If you could have lunch with one woman, who would it be? Lisa Nichols

[Black Enterprise]: How Bodybuilding Prepped Necole Kane For Lucrative Acquisition

I am featured on Black Enterprise, a business magazine focused on minorities that I’ve been reading for as long as I’ve been interested in entrepreneurship.  This is one of my favorite interviews to date because it focuses on my fitness journey, which has been a major factor in my wellness journey, career success and improved mental health.

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via Black Enterprise

Finding work-life balance for black business women can be challenging, especially when the stakes are high. But for Necole Kane, whose women’s lifestyle Website, XONecole, was acquired by Hollywood heavy-hitter Will Packer in January, seeking just that was what boosted success in both her personal and professional life.

Kane, who transitioned from heading a salacious celebrity gossip site to launching one that empowers women of color, had a special motivation for focusing on her health. “My parents passed away when I was in my early 20s. My father passed in 2002 [at 42], and my mother in 2004 at 41,” Kane, 37, recalls. “That’s one of the reasons I left the gossip site. When I was about to turn 35, I was short years from the ages when my parents died. I thought, ‘Are you really going to spend the rest of your life being a spectator to other people’s lives?’ I think that was me thinking of my age and how short their lives were. It pushed me to live the life I really wanted for myself.”

A renewed commitment to put self-care first led the XONecole.com editor-in-chief to pursue bodybuilding, and she’s already won first place in the Bikini Open D and Masters 35+ C categories at the 2018 NPC Northern California Championships.

Black Enterprise talked with the savvy entrepreneur—on the heels of competing to become a professional bikini pro at NPC Universe—about how putting self-care before business helped her prep for one of the biggest boss moves of her life, and how other black business women could benefit from doing the same.

How has getting into bikini fitness competitions and bodybuilding enriched your life as a businesswoman?

[After I left Necole Bitchie], I’d launched XONecole but it wasn’t making the money fast enough. More money was going out than was coming in. … I felt like I was failing. It took me to a deep, dark place, and I was questioning whether I made the right choice. Launching the new brand so soon after closing the old site, [was stressful]. One day, I got up, and said, ‘You cannot lay here in a fetal position and feel sorry for yourself every day. You need to get up and do something.’ I got into the gym and started focusing on competing. I felt like, if I’m losing at one thing, let me go win at something else. It took my focus off of things I couldn’t control at the moment.

During that time of competing, I was approached by Will Packer, and it kind of all worked out in the end.

[Training to compete] changed my life in so many areas: the discipline, the commitment, the consistency. It spills over into your personal life and into your business. If I didn’t start competing, I don’t know if I would’ve been prepared to go into acquisition [talks]. It mentally prepared me for more than just getting up every day, going to the gym, and competing on a stage.

black business women

(Image: npcnewsonline.com)

What was your first step in transitioning from just working out to prepping for competitions?

I ended up leaving my [previous personal] trainer at the time, and I got a coach—a woman who trained women for competitions. She had the body I wanted. She started teaching me about [how to contour] my body parts, and how important nutrition was. I had to go from eating one time a day to, at the time, eating five times a day. I had to go from drinking one bottle of water a day to one gallon a day.

How have you been able to balance the demands that with competing—the strict diet, the exercise routine—with the business demands of running a newly acquired site?

I thank God for Will Packer Media. They realized how much this fitness journey means to me and how much it plays into my self-care and who I am as a person. When it’s competition time, it’s little things I see that they do, like not scheduling major meetings that require me to fly [cross-country] to LA. That’s big to me.

I [recently] flew 6 1/2 hours to go to a big show, and when I landed, I had a text from the COO telling me good luck on my show.’ A lot of people don’t have that sort of support. I couldn’t have found a better situation for my brand.

I believe that if anything costs my peace, it’s too expensive. This [acquisition] has not cost me my peace. I think they have a lot of respect for me and how I gained my audience in being very authentic. I don’t think they ever want to change who I am. … You want to make sure it’s a good situation for everybody and everybody’s happy. [I’m happy] working out, getting up at 5 [a.m.] and getting on that treadmill, working toward [fitness goals.]

It’s important to take time for ourselves. A lot of women in business—in the hustle—are a lot like the old me. [They] get up every day and the first thing they do is roll over and start work. I’ve got a whole [self-care] morning ritual I do before I even log into social media or start work. I need to pour into myself first before I give myself to the world.

I’m Featured On 21Ninety: “How This Entrepreneur Works Less To Be Successful”

Hi Guys!

I am featured in 21ninety this week.  It’s one of my favorite features because it reflects my current lifestyle and self-care regimen as an entrepreneur.

Read it below:


“I don’t work as much as I used to,” says Necole Kane, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of xonecole.com. And that’s a conscious decision that has brought her even more success.

“When I had a celebrity gossip site, I spent every waking moment of the day working,” she says, “You might think you’re scrolling social media casually, but you’re looking for a story. Every phone call was work related.  Every person and friend I knew was a business associate. I never turned work off for eight years. I didn’t even date. So, when I created my new brand, for the first year I saw myself going down that same path. I remember saying to myself, ‘This is a mistake, this isn’t what I want for my life.’ But it’s now going on two years since I’ve launched and I’ve rebranded and re-strategized.”

Her ability to work less and work smarter comes from putting people in place who she trusts to help run it and also changing her goals and expectations to be flexible.

Now Necole doesn’t put pressure on herself to put out a ton of posts each day. She focuses on quality over quantity and tells herself a few less posts is ok. And it is.

“Now that I’ve switched the way I work on my new site, I’m living my life in such a way that sometimes I wake up and I’m like ‘I love my life,’” she says, “This is how I envisioned my life.”

Necole’s site is now focused on women empowerment and lifestyle. It serves to empower and inspire young women to live their best lives through personal essays about relationships, beauty, fashion and career advice.

Before this current iteration, many knew Necole as a “gossip blogger,” but her path to where she is now is anything but traditional.

After going to school in Maryland for Electronic Media and Film, Necole always thought she would be a screenwriter or producer in Hollywood. But after her mom passed away, she got writer’s block.

“All the stories and creative energy I had before, I couldn’t channel,” she says, “So I was living with my aunt at the time in a small room in Maryland and I started a blog to pass the time and to keep my mind busy.”

From there, her blog took off and surpassed anything she could have imagined. But it was important for her to take a step back and create xonecole.com in order to keep her brand true to what she wanted.

Necole BIO.jpg

BEYOND THE WORKDAY

And with her mission to spend less time working, she’s able to create time for friends and family like never before.

“I missed weddings, birthdays, funerals and a ton of milestones before, so when I left my old site I wondered if my friends would still be there,” she says, “I eventually realized that if they weren’t there, I had no one to blame but myself. Sometimes you have to realize what kind of friend you’ve been to others and be the friend you want to have.”

Beyond just relationships, self-care for Necole comes in the form of eating healthier (it helps her mood and productivity) and competing in fitness competitions.

Self-care has been a priority that she’s found a routine for in her current home in Arizona, but with a career transition and move to New York on the horizon, Necole’s now having to think about what self-care looks like and how she will practice it in a new city. But one thing remains — it’s still a priority for her.

FROM AM TO PM

Each morning, Necole gets up and turns on her diffuser with peppermint. Before she leaves bed, she has a moment where she prays and centers herself by setting intentions for the day.

“A practice I use is an intention planner or intention map,” she says, I put it out in the universe and say ‘I’m going to get this opportunity, I’m going to get this increase in income,’ and state how I want my day to go, even with personal relationships.”

Then she’ll make eggs and oatmeal for breakfast, drink between 8 and 32 ounces of water and open her blinds.

“Opening my blinds is the best part of my day,” she says, “I close them every night so I can open them again in the morning. Letting the sun in really makes my day.”

All of this happens before Necole plugs into what the world is doing.

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Then she can indulge in some self-care through a workout. She jogs for 30 minutes each day, and ends the day with a good weightlifting session.

As far as hair and makeup, Her go-to for foundation is Laura Mercier’s Candleglow Soft Luminous foundation. I also like their translucent setting powder (although she’s looking for a talc-free alternative) and their face illuminator powder in a golden, shimmery shade.

“And if you’re on a budget, Sephora samples will save your life,” she says, “I couldn’t justify me spending money on that foundation without me trying it thoroughly first.”

At night, she uses Aveeno face wipes to remove makeup and leave her skin moisturized. She also swears by Belif’s The True Cream- Moisturizing Bomb. Those, paired with St. Ives face scrubs and the Neutrogena acne wash, keep her skin smooth, hydrated and healthy.

Throughout the day, she uses Calm.com to listen to waterfall sounds.

“I love that as background music when my mind is all over the place,” she says, “It’s like meditation. That gets me back centered.”

And to-do lists keep her on track. Her favorite to-do list app, Momentum allows you to you open your browser and see your tasks for the day.

But something that dictates every decision Necole makes in life is a simple quote, “If it costs you your peace, it’s too expensive.”

It allows her to contribute to her legacy in a positive way, even when she’s offered good money for a deal or a job opportunity — some things are just not worth it. And there’s unlimited value in knowing what will move your life in the direction of your dreams.

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 Thank you Christine for the amazing piece.
Original posthttps://21ninety.com/how-this-ceo-and-editor-in-chief-works-less-to-be-more-successful

I’m In The Press This Week (Glamour, Refinery29 & Launch DFW)

I haven’t done much press over the last two years, nor have I orchestrated a PR campaign, so I’m always very humbled and appreciative when journalists reach out to request an interview.

Over the past week, I’ve had the honor to be featured in 3 pieces that were published on Refinery29, Glamour and Launch DFW.

Here’s a summary:

1. Launch DFW : Necole Kane Goes Beyond The Web To The Center Stage

This piece was a very in-depth interview where I spoke about my failures, why it is important that I remain transparent about the ups and downs of my journey and my brand being acquired.

A standout quote:

I promised myself in 2007 that I would never send out a resume. I have not sent out a resume since 2007. Like, how cocky of me to say, but [at the time] I was like I’m tired of getting no. I’m tired of interviewing. I’m tired of proving myself. I’m not sending out another resume. And I have not had to send out another resume since then.

Click here to read more!

 

2. Glamour Magazine – Black Women Have Been Politically Powerful But We’re Not Your Saviors

In this piece, I was featured along with other black thought leaders on the narrative surrounding black women and their political choices.  Read it here

 

3. Refinery 29 – 24 Of Our Favorite Entrepreneurs Namecheck The Businesswomen You Should Follow

 

 

This was one of my favs for International Women’s Day because I had the chance to honor an entrepreneur that I look up to.  It should be to no surprise to anyone that follows me that I chose Myleik Teele, the Founder of Curlbox.   

A key quote from the piece:

As a Black woman, entrepreneurship can feel isolating. Sometimes it’s hard to find a support system of women who can guide you through huge business moments like mergers and acquisitions or even securing an investor. Myleik is a serial entrepreneur and doesn’t hoard the information she knows and the lessons she has learned from creating two successful companies. I always joke around and call her the ‘Oprah for entrepreneurs’ because she really is breeding and birthing a new generation of young bosses through her valuable advice, resources, and retreats.

Read more here!

[News] Will Packer Media Acquires xoNecole

Via Variety

Entertainment production firm Will Packer Media has acquired xoNecole, a lifestyle website focused on urban millennial women created and run by blogger Necole Kane.

WPM founder and CEO Will Packer, whose producing credits include “Girls Trip,” “Ride Along,” “Think Like a Man” and “Straight Outta Compton,” said the addition of xoNecole (xonecole.com) is aimed at boosting WPM’s direct connection with its audiences. In addition, he’s look to adapt content produced by xoNecole for TV series and film projects.

“It fits perfectly with what I’m doing with my company,” said Packer. “I was looking for someone I could partner with who has a highly engaged audience and speaks authentically to them.” He added, “Necole is amazingly gifted in her ability to connect with women and deliver much-needed engaging, smart and empowering content that is aspirational and impactful.”

Financial terms of the deal, which closed in late 2017, weren’t disclosed. The staff of xoNecole will remain located in New York (where Kane is based), L.A. and Atlanta.

WPM is investing in the site to expand video, social and mobile content as well as develop a newsletter and launch in-person events, including activations during Fashion Week and educational and networking events. The goal is to turn xoNecole into a multifaceted digital-media women’s brand akin to Refinery29 or Popsugar.

Packer formed WPM last year in partnership with Discovery Communications and Universal Pictures. The company currently has 15 projects in development across 10 networks and platforms. XONecole is the company’s first owned-and-operated digital property, and Packer said WPM is on the lookout for potential acquisitions in the space.

Kane once traded in salacious celebrity dish as proprietor of gossip site NecoleBitchie.com, which she launched in 2008. Then she shifted gears: In 2015, Kane shut down NecoleBitchie and formed xoNecole with a focus on beauty, fashion, lifestyle, career and travel features. The new site’s mission is to promote positive images of women of color, as well as empower, educate and inspire millennials.

Ending her gossip site “was a very risky and terrifying move,” Kane said, but “I knew I wanted to offer my readers content that was more empowering and purposeful, would inspire them to live their best lives, and was deeply rooted in giving women permission to evolve.” She added, “Will Packer is someone I’ve always admired and respected, and he knows my audience. I couldn’t think of a better partnership.”

Packer said he first met Kane when some of the stars in his films were the subjects of items on her now-defunct gossip site.

“I want to be aligned with someone like Necole,” he said. “She’s had ups and downs, but she’s a survivor and a fighter. She’s also vulnerable and admits her shortcomings.”

The xoNecole team will continue to be led by Kane, overseen by WPM co-founder and COO Alix Baudin, formerly SVP and GM of Scripps Networks Interactive’s digital operations. Thanks to changes led by Baudin to streamline the site’s features and interface, xoNecole’s traffic has doubled in the last three months, according to Packer (who declined to provide specific metrics). “We see Necole as the face of a young and empowered generation of women who want to lift each other up and be inspired to evolve,” said Baudin.

In addition to traditional ad sales, xoNecole will be supported by content marketing and branded -entertainment partnerships, as well as the slate of live events, according to Packer.

Behind The Scenes Of My Shoot For Cosmo Magazine’s May 2014 Issue

Cosmo-3

Meet James Demolet and Shiona Turini.

Back in February, I flew to New York in the midst of a snow storm, to shoot with Cosmo Magazine!

Right now, I can’t express how I feel…but it’s a pretty good feeling.  I am a faithful subscriber to the magazine and back in January, right after I returned from break, I decided to make a new vision board which included Cosmo. I received an email from them three days later, no lie!  The law of attraction, having a positive outlook and speaking things into existence is so real!

On the day, the issue hit news stands, I wrote on Instagram:

Im in the New @cosmopolitan Magazine May 2014 issue! Thank you so much @shionat! I remember being on set and I said “I still don’t believe that I am here” and Shiona. The Fashion Market Director said “why not?” And it just reminded me that sometimes we place ceilings on how far up we can go and marginalize ourselves without even realizing it. Anything is possible, and as long as you believe that you are worthy of the blessings that come your way, they will keep coming. This was on my vision board and now it’s real and a reminder for me to never stop dreaming. Thank you guys for the love and support.

For the past year, I’ve had the quote ‘Impossible is just an opinion’ included in most of my social media bios and this is just proof of that. I want to take this opportunity to just send some encouragement to anyone who is beginning their journey and haven’t quite seen the light at the end of the tunnel yet.

When I first started my website, there were more people who told me what I shouldn’t be doing, what I wasn’t supposed to do, and what I would NEVER do than those offering encouragement and support. It had a lot to do with the fact that blogging was so new, and certain rules hadn’t been set yet. We were all just trying to blindly figure it out.

If I had a dime for every time someone told me throughout my career, ‘YOU ARE JUST A BLOGGER’ (as if that word defined who I was and that’s all I would ever be), I would be able to quit everything now and live off of my savings for the rest of my life. Instead of being discouraged enough to quit, I continued to stay focused and as a result, every single thing that I wanted to do, that people told me was not possible, I have eventually been able to do!

I say all of this to say, I’ve always knew I wanted to be in the magazines I grew up on like Ebony, Essence and Sister 2 Sister, as well as Cosmopolitan, and it happened and I am so grateful and humbled by the opportunity. It’s a reminder to keep pushing and keep grinding and keep focusing on that next phase in your journey, while knowing that whatever it is that you want to do and dreamed of doing, can and will happen. You just have to believe it and believe in yourself!

Many thanks goes out to fab, fly chick Shiona Turini for the opportunity. She joined Cosmo last year as the Fashion Market Director and has been bringing a little flavor and diversity to the magazine.  Also, Senior Fashion Editor James DeMolet.

Even though it was a snowing really bad on the day of the shoot, everyone’s energy was so amazing and fun!

Here’s a few pics!

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Cosmo-1Porsche Cooper (celebrity makeup artist)

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[I’m Featured In The LA Sentinel] Necole Bitchie: Branding Her Business Beyond Her Blog

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I want to thank Zon D’Amour for this lovely article she wrote that will be published in Thursday’s edition of the LA Sentinel. Seeing as though I haven’t really updated my blog with details on what I’ve been doing since the last post in July, I think it’s a real reflection of where I am in life right now.

Via Zon’s site Aimeramour:
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On a Monday, Necole Kane known to most as Necole Bitchie was summoned to The White House to attend a panel on HBCU’s (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) that was happening the next day. Moderated by television personality, and North Carolina A&T University alum Terrence J. The panel featured actress and Spellman College alumna Keisha Knight Pulliam. The event discussed the misconceptions about HBCU’s and the panelists shared their experiences and success stories for students. When Kane returned home she said to herself, ‘Wow, look where blogging has taken me, to The White House.’

Daily, Kane’s entertainment gossip blog, NecoleBitchie.com receives millions of views as she updates faithful readers with tidbits on urban pop culture as well as doses of feel good, uplifting stories. She recently celebrated the blogs seventh year and though she believes the seventh year is the year of completion she’s almost ready, but not quite ready to move on from the blog. “When you take in celebrity news and entertainment the way I have to take it in everyday, it really stunts your growth creatively. For me to go into my next chapter, it can’t include the celebrity site. I hate to say it but I’m going to have to let it go completely to fully walk into my purpose.” She continues, “It’s a hard pill for me to swallow but it’s one of the reasons why I moved to Arizona, to prepare myself for the next chapter.”

Having lived in nearly ten states in the past ten years including Washington, DC, Maryland, New York, Georgia, Florida and California, Kane recently moved to Arizona to somewhat escape the hustle and bustle of the major entertainment markets and work on finding a balance between her personal and professional life. Many young women look to Kane’s personal blog, IamNecole.com for relationship and career advice. On the blog, she’s been extremely candid about her life experiences from struggling to make ends meet when working at a radio station to a tumultuous relationship with her mother in addition to topics such as chasing significance instead of success.

Kane recently took a hiatus from IamNecole after a very introspective piece entitled, “A Distorted Perception of Love”. She says, “I realized many of the things I was writing about on the blog were about past experiences, things that happened in my childhood and teenage years. I wasn’t drawing any experience from my current life because I wasn’t allowing myself to live life. After that blog I made a vow to myself to love no matter how hard it hurts. I was going to let my guard down and let myself be vulnerable.”

Kane shares an imperative lesson learned from recent dating experience that will be the topic of discussion when she returns to her personal blog. “As women we’re usually upset and frustrated when a relationship ends but as long as we enjoy the moment, even if it didn’t work out, we shouldn’t feel regret. Oftentimes we as women mistake falling in love with a moment, with falling in love with the person we shared that moment with.  I’ve become wise enough to know the difference.”

When she’s not inserting her opinions in posts on NecoleBitchie.com or posing questions to a combined total of over five-hundred thousand followers on Instagram, Kane’s wisdom can be found in 140 characters to her nearly thirty thousand followers on her personal twitter. She once tweeted, “In order to grow a business, it has to grow beyond you.” In 2012, Kane admittedly had a series of failures in attempts to grow her business including spending upwards of $50,000 on trying to get ideas off the ground. At the time, she was also dealing with several lawsuits and issues with the IRS.

At a time when most would have given up by possibly filing for bankruptcy or selling their site, Kane persevered and took time off to reassess her brand. In December 2013 she spent ten days in Paris, France and in December 2014 she spent ten days in Dubai. “As your business grows, you have to know when it’s time to start hiring. I recently hired a Content Manager who helps to choose the topics we’re going to cover and assign stories to writers. Prior to this year, I was far too involved in the site which didn’t leave me with much time to work on expansion.”

She continues, “How could I write a book or take a role on a show if I’m spending eight hours looking for leads on stories and writing content for the website. After a day of blogging and celebrity craziness I’m so burnt out. You have to know when it’s time to hire a team and you have to find people who are just as passionate about the brand as you are. I have a girl on my staff right now, her passion and belief in my brand keeps me going on days where I feel like giving up.”

Kane’s business model is definitely different from other companies but it’s one of the many things that makes her admirable. “I haven’t hired many people with previous corporate experience. My social media manager, years ago, I plucked her from a small town in Florida and we’ve grown together. Although they say, in business, you should hire people in positions that know more than you do, I love that me and my staff all learn and grow together.” She adds, “I love giving young women outside of the major markets of New York and L.A. chances to work in this industry. I remember a woman once looked out for me and told me whatever you do, reach back and give another black woman an opportunity and that’s what I pride myself off doing.”

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Necole Bitchie and TV personality Terrence J. visit The White House for the Champions of Change event honoring successful HBCU alumni.

Apart of Kane’s next chapter includes penning a highly anticipated memoir. A colleague of Kane’s from her time in DC named Brittney Norwood was accused of murder and a Washington Post reporter wrote a book on the infamous situation. “When I read the book, I was so hurt. It painted Brittney as a girl that I didn’t know. I felt like she was robbed of the opportunity to tell her story. The writer compiled interviews from people close to the situation, the victim’s family and thousands of her text messages from years prior to the murder were analyzed.” She continues, “The book also came out around the same time Lifetime released the Aaliyah: Princess of R&B movie where her family wasn’t involved in telling her story. This led me to think that I would hate for something to happen to me and I didn’t get the chance to tell my story in my own words. That really pushed me to make releasing my memoir and going on a book tour my number one priority for this year.”

Kane was most recently notified that she would be honored by the American University Public Relations Students Society of America (PRSSA) with their Communicator’s Award. “I had a hard time in college because I didn’t speak very well, I wasn’t very articulate and I had a strong country accent. I came from a family where some hadn’t finished high school let alone had gone to college, I wanted to be the next Oprah and go from city to city inspiring young women but those people in college took my voice away from me. By teasing me, they made me feel as if something was wrong with me. Suddenly, I didn’t want to speak in public anymore.”

With great pride she continues, “To now be in a position where am organization wants to honor me with a communicator award is an accomplishment as high on my list as going to The White House. Every year, I think I can’t be surprised any further but the blessings keep coming.”
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[I’m Featured In The Baltimore Sun] Maryland Native Makes A Splash As Celebrity Blogger Necole Bitchie

 

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I’m back from hiatus.

I’ll explain it all later.  In the meantime, the next few posts will be catching up.

First stop: The Baltimore Sun

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I remember back in 2011,  Dan Morse from The Washington Post reached out to me through email and said he needed to speak to me.  Did they want to do a story on me? A small town girl with big dreams?

I immediately felt a breakthrough, because The Washington Post was one of the newspapers that was sold in my hometown.  To be featured would have been a dream.

I responded back to Dan, and immediately found out that he wasn’t contacting me to do a write up on my celebrity blog, but instead had some tragic news for me.

I’ll discuss that tragic news later…

It took three more years for me to get another call from a local newspaper. This time it was The Baltimore Sun (also sold in my hometown), and this time, they wanted to do a feature on me.  What I thought was going to be a small blurb, ended up being the cover story for the Life & Style section!!!

To see it in person was just…

Unexplainable.

Read it below:

 

Md. native makes a splash as celebrity blogger Necole Bitchie

If you keep up with pop culture, Hollywood’s glitterati and, particularly, the “black” blogosphere, you’ve probably heard of celebrity blogger “Necole Bitchie.”

Necole Kane, who grew up on the Eastern Shore and lived in Baltimore for several years while attending Morgan State and Towson universities, is the visionary and CEO behind Necolebitchie.com, one of the hottest urban gossip websites in the country.

The site, which debuted in 2007 and has built a cultlike fan following, dishes up a mix of celebrity entertainment news, pop culture, music and fashion via posts, photos and video interviews on “Bitchie TV,” her YouTube channel.

Necolebitchie.com boasts more than 2.5 million monthly unique visitors and 12 million to 13 million monthly pageviews; her team cites data from Google Analytics. She has about 600,000 followers on Twitter, and her two fun (and occasionally profane) Instagram feeds have some 400,000 combined followers.

It’s all a bit more than she expected, coming from quiet Cambridge, population around 12,000.

“To say, ‘Oh, I’m going to get millions of views, make money and get to share my thoughts with the world?’ No, I would not have imagined that,” says the businesswoman, who is currently based in Los Angeles. “But I’ve always had big dreams.”

The blogger — who sports wild curls and favors playful, sexy outfits in crayon-box colors and stiletto heels — can be seen walking red carpets at award shows, movie premieres and industry parties, and mingling with the likes of P. Diddy, Alicia Keys, Gabrielle Union and Ludacris. Out in Hollywood, she’s become friendly with personalities like LaLa Anthony and Tyrese.

The site is updated with posts around the clock. A pic of Beyonce and Jay-Z on a yacht in some exotic locale? She’s on it. A selfie of Kim and Kanye smooching in an elevator? Yep. J-Lo and rapper Iggy Azalea showing off their, um, assets in a video? Check and check.

Kane, has also snagged one-on-one chats with performers Nicki Minaj and Ciara and boxer Floyd Mayweather, among others, while the site’s contributors have interviewed such celebs as Will Smith, Pharrell Williams, Robin Thicke, Kevin Hart and the late Joan Rivers, to name a few.

Kane herself was profiled with other hot bloggers in the May issue of Cosmopolitan, and has been featured in outlets ranging from The Huffington Post and CNN, to VIBE, Ebony Magazine and the “Tom Joyner Morning Show.”

She was invited to go on the whirlwind 777 tour with Rihanna (seven shows, seven countries, seven days), and is part of the documentary that resulted. And she’s racked up national blogging honors, including a 2014 nomination for “Best Hip-Hop Online Site,” at the annual BET Hip Hop Awards. The show, which taped in Atlanta this month, is scheduled to air Oct. 14.

The blogger traveled back home to Maryland for her birthday in September. She opened up about her humble beginnings, the perks and pitfalls of covering celebrities, and trying to become as big as Oprah.

On life in a small town: “I was born and raised in Cambridge. It’s tiny. I was the only child in my household, and most of my family lived within a five-mile radius. We were pretty broke, so we didn’t travel out of state or things like that. But I did love reading books, and I was a good student. For many people in my community, the options were working in a pickle plant or at Wal-Mart. I knew I wanted to go someplace else and build a new life for myself.”

School daze: “I had so much fun at Morgan but wound up transferring after about two years. In my senior year of college at Towson, I lost my mother, who had cancer. She hadn’t told me anything until late in her illness. My father had died two years earlier. After my mother died, I was devastated. I dropped out of school.”

Moving to Motown: “I moved to Detroit, where no one knew me, and started over. I got an internship at one of the big radio stations in town. I have an amazing work ethic, so within a few months I was promoted to a paid position in the promotions department. Music executives and artists would visit the station, and that’s where I got my first taste of that world.”

Big city blues: “In 2006, I quit my job to move to New York City because I wanted to live out my dream of working for a music label. But I was a small-town girl, very naïve and wide open. I was floating in the wind — I was temping and couldn’t find a permanent job. I was forced to come back to Maryland and move in with my aunt. I had my mom’s old Honda Accord but didn’t even have enough money for gas. I felt so defeated.”

Accidental blogger: “I started blogging partly as a way to cope with my grief. My aunt eventually kicked me out because she couldn’t understand why I was on the Internet all day instead of looking for a job. Looking back, that was a turning point. I am very ambitious, and I knew my potential. I drove down to Atlanta. I was homeless for a while, basically sleeping on friends’ couches. But I continued blogging. It was so new back in those days. No one knew where it would go.”

A brand is born: “I was a fan of Nicole Richie and her TV show “The Simple Life.” And [fellow blogger] Perez Hilton had done his play on Paris Hilton’s name. So I came up with this persona of “Necole Bitchie.” It’s definitely an alter ego. On the homepage of my site, there’s a photo of the quiet and nerdy girl being choked by the glamour girl.

“Executives at Def Jam, Interscope and Atlantic discovered my site when it was a baby — I think they thought it was way bigger than it was. They invited me to come and check out their artists, gave me concert access.”

Blogging as business: “At some point, blogging became a real business. Compensation depends on your ads. A lot of money is at stake. There are agencies and blog networks, and while they help you make money, they take a percentage of your revenue — sometimes 50 percent. In 2011, I made a bold move and decided to leave the blog network. I brought the sales in-house, and a trusted family member handles that side of things.

“I have had to learn about contracts, collecting invoices from writers who contribute to my site, and avoiding lawsuits. New bloggers often Google images and post them, but if you don’t have permission, the photo agencies will come after you. I have been sued.”

Undercover celebrity: “I have access to celebrities, but I can walk into a room with them and feel really weird. Because I’m never really sure how they feel about bloggers. I was at a cookout this summer at the home of a celebrity couple. I would never invade the privacy of the people there by posting anything. Some celebs recognize me, and occasionally they get upset if I write something they don’t like. I sometimes wish I’d never put my photo on my site. It’s better sometimes if you can be anonymous.”

Online manners: “When I first started blogging, the tone was more negative, but now I try to keep it positive. People get online, and they just slam each other. I don’t tolerate that, period. I don’t have time to respond to every publicist, and some of them think I don’t like them, but I know what works for my audience. About 70 percent are women; 40 percent are ages 18 to 24. I’m trying to entertain them, but I also try to inspire them. They should feel like they’re getting news from a friend.”


Big dreams
: “I’m busy expanding my lifestyle brand. I just collaborated with CupCake Mafia in Atlanta on a line of T-shirts called The Dream Chaser collection. It will be sold online, and available as of Oct 1.

“I want to do so much — the model is what Oprah has done. God doesn’t let me become complacent. I like what Will Smith once said: ‘Being realistic is the most common path to mediocrity.’ “

My Interview With Huffington Post Live’s Marc Lamont Hill

 

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Here’s an interview I forgot to post:  My interview with Huffington Post Live!

Back in May, I sat down with Marc Lamont Hill for an in depth discussion on my rise from living on couches to building a successful blogging empire.

Now, one thing I have to say is that when I do these interviews, I try not to sugarcoat anything. I think blogging has somehow become glamorized over the past few years. People follow bloggers on social media and think they are hanging out and partying with celebs every day and going home to write about it, but I don’t feel like bloggers are really disclosing the obstacles they face behind the scenes. 7 figure lawsuits from photo agencies, bad business managers, huge IRS bills, etc have all been a part of my journey, and I try to talk about that and all of my mistakes in hopes that someone else who is on the come up will learn from it.

We dabbled into that a little during my interview, and I also revealed to Marc Lamont that I recently was approached by both Floyd Mayweather and Nelly over something that was posted on the blog.  I also made the revelation that if I could go back and do it all over again, I don’t think I would have made the decision to show my face on my blog. (I’ll get into that a lot more later).

For aspiring bloggers, I only had this word of advice:

Blog about something you’re passionate about. A lot of people jump into celebrity blogging because it’s popular and because of the money. When you’re first starting out you have to dedicate your life to it and you’re going to make a lot of sacrifices, so make sure it’s something you’re passionate about. Be consistent, do what makes you happy not what everyone else is doing and find your voice. With a lot of celebrity blogs out today we’ve lost our voice because as you get bigger people don’t want you to say how you feel and everyone sounds the same. Keep your voice.

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P.S. Marc Lamont Hill is a cutie. Hey boo!

You can watch the full video below

[CentricTV] Necole Bitchie Opens Up On Pain, Success & New Beginnings

Screen Shot 2014-05-31 at 1.16.29 PMLast week, I sat down with CentricTV.com editor Gerren Keith Gannor to talk about my start in blogging, my future after blogging and how the impact of the deaths in my family have affected me.

Two minutes into her interview with CentricTV.com, Necole Kane, widely known by the moniker “Necole Bitchie,” is in tears.

“Damn. Every time someone brings up my parents…” she says before stopping mid sentence to dry her eyes.

The famous blogger’s mom and dad both died at the age of 42, just two years apart from each other and, as expected, it’s something that remains a soft spot. In fact, death has become quite a devastating theme in her life. Before her parents, Necole’s grandmother had passed when she was 16, and just last year, she reveals, she lost her other grandmother as well.

“It’s something I didn’t publicize,” she said. “I didn’t go to the funeral and it’s only because you get tired of your last memory of people being in a casket.”

Kane, who’s website NecoleBitchie.com is the one of the fastest-growing celebrity news sites on the Internet, tells Centric despite her traumatic personal story, it’s only been used to light a match to her burning success. But more importantly, it’s taught her to value life that much more.

“I think that’s why I work so hard because I don’t know how much time I have here,” she says.

If her six-year career as a blogger is any indication, Necole will be here for as long as she wants to be.

Before urban bloggers were posting selfies with celebrities and building their “brands,” there was Kane. Her girlie persona and transparency came at a time when most bloggers hid behind their computer screens. The site, which attracts mostly women, has propelled the smalltown Maryland native to a stage she didn’t exactly intend to be.

Back in 2007, Necole quit her radio gig and took a leap of faith by moving to New York City in order to pursue a career at a record company.

“I didn’t know how to sell myself, so it was hard for me to get a job,” she admitted.

In an attempt to prove she had the goods to market herself, Necole started her blog, which continues to be one of the most read urban sites on the Net.

It’d be safe to assume that Kane’s many bouts with adversity is what got her this far. Through the loss of loved ones, and being broke and homeless, Kane seemingly made a way out of no possible way. However, she points out there’s a price that comes with success.

“They see the fun. They say ‘I want to be just like her’ or ‘I see her on the scene at all these celebrity events,’ but they don’t know how much you sacrifice to have a website of that caliber,” she said. “I sacrificed family, friends because I couldn’t afford to [stop]. There’s always something breaking and somebody’s always willing to take your place or steal your audience.”

After a rough year of lawsuits, and her grandmother’s death, Kane says she took a 10-day vacation overseas in 2013 that changed her outlook on her career and personal life.

“I realized you gotta work smarter not harder,” she said. “So I hired writers and help to open up a little time to live.”

But even with the success of the site, Necole tells Centric her dreams and aspirations go far beyond blogging.

“I don’t want my legacy to be that I was some great celebrity gossip blogger. I want my legacy to be something more impactful,” she says.

Kane says when she was younger she was inspired by Oprah Winfrey just when her talk show was beginning to take off. When Winfrey started doing city tours, Necole was amazed at how many women – of all races – paid to see her. She, too, wanted to have that kind of effect on people. But when she went to college, Kane says she was often teased for her country accent.

“I mispronounced words and everybody thought I was unintelligent. They mocked me when I talked and I was like OK that’s not what I want to do anymore,” the self-described introvert said. “I let those people steal my voice and they took my dream and I think I want to get that dream back.”

While she’s not entirely sure when or what her exit strategy will be, Kane says she thinks about it often and makes it clear that she wants to separate Necole Bitchie from Necole Kane. One way of doing that is also blogging on her personal website IAMNecole.com.

Eventually, Necole says, she wants to turn to book writing and inspire people around the world to go after their dreams, the same way she did so many years ago.

“You have to block out the noise so you’re not comparing yourself to other people. Don’t follow anyone else,” she says. “I don’t know what’s next. I just ask God to just use me and guide me to my next chapter.”

Via Centric.

The Black Weblog Awards ‘Blogger Of The Year’ Dinner

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Necole Bitchie Black Weblog Awards

On November 2, I was honored as the ‘Blogger Of The Year’ by the Black Weblog Awards in Houston, TX. Before I was presented with the award, they played a video tribute that featured my friends, business associates and those closest to me, and I was an emotional wreck afterwards.

In my speech, I talked about how it was always my dream to go from city to city and inspire people, but that was cut short when I went to college and people teased me for the way I talked. I also addressed how people can discourage others from following their dreams, and how we never know how our words will affect people.

It’s crazy how one person can say something that kills your dream. You really have to be careful with the way your words affect people and I think as celebrity gossip and entertainment bloggers, we don’t really realize how one thing we may say about a celebrity can really affect their dream. And I don’t want to be that person.

“I believe when someone gives you a platform to speak, you should always say something meaningful”

Catch my speech below:

My Interview With Houston’s 97.9 The Box

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Shortly after the Black Weblog Awards in Houston earlier this month, I sat down with JJ of Houston’s 97.9 ‘The Box’ for some chit-chat on blogging.

Catch the highlights:

On why I don’t bash celebs on my website
First of all, I know there are girls watching and they want to mimic what you do, and if you are out there bullying people, then they feel like it’s cool and then they are going to want to bully people. I’m also getting older. When I first got into the game, I said what I wanted about people, and then it took me back to a place where people said things that weren’t so nice about me, and I said [to myself], ‘How did that make you feel?’ Once you do that, you strive to do better.

I was having a conversation with my videographer earlier, and I said that I always think about my legacy. Nelly recently said