Nicola McLaughlin blogs about fashion as The Sequin Cinderella. She tells the Journal how a devastating time in her life led to an inspiring post.
Nicola McLaughlin was interested in fashion before she could “walk or talk.”
Inspired by the incredible style of both her mother and grandmother, the Buncrana woman would put on fashion shows and “pose around the house as a child.”
As she got older, Nicola’s love for fashion and style never waned.
It was no surprise then that life continued to lead her - in fabulous heels - on that path.
Fast forward a few years and Nicola is now known as ‘The Sequin Cinderella.’
Through her blog of the same name she passes on her knowledge and expertise to her followers, who have now nominated her for another Irish Blog Award.
For Nicola, this honour is made all the more poignant due to the subject matter of the nominated blog post itself.
Titled: “Life will be OK” Nicola speaks of her beloved grandmother’s death and of an extremely difficult time in her life.
She tells how 2014 began with the heartbreaking end of a long-term relationship.
Just when she “started to smile again,” she lost her style icon, role model and one of the most important people in her life.
Nicola blogs how her world came crashing down around her and she felt “totally out of control.”
But she tells how,in time, she chose to “stand up, be strong” and make her grandmother proud. She tells her followers she wrote the post as a message of strength and to show life does get better.
Speaking to the Journal, Nicola described the reaction to the piece as “overwhelming.”
She said: “I struggled a lot at that time in my life and to me, writing is like therapy. It helped me to get my feelings straight in my own head and it was only when I read the post that I realised it had potential to help others.”
She was contacted by people from all over the world, who told her their stories. They said her piece has inspired them to believe life can get better.
“With depression being so rife in society and the majority of people being afraid to talk about it, I wanted to show that it was OK to feel sad and grieve but its also OK to feel better when you feel better,” said Nicola.
“I was so grateful to find out that my readers had nominated me for a blog award and to see that I am doing so well in the voting is incredible. I am honoured that the piece has touched the hearts of so many.”
Nicola told how her grandmother had an incredible style, something she passed down to Nicola’s mother and then Nicola herself.
“So I was born with it in my blood,” she said.
“There is a huge thrill for me in putting an outfit together, even if it isn’t for me. I used to make little paper clothes for my barbie dolls and spend hours sketching looks. I also love trying out new products and have always been, not only experimental, but honest about reviewing them which I think people love to hear. To me, when you feel good you look good and I love that the blog gives me the opportunity to promote this for women. No matter what your bodyshape or budget, you can still feel beautiful.”
Nicola is studying a HND in Fashion and Textiles at Derry’s North West Regional College and has been blogging for two and a half years, winning several awards.
She disclosed she started the blog to showcase her style and influence that of others.
“I have always wanted a career in fashion but was always a bit of a home bird, so his was a way of reaching a world wide audience from my own sitting room,” she said.
“ I always advised people on fashion and style so this was a way of combining it with my love of writing and sharing it with a large audience. I never envisaged it becoming so big, I genuinely believed it would be a fun hobby but it is crazy that it has become a job.”
Through the blog, Nicola has worked with some top fashion brands from high street to high fashion and previewed collections from Louis Vuitton, Hermes, River Island and Boohoo, among others. She won the RSVP/Oasis Irish style Blogger Of The year award last year and sat front row at fashion shows all over Ireland, England and even as far as Marbella.
That’s not all, as she also gets to sample fashion items and beauty products.
Nicola revealed to the Journal how she is currently in the process of putting together her own fashion collection, which she hopes to release as soon as she finishes her studies. She also has a “few secret collaborations” underway, which she is keeping under wraps, but which are “set to be huge” in terms of her career in the fashion industry.
Nicola tries to make her posts as individual as possible as she feels people follow her to see her “unique taste in fashion” and not how she “imitates others.”
She said: “I love inspiring people and would rather do so on my own merit, unless I am purposely showing people how to recreate a look from the red carpet or celeb style.”
With this in mind, she says her greatest style tip for other women is not to wear something simply because its on trend and to “dress for yourself, your shape and style.”
She said: “I am also a huge believer in self confidence. If you want to try a style, go for it. Never let fashion magazines or society tell you that you can’t. If everyone followed the rules we wouldn’t have had some of our fashion greats like Vivienne Westwood or Alexander McQueen. Don’t hide your eccentricities, play on them and use them to your advantage. Also never be afraid to let people dislike you. They will do so regardless of what you do so at least give them something to talk about!”