“You have to believe you are called to something; If you are called to it and you believe it and pursue it, it will happen” With Ming Zhao & Funmi Fetto

I think you always have to ask yourself, Am I called to this? And if I don’t pursue this dream, will I look back at my life and regret it? That should give you your answer. You have to believe you are called to something. If you are called to it and you believe it […]

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I think you always have to ask yourself, Am I called to this? And if I don’t pursue this dream, will I look back at my life and regret it? That should give you your answer. You have to believe you are called to something. If you are called to it and you believe it and pursue it, it will happen.

Asa part of our series about “Social Media Influencers Share Their Top Self Care, Wellness, and Beauty Tips, I had the pleasure of interviewing Funmi Fetto.

Funmi Fetto, is a Contributing Editor at British Vogue under the editorship of Edward Enninful, a Beauty Director and Columnist at The Observer Newspaper and the former Executive Editor and Beauty Director at British Glamour. She has spoken on various radio, television and live events on issues across beauty, fashion, identity, race, inclusivity/diversity, and journalism. She has over 15 years of experience as a fashion and beauty journalist and brand consultant. Her best selling book, PALETTE, The beauty bible for Women of color, is published by Hodder and Stoughton.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory of how you came upon this career path and to where you are today?

I’ve had an interesting journey into journalism which I hope will be inspiring to everyone who starts out not knowing exactly what they want to do with their life because that person was me! I studied Accounting and Finance at University. I am very interested

in the world of business and finance but if I’m really honest I only actually did this degree because I wanted to impress my dad and family. Prior to this, I had dropped out of my A-Levels as I was pregnant at 17 and had my first child at 18 and ended up as a single parent. I felt I let my parents and family down. And so when I went back to study a couple of years later, I purposely took up ‘hard’ subjects as I felt this was one way of going back up in everyone’s estimation! I worked in the corporate field from a few years after graduation but to be honest I felt like a fish out of water. I was a Part Qualified Accountant who couldn’t get her balance sheets to balance. I felt like such a fraud. From a very young age, I loved words and I loved fashion but I never considered any of these paths as a potential career option — my parents, very typical African parents had very set ideas about what proper jobs were — Accountant, Engineer, Doctor, Lawyer, etc. My flighty pastimes, they would have argued, was not going to put food on my table. Anyway one day, I remember walking into work dressed in an asymmetrical dress and purple snakeskin cowboy boots. And, surrounded by a sea of corporate suits, I thought, What on Earth am I doing here?’. It was then that I called up Elle Magazine – I had nothing to lose — and said I would love to work for them. They invited me for an interview and straight away offered me a 6-month internship in the fashion department. I quit my job and that was the start of my career in media.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

There are so many people who have helped me — knowingly or unknowingly along the way. My sister was so incredibly supportive right from the start — even when everyone else thought I was crazy for leaving a well-paid job for an internship and no real job security.

And I was a single parent! She completely believed in me pursuing my dream. My entire family also was supportive in many practical ways — picking up my daughter from school, enabling me to move back home when I was a junior freelancer in between jobs could no longer afford my rent, etc. And my father is incredible, he has always instilled the ‘Nothing is Impossible’ mantra in me. He continues to support and champion me.

In terms of shaping and influencing the way I work, I have had some pretty inspirational bosses. I was a fashion assistant and writer at Harper’s Bazaar and my boss, the fashion director there, Margherita Gardella was so incredible, so eclectic and off the way and she taught me the importance of thinking outside the box, widening my points of references and never believing in ‘can’t’. Alexandra Shulman is another boss that I picked up some of my ways of working from — not just her standard of journalism but also her incredible decisiveness — no was no, yes was yes and she didn’t waiver from pillar to post. That sounds like a small thing but I think it is an invaluable leadership trait that I try to adopt at work. And then, of course, my current boss Edward Enninful.

Where do I begin? He is such an incredible visionary and has been SO generous, supportive and kind towards me and has opened so many incredible doors and windows of opportunity to me. Working with him is truly an honor. There are bosses that give you a job and then there are those who give you a job and a voice, he is absolutely the latter. Anyone who gets to work with a boss that inspires them should never take it for granted, it is a rare thing.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

Oh gosh, there have been a few. They were not humorous at the time. I once sent an email to a friend and colleague cheekily criticizing the wife of a jewelry designer. It was only when I received an email back that I realized I had sent it to the designers PR and NOT my friend. I was utterly mortified. It taught me never to put something in an email that you couldn’t happily say to someone’s face.

As an influencer, you have been blessed with great success in a career path that many have attempted, but eventually gave up on. In fact perhaps most people who tried to follow a career path like yours did not succeed. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path but know that their dreams might be dashed?

I think you always have to ask yourself, Am I called to this? And if I don’t pursue this dream, will I look back at my life and regret it? That should give you your answer. You have to believe you are called to something. If you are called to it and you believe it and pursue it, it will happen.

Can you share with our readers some of your strategies you’ve used to build an engaged, loyal, and large online community?

I don’t really think of it as ‘strategies’ I stay true to myself. I always say people will always respond to authenticity. I would like to think I am authentic. I am always offered a lot of money from brands to do various things on my social platform …. I say no quite a lot. I cannot stray from who I am for financial gain. I wouldn’t sleep well at night. So I just try to be me.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview. In my work, I focus on how one can thrive and care for oneself in three areas: body, mind, and heart.

You are a busy person with a demanding schedule, can you share with our readers two self care routines, practices or treatments that help your body thrive? (Kindly share a story or an example for each.)

I love to walk. I really do. It really makes me feel alive — I would walk everywhere if I could. I also love facials. That is my thing. I’m someone who really struggled with my skin growing up so having the opportunity to have treatments that could make my skin sing is just a dream. I don’t like facials that use ambiguous words such as revitalizing, refreshing or whatever. For me, it’s all about results — so deep cleansing, pore extractions, steams and the like. I need to leave that space with incredible skin. I was never a fan of facials before — I had so many bad experiences with people and brands that had no idea how to deal with black skin — but then many years ago I had a 2-hour treatment with Eve Lom and it literally changed my skin and changed my perspective.

I was able to walk back into work make up free and completely confident in that state. In the past, that would have NEVER happened.

Can you share with us two routines that you use to help your mind or heart to thrive? (Kindly share a story or example for each.)

I start each day with prayer. I like to say I wake, pray and slay. My Christian faith is my coping mechanism for life and everything it throws at you.

Is there a particular resource, a practitioner, expert, book, or podcast that made a significant impact on you and helped you to thrive? Can you share a story about that with us?

Oh, I love Joyce Meyer. She is a woman that had a very very traumatic childhood and past and she has been able to thrive in the face of that adversity. I love listening to her podcast. She is straight-talking and no-nonsense and also very funny. If I’m low and

I listen to her, it reminds me to stop feeling sorry for myself, pick myself off the ground and plough on with life.

As an influencer, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

Well, two things. If I could change the world view so that people of color are treated equally and with dignity in all areas of life and also effect change to eliminate poverty in the lives of billions, my life’s work would be done.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂

Michelle Obama and Melinda Gates because they are so sincere about effecting change. I feel that should be the ultimate purpose of all of us in whatever sphere of life we are in. We should all be asking ourselves, how am I effecting change in my world? It’s a question I ask every day.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?


Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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