Karla Borders Pope: Founder and Editor of Brown Girl Gumbo

Karla Borders Pope is proving that a blog doesn’t have to be just one thing—it can be a mix of all the things the writer enjoys, as long as it’s written in an entertaining and consistent manner. Her blog, Brown Girl Gumbo, features daily beauty, hair, style, celebrity and lifestyle posts in a creative and relatable voice.

In 3 to 4 sentences, please tell us about yourself and your blog.
I’m a 35-year-old mom of two living in Brooklyn. I moved to NYC from Chicago over a decade ago to pursue my passion for magazine writing/journalism. I was inspired to start my blog after working at People and Parade magazines. I simply wanted to write about the things that I wish I could at my 9 to 5 job.   Brown Girl Gumbo is a mix of all the things I enjoy: style, beauty, books, being a mom and more!

What separates Brown Girl Gumbo from other blogs?
When I first started my blog back in 2007, it was one of the first lifestyle blogs that was dedicated to a variety of things, as opposed to being strictly a beauty, gossip or fashion blog.

What has been your proudest blogging moment to date? 
My proudest moment, hmm…that’s a tough one. I guess it would be when readers have told me that my blog was one of the first sites to inspire them to start their own.

What are a few of the often-overlooked pitfalls of blogging? What are some of the rewards?
One of the main pitfalls of blogging is inconsistency. When you’re inconsistent you lose your readers’ trust. When they can’t rely on you to have a post day-to-day they will eventually go elsewhere. Unfortunately, I’ve learned that the hard way once throughout my blogging years. I’ve lost many readers when I didn’t update as much when I was sick and pregnant. Another pitfall is the curse of comparison. While it’s good to learn from similar blogs, it’s important not to get too consumed with what others are doing and comparing your success to theirs. It’s a waste of time because you don’t know their journey. 

Let's talk style and beauty. If you had 2 hours to pick out an outfit from head to toe, where would you shop and why?
My focus on style has changed considerably since having children. I’m way more into comfort than I used to be prior to becoming a mom. I know that beauty is pain, but I don’t swear by that motto anymore! Anyway, I would probably shop at TJ Maxx. I really enjoy the hunt for a gem. They have great accessories and pretty decent shoes too! I prefer purchasing items that aren’t easily identifiable by a certain store or brand.


Please describe your hair care routine and tell us your favorite way to style it for summer. 
My hair care routine is pretty simple. I alternate between using Dove’s Quench Absolute system and Motions products. Both are great for my thick, coarse natural hair. I also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Curls Blueberry Control Paste for my edges. My ideal way to wear it for summer is in a high pineapple style. I twist it with setting lotion, let it air dry overnight and put it into a pineapple.

Do you have a Sunday night or weekend beauty ritual? If yes, share it with us. 
Yes, I do an entire skin care routine. I exfoliate with my Mia Clarisonic cleansing brush and follow-up with Olay Regenerist Luminous Overnight Mask.

What cosmetic ingredients do you avoid in your beauty and/or hair care products and why?
I avoid sulfates in shampoos because they dry out my hair.

What's next for Brown Girl Gumbo?
By the end of the year, I’m going to do another site redesign and implement a new social media strategy to increase my social media following. I am trying to get in a routine of posting and being more active on all of my social media platforms.

What 3 products are in your Ultimate Beauty Arsenal--those Holy Grail items you can't live without?
Here are my top 3 beauty MUST-HAVES: Olay Regenerist Luminous Overnight Mask, Dermablend concealer and Maybelline Eye Studio Master Precise Liquid Eyeliner.

Keep up with Karla and Brown Girl Gumbo at BrownGirlGumbo.com, and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.