( ENSPIRE She Did That ) Okonkwo Goes From Homelessness to Fortune 50 Company Clientele
ENSPIRE Contributor: Gabrielle Maya
LA-based lifestyle content creator Ursulline Okonkwo is changing the game, bringing social change, and empowering young women of color. When searching for ways to live your best life, try new things, explore, and broaden your horizons, content creators are what we rely on to get ideas. Okonkwo’s brand focuses on beauty, wellness, pop culture, and social change. She is reshaping how we view lifestyle content by intersecting her influence and advocacy with her brand. In 2011, she arrived in LA with only $300; now, she inspires and raises awareness for causes and educates.
It began with being in pageant competitions, and when she left the glitz and glam behind, she wanted to pursue another journey. She began learning technology sales, but she slept in her car during the post-graduation recession. Slowly but surely, Okonkwo discovered her interest in entertainment and TV hosting. Finding an opportunity with Fortune 50 Companies, she had the opportunities to work with Meta, The Walt Disney Company, and Warner Brothers.
Ursulline Okonkwo tells us about her pageant days before branching into entertainment corporation and content creation, her content platform Ursulline TV and what makes it stand out, the causes she supports, the challenges of being an influencer today, and more.
Tell us about your pageant days and why you retired and branched out into content creating and entertainment corp.
My pageant days were really rewarding.
Many people are not aware that within the Miss America Organization anything that a Miss books, she books herself. The efforts are through her network of contacts:
The experience was building the foundation for how I now approach my content creation as a solopreneur; and as a business. I work with some pretty incredible brands now and the bedrock of that is knowledge of the industry as a former Meta creative, creating engaging content and letting my social media be my social proof.
It then elicits the ability to:
So my journey doing pageants had a natural branch off into content creation and entertainment because the groundwork established helped me navigate the many no’s, establish a strategy on how to highlight areas that are natural extensions of what I love to talk about and promote them to brands and organizations that I love and want to work with.
What does Ursulline TV offer other influencers may not and how does that make you stand out
My personal ethos is that: it’s important to be informed but not necessarily inundated.
Thus, I have chosen to be a creator who focuses on sharing lifestyle brands I love and experiences whilst sharing socially aware topics, issues, and realities.
Activating thought-provoking perspectives and ways people can get educated will always be important to me especially as I shape out the future of my content creation work. Working on TV as a pop culture host on a panel and sharing my POV and perspective on hot-topic issues will always be the north star no matter what I’m doing during my journey towards that goal.
What causes are you currently raising awareness of on your platform and dive into their importance.
Gun reform and safety for children. As of August 2023, guns are the #1 cause of death for children. I am partnering with an incredible organization at the moment called Here 4 the Kids to help them raise awareness of efforts to resolve gun reform. Promoting their efforts as a content creator even if it’s one reel, one post has immense power as opposed to saying nothing at all.
What were the challenges in the content creation scene for women of color and what advice would you give to young women of color who want to start the influencer game, what are some dos and don’ts on the matter and why?
Forming relationships with the right PR folks who know of some of these opportunities would be the first biggest challenge when it comes to content creation. The second would be the best way to visually formulate your content to where it is attractive to your prospective brands.
As the content creation space continues to increase as a multi-billion dollar industry and the landscape of creators increases some dos and don’ts on how to navigate from my corporate and content creation experience would be:
- DO Get coaching! Content creation is not easy and if someone wants to turn this into a business having a team helping you in areas that are not necessarily natural extensions for you will be the biggest hurdle. How to send a pitch email, how to respond to land the opportunities that turnaround 5 figure numbers so then your deliverables are more than just rate sheets but are actual partnerships where you’re providing them a portfolio of work to work with.
- DO Find out the pillars that are natural extensions of you that you can talk about easily and then use those pillars to EDUCATE | ENTERTAIN | INSPIRE
- DO Find a community of creators that you can bounce questions off of, collaborate on posts, share in opportunities that you see that could work for another creator, and overall commiserate over the highs and lows of content creation. Community is a big piece in being successful in this industry
DON’T create content with low-quality video/audio/messaging remember that whichever platform you choose to expand on is your social proof and should be a good visual representation of your brand.
DON’T pigeonhole your content creation skills. As a content creator diversifying this space means you see the opportunity to scale this business from some common areas, monetizing your audience, monetizing your knowledge in the space, and of course working with brands and landing those opportunities. These of course take time but not pigeonholing your creativity will give you more leverage as an expert but also the opportunity to withstand any potential volatility as the industry changes.
DON’T compare your work to others. There are successful creators with less than 10K followers and creators not making a dime at 100K plus. Comparison is the thief of joy. If you focus on a strategy and commit to it whether you invest in areas to help that strategy take off, stay focused on your goals and your race, and work with a coach or expert to tailor your goals to help you achieve what you set out to want as a content creator.
In what ways are you planning to expand your career in influencing?
TV Hosting. My dream has always been to work on TV as a pop culture and news host. Working on a TV show where I get to share my opinion on the latest trends, interview interesting figures in pop culture and just wake up and get to do something that I love which is TALK on TV all day has been my dream and passion and I’ve studied professionally as a host when I first moved to Los Angeles.
Content Creation has simply been the evolution of the online host and diversifying the elements of a host into different areas, product promotion, podcasting, public speaking, strategic coaching, etc etc.
I’m excited to continue on my content creation journey and solopreneur ventures and all that is bound to unfold.
A former corporate creative and now a content creator, her story empowers young women giving them hope and showing her resilience in getting to where she is today. Okonkwo is navigating the influencer space and uses her content creation to be insightful about this industry’s representation. Her charisma and passion for pop culture and social change make her unique. She also created a YouTube series called “Celebs That Give A Bleep,” which featured bite-sized segments of celebrities making meaningful contributions to the world. Part of her lifestyle content focused on must tries including ones in her city. Must haves and must-tries are part of her content within her city and beyond
Follow Ursulline Okonkwo on Instagram for more updates and information on her work and content.