Local blogger lands writing gig with popular online websites
Newlywed Ianthia Smith didn’t think she would experience anything close to the heart-stopping joy she felt as she exchanged vows with her best friend a few weeks ago. However, the lifestyles, travel and fashion blogger said that feeling was duplicated on Wednesday, when an article that she had submitted to Forbes Travel Guide several months ago, finally appeared on Forbes’ website.
“It’s right up there with just being married,” Smith said, referring to the emotional response she had when her article went live.
“I’ve been wanting to write for this type of publication for some time. So, it was an amazing, amazing feeling.
“I was actually at Kelly’s picking up more wedding gifts when I saw it, and I said, ‘Here goes another wedding gift’,” said Smith, who tied the knot last month.
In addition to securing a freelance writing gig with Forbes Travel Guide, Smith said she recently signed on as a contributing writer for popular website XONecole, a lifestyle brand.
Smith, who transitioned from working as a local news anchor to full-time blogging nearly four years ago, has already contributed to numerous international sites and publications. However, she said writing for one of the world’s most trusted and respected resources in travel and business as well as the highly acclaimed beauty, lifestyle and travel site is a “dream come true”.
Smith said Forbes Travel Guide initially reached out to her in May.
“I randomly got an email one day saying that they needed an on-island writer to tour and write a review of The Cove at Atlantis, and that they’d done some research and decided that I was great for the assignment,” she said.
Smith said she was “absolutely floored” when she read the email, though she initially thought her eyes were playing tricks on her.
“I hadn’t been a reader of their site, nor was I even following them on social media, but whatever work I’d put out in the past, they found it and wanted me on-board.”
Smith said she did the tour and turned in her article two days later. After a few weeks went by, she began to wonder if Forbes still intended to use the piece.
“[I] thought it would go up immediately,” she said. “But May went by, June, July, August. I thought maybe they trashed the story. But I kept checking the website, and yesterday it was there.”
Forbes Travel Guide is regarded as one of the most authoritative and well-known resources for travel and business. Its motto is “We verify luxury”.
While the Forbes assignment seemed happenstance, Smith said in the case of XONecole, it took “sheer perseverance, determination and a mindset to never give up”.
“I had pitched to them at least five times in about two years, but never even got a response; it seemed like my emails were falling into a black hole. It was a Saturday, I was reading their website and decided to put together another pitch; something just told me the timing was right. I sent off the pitch that day and the following Monday I actually got an email back from the managing editor saying they’d love to share one of the stories from my website as well as hire me as a contributing writer. Two days later, on Wednesday, I signed my papers to start my job with XONecole. I was ecstatic.”
Smith has already two published pieces on XONecole.com with more in the pipeline.
“I recently conducted a phone interview with a very popular reality TV star and I’m so excited to get working on that piece and see it published on the site. I’m constantly brainstorming exclusive content to write for them, pitching article topics and sending in work.
“I have waited so long and so patiently to see this day,” she continued. “As a writer, it has always been my mission to take my writing to the world. While I loved working in the local news business as a reporter and then a news anchor, I always had this love for entertainment and lifestyle writing and fought hard to get my name and work in the international spheres.”
The XONecole.com website is a lifestyle resource for the urban millennial woman created and run by American blogger Necole Kane.
The website features pieces on love and relationships, wellness, hair, makeup, skin, finance, career, marriage, travel, celebrity features and more. Smith says while she will cover the gamut of topics, she will focus more on her niches: travel, career and beauty.
The XONecole.com website sees millions of readers each month.
The Bahamian blogger said even with Forbes and XONecole added to her resume, now is not the time to become complacent. She says these two accomplishments are just the beginning.
“I have always dreamed of seeing my byline in Essence, in Ebony, and I wouldn’t mind it if [O The Oprah Magazine] gives me a chance either,” she added.
“Writing is my passion, and it’s always been my goal to see my works in these publications that I grew up on; these publications that taught me about hair, beauty, friendships, money, that brought me closer to my idols. With more hard work I will make these dreams come true.”
She was actually featured in the May 2017 issue of Essence Magazine for her work as a blogger on Instagram. Smith has also published pieces in Sheen Magazine, Caribbean online publication The Coco Mag and the website Ms. Vixen.
Smith won the 2018 Elevation Awards for blogger of the year and was listed among The Bahamas’ 2017 top 40 under 40 influencers.
• Smith can be found on all social media by her handle @iamianthia.