Jana Carrero, aka OJ and Cigs, is a talented and smart blogger located right here in the Magic City. You may have read her take on why Miami is so important to her in the latest issue of Distraction Magazine’s ‘Locals Only’ story. We asked Jana a few more questions about her blog, campus style and post-UM life:
Distraction Online: What made you decide to start a blog?
Jana Carrero: I decided to start a blog as a way to showcase my personal style along with the art, music and everyday musings that inspire me. The blog had to be about expression yet also discovery, capturing images in exciting locations while collaborating with brands and exploring new music to share with everyone.
DO: What advice would you give to someone trying to start his/her own blog?
JC: Do it for the right reasons and stay true to your voice.
DO: Your name is pretty unique. How important, if at all, is the name of a blog?
JC: The name of the blog is pretty important because it’s like naming your child, your labor of love. You have to be confident that it’s a name you won’t ever get tired of.
DO: You started your blog a bit over a year ago yet you have become pretty popular in the Miami blog scene. What characteristics do you think attributed to this success?
JC: People have been responding nicely to not only the looks I style for the shoots, but the photography and locations we shoot as well. Interesting backdrops create a nice flow on the blog and definitely add to each post’s story i.e. Miami Marine Stadium, Wynwood street art, Homestead fields, Naples, Key West, NYC, Puerto Rico….
DO: Have you noticed any ways in which your blog has helped you develop any professional skills?
JC: Definitely! The blog is like business. I pitch to brands, keep connected on social media, and develop and maintain professional relationships on a daily basis. My writing skills have to be on point, and I make sure I stay informed on current events, news, and trends.
DO: You have collaborated with different brands like Blush Boutique and Tart Collections. Do you usually contact the brand or have they reached out to you?
JC: Both. Brands email me for collaborations, and then there are times where I’ll reach out to a brand I am interested in working with and featuring on the blog.
DO: What are a few beauty products you would recommend to our readers?
JC: Red lipstick. Every girl needs a go-to red shade! I can’t live without the NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in “Dragon Girl,” “Red Square,” and “Cruella.” Also bronzer, like Baked Bronzer by Urban Decay, which I’ve been using for years, to help keep a healthy glow all year round. For hair, I highly recommend Moroccan Oil…Just a few drops go a long way to help rehydrate and repair split ends, and any leftovers on the hands I rub on my cuticles!
DO: If you could only wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?
JC: A swimsuit and cut-offs. I love the ocean and am truly a beach bum at heart. When I’m back home in Puerto Rico I’m always at the beach and wear a bathing suit 24/7.
DO: Your boyfriend is usually the photographer for your posts. How has that worked for you?
JC: It’s worked really well! Self-taught in photography, Gil has a radio and TV background and is one of the most creative people I know. I’m proud of him! He motivates me every day, and gets really excited to shoot and find new locations.
DO: How has your upbringing in Puerto Rico and living in Miami affected your personal style?
JC: I love to wear a lot of black and white, but I am also a HUGE fan of crop-tops, floral prints, denim, color blocking, mixing patterns and what I call being laid-back “tropi-chic” – which I attribute to vibrant island living in Puerto Rico and the cultural melting pot that is Miami. Both places have a huge influence on my personal style.
DO: Would you say your style has evolved and matured since your days at UM?
JC: It has definitely progressed. Style is about personality and expression, but throughout the years a lot can change: personal growth, career moves, relocating cities. And that is reflected in how I dress and carry myself.
DO: How has social media helped with your blog?
JC: Social media is absolutely essential and I credit it with being a major catalyst in the blog’s exposure to possible collaborations, brands, other bloggers, and readers.
DO: Do you think students should dress up for school or are you ok with the sweatpants look? Why?
JC: Haha well this is pretty subjective and I am no one to judge, but I’ve never been one to roll out of bed and go to class in my pajamas or sweats. You never know what opportunity might present itself that day or whom you might meet.
DO: As a UM graduate, what advice would you give to our readers who might not know their post-graduation plans yet?
JC: My advice is to be patient. Not everyone has a plan, so take some time to get to know yourself and what really moves you. After studying Motion Pictures and graduating in 2007, I took a year off in Puerto Rico and worked to save money before moving to NYC and attending FIT’s Fashion Styling certificate program. Things change, just ride with the waves!
DO: What has been your most surreal moment as a blogger?
JC: Attending the Independent Fashion Bloggers Conference in NYC February 2013. It was amazing to listen to some of the world’s top bloggers speak on the entrepreneurial opportunities and business of blogging. That was the moment I realized I was seriously passionate about it.
DO: Any final words for our readers?
JC: Thanks for this opportunity. I’m truly proud to be a Miami Hurricane and I hope everyone enjoys OJ AND CIGS!
words_nicole vila. photos_jana carrero.