November 14, 2011

Natural View - Meet Yardley, Editor-in-Chief of The Coil Review

Meet Yardley

It is my pleasure to introduce you to Yardley Messeroux, Editor-in-Chief of the e-magazine, The Coil Review.  In keeping with my anniversary celebration, I thought it appropriate to have some dialogue with someone who has been a big part of my year as a natural hair blogger.  In May of this year, I became a contributing writer to The Coil Review and have enjoyed my time working with Ms. Messeroux immensely.  She has been patient, kind and somewhat of a mentor for me throughout my writing journey.  I am super excited for you to get to know a little bit about her so without further adieu….

The Purpose of The Coil Review…
To beneficially contribute to lifestyles and natural hair journeys around the globe—by keeping women in-the-know and savvy on all things inspired by amazingly fierce natural hair.

I know you have a career outside of The Coil Review, how do you balance wearing so many hats?
I wonder this myself sometimes, but I realized that when you have a passion for something, somehow—some way, you’ll find time to cater to it. My pastor always says you can tell what someone’s priorities are just by how they choose to use their time. I couldn’t agree more. But as a useful takeaway that can be put to practice, ‘To Do’ lists are paramount. Every night before going to sleep, I write down all the things I want to accomplish for the following day, and sometimes I notate the time of day I will put aside to accomplish each item. Organization is very important to stay productive and focused, especially if you lead a busy life.

You have quite an impressive resume.  How has your background (sales, fashion, etc.) contributed to your success with The Coil Review?
Well, thank you Tammy. Throughout my career, I’ve enjoyed jobs in different industries, but the common theme was my area of focus—marketing. So, my background contributed to my understanding of learning your audience and being able to tell a story that resonates through a product—whether that product is a physical item, a person, or a concept. That understanding helped me create The Coil Review. Another invaluable tool that I developed over the years in my career is the ability to work with a variety of personalities. Let’s face it, fashion, music and finance for that matter, don’t always attract the most sane people. So, working in these different environments was like boot camp to prepare for a career where I will be managing different people with different backgrounds around the world through The Coil Review.
I know you cater to a certain demographic.  How do you stay in tune with the needs and interests of your target audience?
I listen. Not much talking, just a whole lot of listening. Reading conversations—Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. By listening, it allows me to pick up on what‘s topical, what the interests, concerns and questions are and what’s “hot right now.”
A Day in the Life of Yardley – I know every day is different so it may not be typical, but for those who are interested in a career as a magazine editor, give us a glimpse.
Sure! Some days there’s much more going on, depending on the projects I’m working on, i.e. events, tech maintenance, videos, etc, but this is a glimpse. 
AM – Check the news for ‘hot topics’/ share something new with Facebook friends and Twitter followers/ answer editor emails/ Give assignments of the week and discuss current projects with interns.
PM – Discuss topics/concepts and due dates with TCR writers/ Provide editor’s edits to writers for the current week/ Develop layout for upcoming issues based on my findings from “listening” as well as other essential factors/ Review and answer requests such as: event announcements to be featured on TCR, panel participation, advertising space, content contribution, model features, product reviews, and more. 
Does one have to be a journalism or English major to pursue this career?
I don’t believe you have to have been a journalism or English major to pursue a career in journalism. I think many people can attest to the fact that what you go to school for is not necessarily what you will end up practicing as a career. Whatever you want to do or want to be is possible. I am an entrepreneur who is a self-made editor, just like the founder of ‘name any company’ was the self-made president of their company when he or she decided to create it. Other than professions such as medicine, law and the like, if you’ve studied your craft, know what you’re doing, have a focus, keep yourself up-to-date, possess unstoppable drive, and keep God a priority, you can do anything.   
What do you look for in a story?  What makes you want to publish an article?
I look for purpose in a story. If I feel like the reader will get something out of the article or be moved by it in some way, I’ll edit and use it. And when I say “moved”, it could be intrigued, informed, happy, inspired, and even in disagreement. Whatever it is, at least there’s movement, which in turn, moves me.
How important has social media been to the success of your magazine?
Very important. To tell you the truth, I put most of my time into the content of TCR versus social media interaction, however, I’ve found it to be very helpful in understanding what people are interested in. Activities on Twitter and Facebook have also increased traffic to The Coil Review which is great because more people are getting a chance to read what my team enjoys creating. I’ve found that social media has also helped me keep our fans and followers up-to-date with what’s going on in the natural hair community and in the know of any and everything inspired by natural hair, i.e. events, celebrity happenings, movies, and other fun topics. 

What is your “Go to” product when it comes to your hair care regimen?
Girl, if I had one I’d tell you. Sometimes I make my own mixes to cater to my hair needs and other times, I pick up something I know works for my hair and scalp at Whole Foods like the product line Jason. I’m a double strand twist gal, so I use Happy Nappy Styles by Blended Beauty. But really, it’s all about what mood I’m in when it comes to what I put in my hair.
What is the thing you love most about your natural hair?
Hmm, that’s a toughie. I love that it doesn’t consume my life. I know that may sound funny because I pretty much talk about hair all day everyday, so how does it not consume my life right? But, it doesn’t. My hair is tame and easy breezy. Not all of the time, but most of the time. I pamper it on wash day, style it, then leave it alone and let it do what it does. My hair cooperates with me as long as I cooperate with it. I’m a no fuss no muss person, so the fact that my hair and I work well together is huge for me. Let’s be real though, there are those days that it just gets out of hand, but you can’t have your way all the time. You have to pick and choose your battles, I always say.
What’s the hugest myth about natural hair that you love to debunk?
Many have been debunked at this point—kudos to the blogs out there that have contributed to that success. But I’d have to say this one still exists and needs to be put to rest: You can go without washing your hair for a long time. I’ve heard this before and I think people believe it. Scalp is skin no matter what type of hair is on top of it, and it needs to stay clean to be healthy. I think it came from back in the day when we were little girls. Because I won’t lie, I did go a good 3-4 weeks without washing my hair. My mom combed and braided it everyday, but washing my hair was such an adventure that it just wasn’t an every 2 week routine. 
I did an article entitled “Is Nappy the New N Word”.  From working with you, I know that you have a disdain or objection about using the words “nappy” or “kinky” to describe our textured tresses.  I know you do not view either as terms of endearment.  Can you share your view?

Words are very powerful, so I want my team to use them on The Coil Review wisely and responsibly. I don’t feel comfortable with using the word “nappy” loosely because of the foundation of its meaning. The word was once used to describe ethnic textured hair of Black women. It was used derogatorily by oppressors to perpetuate the degradation of the oppressed. Times change as it moves forward, but history doesn’t change. In short, nappy was not considered good, so because The Coil Review is in the business of encouraging and uplifting our sisters, I don’t feel the word “nappy” needs to be used; especially when there are beautiful descriptive words that already exist like “coily” and “curly”. To me, “coily” has a better taste in my mouth than “nappy”. Now, to be clear, if my sisters in the Natural Hair Community choose to use the word, I have no problem with that. We all have the gift of choice—and my choice is to not use it. As for the word kinky—that’s just a personal thing I have. To me, kinky means a ‘problem’. “It has too many kinks in it, let’s just start all over.” “Did you get the kinks out so it can finally work?” Again, my personal pet peeve.
I know you have been natural for many years and part of the reason you started the magazine was to provide a much needed voice and a resource for the natural hair community.  While there seems to be a great sense of awareness and celebrating of textures, there also seems to be a huge divide.  You have the “good hair” vs “bad hair”, the people who view type 3 curlies as not “really natural”, etc all taking place within the natural hair family.  I guess I’m saying that while there is progress, the two steps forward, three steps back syndrome seems to have found its way.  How do you feel about the sudden explosion and popularity of natural hair?

I actually don’t think there is a sudden explosion. I thing the interest in natural hair has been brewing for several years now. I think the reason why it seems like an explosion is because of the emergence of social networking and macro blogging. Anyone and everyone have access to tap into and contribute to the Natural Hair Community, which attributes to the rapid growth of the community online. Now, which is pretty awesome, the online proponent has evolved into an in-person dynamic through the growing number of meet ups, conferences and other types of events. So the key word is Access. Lots of it and instantly.  
Speaking of hair types, how do you feel about the hair typing system?
I think it’s helpful when you’re trying to determine if someone is your “hair twin” when looking for maintenance and styling advice. I think it’s harmful when dealing with the ‘good hair’/’bad’ hair’ and ‘natural’/’not really natural’ issues. Not too far from the “brown paper bag” test if you ask me.  I personally can live without it.
In relation to the recently published article in your magazine, written by, yours truly J, on discerning reputable data on the internet, there are series of videos by Type F causing a huge uproar in the natural hair community.  From what I have seen, these videos contain a lot of misinformation which can be damaging to a lot of women who don’t know their hair yet. What is your view on that?

I think mainstream publications and other folks (that don’t know) outside of the Natural Hair Community try their hand at talking the ‘Natural talk’, but should do a lot more research before they attempt to do that. I haven’t read what Type F has been sharing, but I do know that stepping into the Natural Community for at least a week, going through the plethora of sites, blogs, YT channels etc., will get them on the right track. They may not realize how much research and experimentation has already been done, so they’re going with what they know—which honestly, is not enough if they haven’t followed the #1 rule when going natural. “Do Your Research”.
What’s next for The Coil Review?
Right now, the biggest project going on is the next TCR Web Commercial. So excited!
Freestyle: Anything else you would like to share….about hair, the industry or any topic.

Mmm, nope. I think I’m spent! Lol. No really, it was a pleasure answering these questions. I just hope everyone who reads this got to understand me a bit better, but more importantly, understands more about The Coil Review. It’s such a labor of love that has a lot less to do with me than it does the readers of The Coil Review, and I’m going to continue finding ways to make their experience with TCR useful, pleasant and fun throughout the journey.

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