Intelligent, passionate, and beautiful on the inside and out: An Interview with Hannah Anisa

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[Featured image by Jennifer Baquing]

As a participant and observer of the blogging world for the past three years now, it’s hard to find genuine bloggers that don’t just share pretty photos or outfit details, or that eventually get sponsored to promote ads/brands and get sucked up in all the consumerism, but those bloggers that also find a balance and help discuss more important world issues. Bay area blogger, Hannah Anisa, is one of them.

When I first met Hannah, I was immediately drawn to her sweet and intelligent demeanor. She has the cutest laugh, and she is both beautiful on the inside as well as the outside. I would later learn that she isn’t just a sweetheart, but is fearless and not afraid to use her voice. Although I’ve only met her once in the Spring of this year thanks to the wonderful Jennifer Baquing (@shelovesdresses), we’ve luckily been able to keep in contact via social media ever since, and my admiration and awe for her only grows more and more. She also has a killer fashion sense! As a young millennial, she is very mature for her age, and is extremely determined and passionate about what she does, attributes I once admittedly lacked when I was the same age. Hannah stands out from the crowd. It’s young people like Hannah that give me hope for our future generation. Women like her already finding their voices and using their platforms to help spread social and political awareness is exactly what this world needs more of. No matter how old you are, anyone can learn a thing or two from this beautiful lady! I was so happy to finally be able to interview her! Keep reading to read my interview with her below.

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Photo by Nathalie Bize
My Interview with Hannah

[Interview conducted via email]

Me: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you and what would you like us to know?

 

Hannah: My name is Hannah (not Hannah like Hannah Montana, but han-uh, like Han Solo) and I’m the editor of theroadtohannah.com , a style blog and collective media outlet, sharing works from myself as well as other millennials, across fashion, beauty, and lifestyle.

What inspired you to start blogging, and when did you start The Road to Hannah?

 

I’ve wanted to be a blogger since I was in middle school.  About 6 years ago, my aunt, knowing I had a passionate love for fashion, showed me Julie Sarinana’s blog, sincerelyjules.com.  I fell completely in love with it, and couldn’t believe someone was making a living by posting their outfits and traveling the world! I was hooked, and knew right then and there that I wanted to be a blogger.  But, I knew I had to do some serious growing up first, so I waited until January 2016 to found The Road to Hannah.

 

Don’t let anyone or anything stop you, because it’s those who are relentless that succeed.

As a young millennial, what are some of the biggest challenges you’re facing right now, and what advice would you give to other young people trying to pursue their dreams?

 

I’m going to break the rules here a bit.  I think there are two challenges that are equally as difficult.  The first would probably be not being taken seriously.  Millennials have this reputation of being lazy, unmotivated, and unwilling to work, which I feel is such a detrimental generalization.  Yes, a lot of millennials fit that bit, but a lot don’t, and it can be hard to be lumped in that category when you don’t fit in with that group.  The second, would be standing out in such a saturated market.  We are the generation of digital creatives, and it can be hard to stand out from the rest.  But, my advice would be to find what you’re best at and run with it.  Don’t let anyone or anything stop you, because it’s those who are relentless that succeed. While in no way do I feel like I’ve reached “success”, nor do I really feel qualified to be giving advice *laughs* I like to believe that being relentless in your journey can and will lead to eventual success.

 

I’ve always admired how poised and chic your style is! What are your go-to wardrobe staples and some of your favorite looks?

 

My wardrobe staples would have to be my high-waisted Topshop jeans, some black booties, a polished, collared top, a chunky men’s sweater, leather pants, and of course, an LBD.  I practically live in LBDs, they’re definitely my favorite item of clothing!

 

My favorite look would have to be an LBD with some statement booties, like my blue velvet Steve Madden ones, which are my favorite shoes right now!

When reading your blog posts or vignette’s you’ve shared, there is much passion and intellect behind it all, and you are so socially aware. What is one of the most important aspects of writing that you feel really helps create an impact on your audience?

 

Thank you so much! It’s hard to narrow it down to just one aspect, but I think the thing that, for me, has really helped me grasp the attention of my audience is vulnerability.  When I would hold back in my writing, those pieces generally aren’t as well-received as the pieces where I really allowed myself to be vulnerable and open and completely honest.  Not sure if that makes sense, but I feel that the most important aspect of writing is to allow yourself to be 100% honest, open, and vulnerable, and let that vulnerability drive the story.

 

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Photo by Jessica Knai

Describe a day in the life of Hannah!

 

Oh man, okay! My days are pretty crazy as of lately.  Usually I wake up between 6:30 and 7:00, get ready, and work on some last minute homework (oops!). I’m a full-time college student, so the workload can definitely get hefty at times.  Then I go to class for a couple of hours, come home, make lunch, and catch up on emails, Instagram comments, Dms (yes, I do check my Dms), etc.  This is one of my favorite parts of the day because I get to just chill for a moment and interact with my followers, which is one of my favorite things! I might squeeze some homework in or work on the blog a bit, but usually there isn’t a ton of time.  Then, I go pick up my sister from school, and I’ll usually get work done in the car while I’m waiting for her.  After I pick her up, we might go snap a quick outfit photo, before rushing home.  I’ll drop her off, run inside for a minute to grab a snack, and then head off to work.  I’ll work for a few hours, then come home, eat dinner, and get the bulk of my homework done.  If it’s not too late, I’ll try to squeeze a blog post in, but usually I save all my blog writing for the weekends.

As a blogger from the Bay area, do you see it as your home forever, or would you want to travel or move somewhere else in the future, and if so, where to?

 

One of my dreams is to travel the world, so as soon as I’m done with school, I’m sure I’ll be traveling lots! I want to go everywhere and see everything.  I also have a little dream of living in Japan for a few years- I’ve always been obsessed with Japanese culture, style, and food since I was little, and I’ve been dying to go there. I think spending a year or two there would be such a fun adventure!  But, the Bay Area is my home, and I’m an East Bay girl at heart, so I definitely see myself spending the majority of my life living here.  Probably in the Berkeley/Oakland area, as that’s my favorite part of the Bay.

You are extremely positive and uplifting, but also not afraid to use your voice and help spread political and social awareness. As a WOC blogger, what are some challenges you’ve faced and how have you overcome them?

 

Oh, thank you so much! Being a WOC, let alone such an outspoken WOC, isn’t easy, especially in the blogging world.  For lack of a better term, it’s a whitewashed community, and there’s a very apparent diversity shortage. I’m brown, I’m Indian, and I’m 5 ft. tall.  I don’t look like your typical model or blogger, and sure, it can be difficult to put yourself out there with a blatantly different look and subject yourself to criticism, but I’m a firm believer that nothing worth having comes easy.  And, if I’m not going to go out and try to break the status quo, then who is? I’d rather be criticized for doing what I love than hold myself back for fear of upsetting strangers on the internet.

 

…not many bloggers use their extremely large followings to promote important social and political issues.  A few do, and it’s incredible to see how they inspire others! But many don’t, and it’s just unfortunate.  I want to see a shift in the blogging world, one where bloggers can talk about their cute shoes AND talk about what’s going on at Standing Rock.
And the same goes for spreading political and social awareness.  Not everyone will like it and that’s okay.  I try to be careful with my words and not directly bash anyone, but of course people are going to get upset with anything remotely controversial.  I’m very lucky to have a platform that is continuing to grow, and with that, I want to use my voice to promote ideas and issues that are—sorry—more important than fashion.  It just feels morally wrong for me to be posting a picture of me smiling with a cheesy caption when people are dying, for example.

 

I guess, to answer your question, the main challenges would be coping with the lack of diversity within the field, and the juxtaposition between social standing and platform presence.  What I mean by that last part, is: not many bloggers use their extremely large followings to promote important social and political issues.  A few do, and it’s incredible to see how they inspire others! But many don’t, and it’s just unfortunate.  I want to see a shift in the blogging world, one where bloggers can talk about their cute shoes AND talk about what’s going on at Standing Rock.  One where WOC are better represented in the larger blogging scene, and are nabbing those big brand deals and ad campaigns.  We’ve come a long way, but we still have far to go.  And my hope is that, somewhere, some young WOC may see me, see my platform, and be inspired to follow their dreams and stand up for what the believe in.  That it could start a chain reaction, and create a new generation of outspoken WOC bloggers.  That would be the ultimate dream, but right now, I’m just taking it one step at a time.

I see you’re an avid reader! That’s wonderful! I know it’s hard to choose just one, so what are some of your favorite books and what genre’s do you usually prefer?

 

Ooh, I love this question! My favorite book, hands-down, is Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare.  It’s been my favorite since I was a sophomore in high school, and I still love it.  I also love the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi and Simon Vs. the Homosapien’s Agenda by Becky Albertalli.  Oh, and I’m a huuuuuuge Harry Potter nerd.  It’s probably evident by my picks, but I’m a sucker for a good Dystopian or Fantasy Novel.

I think I remember you mentioning once how you were working on a YA novel. Are you currently still working on it or is it finished? And if so, would you be able to share what it’s about?
Yes! I’ve actually written 4 novels, and I’m planning on starting work on a 5th soon.  Right now, I’ve been so busy with school and my blog that I’ve barely had time to write, but I hope to get back into the novel writing soon.  I don’t want to say too much about my current work, since it’s still in the baby stages, but I’m working on a Contemporary YA that’s centered around the modern feminist movement, and I’m totally stoked about it.  I think it could be something really cool, if I can find the time to write more than just five pages at a time.  😉
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Photo by Nathalie Bize
Hannah is simply inspiring and I see so much growth and progress in her future. Honest, open, and passionate for what she does—she is a wonderful person—and I cannot wait to see what else she brings forth in the upcoming year!
Don’t forget to follow and find Hannah on social media with the links below!
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