Q: Please start by introducing yourself, your name, your pronouns, where you are from and where you are now.
My name is Tyla-Lauren Gilmore, my pronouns are she/her/hers. I was born and raised in New York City, but I am currently living in Jersey City and I am a lifestyle content creator.
Q: You are a social media mogul, a beauty and style guru...when did you start discovering your passion for self expression?
So I kind of have always been super creative, ever since I was young. But when I started, I think it took me a while to embrace who I was, and how to express myself through my style and beauty and hair. I was like every other teenager: super insecure about my curly hair, my skin because I had acne, and I've never been really slim. It took me a while to embrace who I am.
When I started my social media journey, I actually went natural with my hair. That helped me pivot into being who I am today. My natural hair journey was more than just my hair going back to being healthy; it was a whole spiritual awakening for me because it was such an emotional journey. I was kind of looking to find myself, rather than just getting my hair to be healthy. I didn't realize that until I actually finished the whole process of getting my hair to where I wanted it to be, because I started embracing who I was.
Me not being a size 2 and always being average size, and being a mixed girl from New York City and having really curly hair, I was always searching and trying to fill a void, when all I really needed to do was just accept who I was. I want to be an outlet for other women and people in general to just embrace who they are because no one is you, and that is your power. I live by that. It's something that I always tell my goddaughter—she's four years old and she has a big curly afro—and I tried to instill in her what I didn't really have when I was younger. I grew up in a predominantly Caucasian area in Staten Island, so I never saw people that looked like me. So now I remind her all the time of how beautiful she is and you know no one is who she is and that's super important that I wish I had. So I just want to be that for her and other young women of color.
Q: Your following began to grow when you started documenting your natural hair journey on instagram. Why was it important for you to be open to sharing this?
I would have never in a million years thought that I would be doing this job. Even my family and friends still are in shock that I do this because I'm an introverted extrovert. I'm an extrovert when necessary, but I'm mostly an introvert. I was really putting myself out there on the internet and connecting with people I've never met before in my life, but like I said before, I didn't have a lot of people that look like me or have the same type of hair as me so I was just looking for a community. That was the biggest thing for me and I didn't even realize it until afterwards and I was just like, wow, I'm really putting myself out there I'm really sharing—like my hair being really unhealthy was kind of embarrassing. It was just great to find other women that looked like me, that might not be in New York—they might be in LA or in Chicago or in another country—but they felt the same way I did. Part of me was searching for something that I didn't even know. Social media was just a beautiful thing because I was still working full time when I was going natural. I was just sharing, and people were reacting to it in a really positive way and then I thought “Okay, wow, this is so necessary.” People that are sharing their stories on the internet are so essential.
Was there a specific moment that made you realize the gravity that sharing something like this has?
I always tell this story—it's probably the most emotional story that I've ever encountered with a follower. A Father reached out to me in my DMs, and he said that he had recently lost his wife. He was in the service, and he was now going to be a full time Dad with his two daughters who had the same type of hair texture that I did. He just really needed help and had no idea. He was like “I just really love the message you're sending and the way you're communicating with the followers that you have.” I was just like, wow, this is amazing...regular people are looking for answers and the internet is where they're going, and they're going to these influencers. To even call myself an influencer back then was so crazy because it wasn't as saturated as it is now. So, just the fact that people trusted my advice and guidance was a really big deal. From then on I thought “I really want to do this forever.” Even if it ends up not being my career, I want to be able to help people that don't live close to me, that live all over the world, and spread a message that we're all going through this together; We’re all dealing with it. It doesn't matter who you are, what color you are, where you're from.
Q: What makes you feel empowered—what reminds you of who you are and what you are striving for?
Definitely my friends and my family, they come before anything else. It's been a really rough year, I'm usually very mentally strong and I think this year really did damage. It was hard to continue to work and stay inspired with everything that was going on. My family and my friends definitely keep me going. I feel like it means a lot more when it comes from your family and your friends. When it comes from people that really know you and are there to like lift you up, it just means that much more.
Q: Let’s talk about beauty. What is your makeup story? When did you first start wearing makeup and expressing yourself through beauty?
I was kind of late to the makeup game. I started experimenting little by little in high school. I think it was my senior year where my mom had to force me to wear makeup in my senior pictures. I was like “oh my god, I don't want to wear any makeup, I don’t want my skin to be ruined,” like I was so nervous. But then I started experimenting and it was just fun and cool, what you could look like...Now I can't leave the house without my eyebrows. Freshman year of college, my best friend said ‘you should try this eyebrow pencil, it is amazing.’ She's very simple like me, so when I saw her use it I thought, let me just try…I did it, and after that day I changed. It changed my life.
Q: Let’s talk about clean beauty. Do you have experience trying clean beauty?
I think it's amazing. I think it's great because it's so important nowadays to be cautious of ingredients, and of what you're putting on your skin. I just think it's booming, it's going to be booming and I know everyone is going to be trying to be on the cleaner end because it's better for us.
Q: What beauty product makes you feel most empowered?
It's definitely my lipstick. If I have a really great nude lip...I just feel unstoppable. It’s simple, but I love lipstick and I love experimenting with it, and trying different textures. It's really hard to find a good lipstick so when you do, you just love it and you love it hard.
Q: We are so honored to include you in imayla’s #TheFaceOfBeauty campaign. Can you tell me about your experience on set/your look/your initial thoughts on the products?
I had a great experience! I think everybody that was working on set was really amazing, especially when it came to the makeup artist and even the hairstylist. It's so hard being a woman of color and being on set doing what I do and feeling comfortable. There's been numerous times where I haven't. So just being able to feel comfortable on set and having my hair was done properly, and being styled the way I wanted...it just made me feel that much better. And my makeup was unbelievable. I remember working with the makeup artist, and I told him how I'm very simple and I'm not really into bold colors. He did a smokey purple eye and I was so happy with it! It just inspired me to experiment more with the products, and I just felt really good about it.
Q: What does #EmpoweringIndividualism mean to you? What do you hope to express through this campaign?
The number one thing for me always is expressing your individuality and being comfortable in your own skin. I try to push that as much as I can. It's so important to appreciate who you are, and to embrace who you are because you never know who you're impacting; you never know who you're inspiring. And I think that's something that I live by.
I want women, in general, to just feel comfortable with who they are. To be able to embrace that within makeup. The women that were in this campaign were so inspiring to me...and I think that's what it's all about; When we bond together, we get more done.