I caught up with the beautiful Vanessa Xola Donkor, also known as Simply Xola. Vanessa is a digital content creator, Miss Malaika Ghana 2017 (1st Runner Up) and a businesswoman. She opens up to us about content creating, pageantry and how she makes her business work. Her brand stands for Beauty, Fitness and Lifestyle. She was born in Accra, Ghana. Not only is she passionate about beauty but she is also passionate about upholding integrity. “In this day and era where people want the fast way out, I appreciate people who will not trade their integrity no matter what comes their way” states Vanessa.
She named herself ‘Simply Xola’ because she realized that she liked nice yet simple things. “I will not do the most but I will still make a statement in a simple way and that is naturally who I am” states Simply Xola. She changed her name on Twitter to Simply Xola because she was very active there at the time. Later on she thought it was a good name that describes who she truly is and it could pass for all her social media platforms. She later realized that people had gotten acquainted with the name when she was in University and someone yelled ‘Simply Xola’ instead of her actual name Vanessa to catch her attention.
Vanessa is in the beauty industry, she is a hairstylist and a makeup artist. She has always been a handy person. She loved to get creative with her hair, practicing new hairstyles every now and then. She loved to do her makeup too, she would watch YouTube videos and try a thing or two on herself every now and then. That stage passed and fast forward to her university days, she remembers trying to figure out what she can do to bring her a source of income. She knew she could not get a regular job yet because she was still studying so she started to search for something she loved to do which could bring her an income and that is how she got into makeup and hairstyling.
She constantly worked on bettering herself and this was by watching makeup videos regularly and kept on practicing on herself as well as family and friends. She also asked the lady that mostly does her wigs at the salon she regularly visits to teach her the basic steps of making a wig. She started making wigs and as she began to post her work on social media, people gradually started booking her to make wigs for them. A year later, she decided to take it to the next level and got her business registered. She started getting bookings and these included bridal bookings.
What does a DAY in your life look like?
“For what I do, my routine tends to change every now and then but the few times I do have a regular day this is what it would most likely look like; I start off with my morning devotion when I wake up then hit the gym. Shower when I am back, make something to eat then get to work. So with work, it is either I have people coming over to learn either hair or makeup techniques or going out to work with models or clients for photo shoot sessions. I also put time aside to work on creating content for my YouTube channel and social media pages.”
How was your Miss Malaika journey? What is one lesson the pageant taught you?
“Miss Malaika was a great opportunity for me! I am really glad I took that bold step and partook in the pageant. It boosted my self-confidence a lot. I never imagined an introvert like me could come out of her shelf and do amazingly well. Till date, it is one thing I am super proud I did.”
Your top 5 favourite Instagram accounts right now?
And in recent times I’ve been following some food pages that I absolutely love as well!
What advice would you give to an up and coming influencer?
“For upcoming influencers target the products you want to promote, be honest in your reviews because you probably have an audience that are taking you for your words and the last thing you want to do is mislead them. Once they realize your reviews are not from an honest place you are most likely to lose them and that is not good for what you’re trying to do. Reach out to brands you will like to work with if they have not discovered you yet and propose some good deals. Last thing will be keep your social media active by posting regularly and engaging your audience.”
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a business?
“I would say focus on what you want to do and don’t get distracted, work day and night to fulfill those dreams and above all commit your plans into God hands because He says in His word in Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a man heart but it’s the Lords purpose that prevails.”
Money, status and power? Put these in order of importance and give a reason why?
“Status, Money, Power.
Status was merited, it is what I worked for and that knowledge I have acquired can never be taken away from me. Money because it is essential and everyone needs money to live the kind of lives they desire. Power will come last because I believe you do not need to be powerful to make an impact, you can do it wherever you find yourself in life.”
How much effort goes into creating content?
A lot of effort goes into content creation. Behind the scenes a lot of work goes in that no one sees. I guess that’s why it’s called’ BTS’. Before I film a YouTube video I have to make sure I have the right lightening needed, i.e. natural light and any other source of artificial lights needed because I would not want poor quality visuals. Ensuring my sound is clear and I am audible enough for my microphone to pick up my voice because people are interested in hearing your review of the products you are using or whatever message you may be laying out, you do not want them to be struggling to hear you. When I am done recording I move to post production which is editing my video that is a whole job on its own. However once the final production is out I do not remember what went into it anymore, I am just excited for the content I have created.
What is the one quote you stand by?
Walt Whitman’s quote which says:
“Keep your face towards the sunshine and shadows will fall behind you”.
Did you know?
- She loves working out
- She is big on loyalty
- She is an introvert
- She was born in her dad’s car during traffic in Ghana. Her mom’s water broke at home, they immediately rushed to the hospital but she couldn’t wait to come out. The traffic light on the El – wark road turned red and there she was!
- She is a great cook
Social media handles?
YouTube: Simply Xola
Twitter : @simplyxola_