WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO PURSUE YOUR BLOG?
"My blog was actually a leaving gift from a good friend when we left the States eleven years ago. I wrote it for a couple years as a kind of online diary of our adventures moving the family over to Hong Kong. Then after two years, I switched to Blogger and changed the focus to take it beyond just the things my family was doing. I included more about me as a person and what my interests are."
DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A FEMINIST? IF SO, IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU FIND YOURSELF EMBRACING THIS LABEL?
"Oh absolutely! I don't know how any woman can not be a feminist, really. As a mother, I find the way I embrace this label the most is by the example I set for my children. I have two daughters and a son and I find it equally important to empower my girls to be strong and brave in standing up for what's fair while also teaching my son what it means to respect women and be an advocate for them. I also speak openly about women's rights as a teacher, too. #strongwoman is a label I wear proudly."
WHO HAS BEEN MOST SUPPORTIVE TO YOU AND YOUR WORK?
"My family has been hugely supportive. My parents, in ways that go beyond parental "love everything my child does," have faithfully read my blog, asked about my projects and generally showered me with compliments to fuel me to continue. And my hubby, well, he's patient and supportive and he pushes me to do more than I think I'm capable of and that's a true testament to who he is as a person. I know they say "behind every man is a strong woman," but I also believe behind a strong woman is an emotionally supportive and empowering man. These are the kind of men who are confident enough in their masculinity that they don't need to always be in charge. I've also got great girlfriends who I've met along my blogging journey who are my cheerleaders, and let's face it, we women need our girl squads to motivate us to stay strong, right?"
DO YOU USE YOUR BLOG AS A VOICE FOR CHANGE?
"I do. I don't want to get preachy on my blog, but I do want to be true to myself. I've realized more than ever this year, that much of my experience day to day revolves around the fact that I am a woman. It shapes who I am through how I'm perceived, what's expected of me, what I'm worth, how I'm treated, etc. It shapes how I feel about and react to the news. And, so I've become acutely aware of that, and I've been pushing the limits when it comes to changing other people's perceptions and expectations of women."
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU AND GETS YOUR CREATIVE JUICES FLOWING?
"I'm mostly inspired by other women, but also by art and music. My fellow teachers inspire me with their passion for what they do for kids everyday. I have become a very visual person, so when I see a glimpse of an outfit, or the colors of prints or watch some of the fashion YouTuber channels, I'm inspired to create looks or write about certain topics. I'm inspired by women who embrace their femininity as strength to combat stereotypes and showcase their bad-assery for all to see."
WHAT’S BEEN THE MOST DIFFICULT AND WHAT'S BEEN THE MOST ENJOYABLE THING ABOUT HAVING A BLOG?
"The most enjoyable thing has been the people I've met. There's such a community of creatives that I am a part of now, who really inspire me. People pursuing their passions, taking risks to follow their dreams, whether it be as a designer, an artist, a musician, or a small business owner, etc. I think the most difficult part of having a blog is putting yourself out there for criticism. Everyone's got opinions and people are quite open about expressing them online, and not always in the kindest way. People forget that behind a blog or an Instagram profile is a real person with real feelings."
DO YOU BELIEVE THERE IS A ‘FEMALE BLOGGER’ STEREOTYPE? IF SO, WHAT IS IT AND HOW ARE YOU REBELLING AGAINST IT?
"I think there is a stereotype of women who love fashion and fashion bloggers which is that somehow they're vain or have nothing better to do than think about clothes. I hear people say "it must be nice to have that kind of time to worry about how you look" and I think they believe fashion is a frivolous thing. I love getting dressed and putting together looks, but that doesn't mean I'm not a serious person with insightful opinions and thoughts about the world around me."
WHAT’S BEEN YOUR BIGGEST SUCCESS IN 2017? IT CAN BE BUSINESS OR PERSONAL RELATED.
"I got two new tattoos this year which I have been wanting for a number of years. I worked with two really talented artists here in Hong Kong who helped me take the ideas in my head and translate them into two pieces that I'm really happy with. One is a quill on my tricep done by Jimmy at Ring the Bell. The other is a beautiful portrait of Frida Kahlo on my forearm done by Maria at Freedom Tattoo. I guess these are maybe not successes in the traditional sense, but I'm really proud of them and happy to be in a place in my life where I can have these tattoos."
HOW DO YOU THINK WE CAN HELP REFORM THE BLOGGING COMMUNITY?
"People aren't reading blogs as much as they were several years ago. The blogging world has become saturated, and also I think that we look to images and quick snap shots more and more. No one leaves comments on blog posts like they used to, so it's hard to know who your audience is sometimes...or to feel like what you're writing matters.
I think part of it is because as bloggers, we've lost a sense of genuine voice. Rather than trying to be like everyone else, I'd love to see more original thought and content. That has to start with us, the bloggers. Dare to be yourself, regardless of the likes and follows!"
Norbyah is a fashion blogger who is passionate about vintage and secondhand clothing. As an advocate for the reduction of textile waste, Norbyah inspires us to shop vintage and recycle our clothing! She's not only a fashion blogger but a working mother and wife! Norbyah is an empowering woman who we are so excited to have on our platform. Visit her blog www.imanorbyah.com and follow her on Instagram @imanorbyah!