"The Chosen Ones" Pt. VII - Sharee Burns, Fashion Blogger/Stylist
Sharee Burns is a Phoenix in every sense of the word. No, really. The 25-year-old fashion blogger and stylist is no stranger to life’s thread of setbacks. But in true resurrection-fashion, she manages to come back more self-refined and fabulous – as if that’s even possible since she already is so much of the latter.
As a child, the Charleston native grew up with a mother who wasn’t shy about expressing her disposition surrounding her daughter's weight, “She used to talk about how I’m going to be fat and I literally couldn’t eat any of what I wanted when I was out with her. If I tried to get fries or something, I would get the death stare.” As a first grader, the pressure to meet her mother’s expectations caused Sharee to go as far as doing a 100 crunches a day and even hiding her lunch money on purpose, “I just wish someone would have told me, ‘You don’t have to do that. You’re okay, you don’t have to look like those people.’”
Eventually, she became that person for herself.
In college, she realized her curves were – in fact – more of a blessing than a curse and would serve as the catalyst to her fashion blogging career. Via Instagram and her personal site, rosesareredstyle.com, Sharee is now able to be the representation that her younger self so desperately needed to see, “I was just tired of not seeing girls who didn’t look like me who were fashion bloggers. I just want people to be happy with themselves and not limit themselves by saying, oh, I can’t wear that because I have too much booty or this or whatever.”
After being struck by a house fire that consumed all of her belongings, it was time for yet another shift for Sharee; one that evolved cutting off her 8-year-old locs and coming into the understanding of what she wanted out of her life, “I just looked at it as a way to rebirth myself. The only way I can truly be 100% happy is if I really believe in what I believe in. I just feel like this is my time to do what I want to do for Sharee.”
Aley Arion: You know we go way back in this blogging thing. I’ve witnessed your evolution and it’s been a pleasure to watch. What made you get into blogging in the first place?
Sharee Burns: I just always loved clothes, fashion, and creating looks. I started blogging before Instagram was a thing; all I had was Facebook. So I was like, how can I showcase my looks without being too much on Facebook and how can I attract other people besides the ones I already know. It was my junior year [in college] when I started officially. Then I stopped when I graduated because I became an adult. *laughs* So I was like, what’s next?
How do you feel about the current state of fashion blogging compared to where it was when you first began?
It’s definitely changed a lot, especially with social media becoming such a power tool. Back when I started, things like Tumblr and Instagram weren’t really that popular, it was really just Facebook. Now, you see so many different types of people blogging. I feel like when blogging became a big deal, you would only see this typical, skinny white girl. And now you have plus size and personal color; you have everyone doing it now.
I know everybody thinks that they can dress, but you actually have “style.” What was the moment like when you realized you had something difference with your style?
That’s actually a really good question. I’ve always been into fashion growing up and styling people’s outfits but I also went through that phase in high school where I was all about American Eagle and Hollister. I feel like my style is just starting to form itself so I would say that I just realized it maybe when I was 24, like last year. I started to embrace my fashion, trying out different outfits, and going for pieces that I may have shied away from. I just think it’s getting better as I get older.
Have you ever felt uncomfortable stepping out in a look because you didn’t know who people would receive it?
OMG, yes! Especially on the days when I have to dress cute for my blog. There will be people who just stand there and look, staring in their t-shirts, jeans and flip-flops. And I’m like, ‘Don’t judge me because I’m fabulous, okay?’ *laughs* And I get that a lot in South Carolina. People tend to dress in the same type of style and when they see the slightest difference, you’re automatically deemed as this weird person or showing too much skin. Like for me, I don’t wear bras a lot, like, I’ll only wear one if I have to. So if I’m wearing a bodysuit or something, I can see people starting but I’m like, I don’t really care.
How did you come to love your body and embrace your curves? Did you ever feel like you needed to fit into a certain beauty standard?
Girl, do you have time? *laughs* Growing up, I did not like myself and I’m ashamed to even think about how I used to treated myself before compared to how I treat myself now.
I remember I was writing mean notes to myself or I wouldn’t eat or I would leave my lunch money at home on purpose; it was really bad at one point. I used to hate shopping, I would cry inside of the dressing rooms of Limited Too because I just so desperately wanted to fit into their clothes because I saw my friends who were smaller than me shop there. It was disappointment every time.
Then I went to college and some of my friends were basketball players so I started working out with them. I was losing weight here and there, then I’d gain it all back, then workout some more. I would say that I didn’t start liking myself until I was about 23 when I realized that I was never going to be skinny, I was never going to lose my curves. So I might as well go ahead and embrace it and flaunt it.
What would your advice be to a young woman who is having confidence issues when it comes to her self-image?
I would tell her to not fall into anything she sees in the media because most of it is fake. A lot of things are very airbrushed and commercialized. I would tell her to look at herself every day in the mirror and say one thing she likes about herself. I would do it night and day. Even if she has to stick sticky notes and mantras on her mirror, I would tell her to say those things and make sure she looks herself in the eyes when she does.
I didn’t used to believe in mantras. I used to be like, how am I supposed to look at myself and say these things when I don’t even feel it inside. So one day I was like, let me just try this because I was feeling really sh*tty about myself. And I know everyone has those days as well; it’s okay to have those days. But when you cry, you have to pick yourself back up and remind yourself that you’re a bad b*tch. Because that’s what I tell myself all the time, whenever I feel like sh*t. I’m like, “I’m a bad b*tch”
You have a segment (and new account) called IT GIRL where you highlights the diversity of style through fashionable women. Why is it important for you to share and uplift other women on your platform?
It’s important because I want other women to support me and uplift me on my bad days. It’s just always nice to know that people notice what you’re doing. I just feel like women should support one another. Some women can be catty sometimes and others won’t want to support you.
Some women – and I hate to say this –but they have this “local mindset” where they’re so quick to call you a slut or a hoe and I’m like, why? What did I do to you? Why does what I’m wearing affect you? I’m not coming into your bank account, I don’t want your man, like, I just don’t get it. I think women are awesome and beautiful. We can’t wait on a man to tell us because they’re not gonna do it. They’ll leave us in the dust. Like, we have to look out for another.
“Local mindset.” That’s interesting that you bring that up, could you expand on what this means a little more?
This is going to sound so horrible, but a “Local Mindset” is for those people who have the same mindset all their life. They don’t want anything to change, they don’t want anyone to rise up and they just have these traditional values to themselves. Which is okay, that’s nice. But how someone else is or how someone else dresses shouldn’t affect you. My whole thing is if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all.
Like, whenever I see someone from Charleston who’s doing something, I like, OMG! I be so proud of them. I just be so happy because you just want to see people living out their lives, you don’t want people just settling in life; I don’t think that’s fun. *laughs* Whenever you see someone do something good, you want to be proud of them.
What do you think we could do as creatives to really put South Carolina on the map?
I think as long as people continue to collaborate together and do events together we can definitely do it. It’s not hard to do, especially in this day in age, with the youth who are actually taking initiative, we can actually do it. There’s nothing that can stop us.
For more information on Sharee Burns and her endeavors: check out her blog, rosesareredstyle.com and follow her everywhere per the links below! Leave a comment and show some love for fashion and Black Girl Magic! And don't forget to get connected to her newest platform, The It Girlz!
Photo Credit: Tahirah Jackson
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.