A Closer Look at the Boyd Workshop’s Intern Extraordinaire
By Alan Dang
Alanna Doherty isn’t just the Boyd Workshop’s 2017 intern.
Indeed, Doherty, who graduated in May from Rutgers University with her bachelor’s in Journalism and Media Studies, has served as both a teacher and role model. Indeed, her blog, Alanna Nicole x, is designed to show the world (not just Boyd students), that they can pursue their dreams.
At 22, Doherty, who lives in New Brunswick, has become known for her style, thanks to her blog. More than 66,000 followers look up to her beauty standards, whether for wardrobe choices or hair styling.
Though a New Jersey native, Doherty’s father is British and Ghanaian; her mother is Barbadian. Doherty’s family moved to Barbados just before she turned 5 and today, Doherty still calls the small and quiet island home.
That’s also where Doherty began to develop her fashion sense. As a little girl, Doherty said she would dress up in her mother’s clothes. By 14, Doherty had begun to model.
But, during the next three years, Doherty was told so many times that she needed to lose weight (despite weighing around 100 pounds), that she almost became anorexic.
“The ideal model in Barbados was, just like in America, super skinny,” she told students at the Hugh N. Boyd Journalism Diversity Workshop at Rutgers University.
The pressure to measure up, Doherty said, led her to become ill and end her modeling career.
While she was recovering, she wrote in a journal to document her thoughts. The entries included a reflection on her agents and how their criticism caused her illness. But Doherty said she was determined to pursue her interest in fashion, without sacrificing her health.
“During my recovery process, I wanted to find a way to continue to pursue my interest in fashion, without sacrificing my health,” she said in a story published on the Rutgers’ School of Communication and Information website. “And that is how my blog, Alanna Nicole x, came about.”
Doherty created the Alanna Nicole x blog in April 2015. She earned her initial $200 investment, she said, by working at a local coffee shop.
Although she struggled at first to build her blog, Doherty said marketing strategies learned through one of her courses at Rutgers helped her find success.
She also began to notice trends; for example, when she experimented with posts on Instagram, she realized that posts about her hair gained the most traction.
“I slowly realized that photos focusing on my hair were gaining more traffic than those focused on fashion, so I made sure that I had a good mix of hair photos along with the fashion ones,” she said.
Today, Alanna Nicole x, focuses on Doherty’s standards of beauty and how bloggers propel the fast-fashion revolution. Doherty documents her personal life for her followers, along with a gallery of herself in various outfits. One of her more recent posts this summer featured Doherty on her graduation day sporting a mid-calf tank dress with shiny, silver booties.
And, of course, the blog has a section on curly afro hairstyles.
Said Doherty, “I hope to continue to grow my blog so that I can continue to defy Western beauty standards and inspire other young girls to do the same.”