Amber Leaux and Prinny Rae launched podcast Her Style Secrets in 2019. Little did they know in 2020 they’d be recording the most unfiltered, honest and raw episode of the podcast’s history to date: They See Us Now.
When cousins Amber Leaux and Prinny Rae launched podcast Her Style Secrets at the end of 2019, they had been blogging as a duo for several years. But they wanted more from the digital world they found themselves in. They wanted to start a fashion and lifestyle podcast that engaged in conversations on both style and current affairs; a podcast that touched on a vast array of meaningful issues faced by young women of their generation; a podcast that allowed them to explore identity, self love, and navigating life. So they did just that.
Nine months later, on 4 June 2020, Amber and Prinny used their platform to publish their most honest episode to date: They See Us Now. The episode is an in-depth exploration of racism in the UK and US, the reaction to George Floyd’s death at the hands of a white police officer and being black and British in 2020.
“During this time I’m really thankful that I have a platform to be able to discuss these things,” Prinny tells Stylist. “We have both been going off on Twitter and Instagram, but sometimes it’s not enough.”
In the hour and nine minute episode, the two cousins talk openly about the rollercoaster of emotions of they had been through that week since the death of George Floyd, the reaction of others (friends, celebrities and brands alike) and how we can all move forward with Black Lives Matter and equality at the forefront of our minds.
Stylist asked the cousins why they started their own podcast, and how it felt to be talking about race at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020. Scroll down to see Amber and Prinny in conversation.
Amber: Prior to launching Her Style Secrets at the end of 2019, Prinny and I had been blogging as a duo for a few years and it felt as though we couldn’t fully get our personalities out there on the platforms we were previously sharing content on.
Our first introduction to blogging happened when we created a website. We wrote about our lives and reviewed beauty and fashion products. Both Prinny and I have huge (and fun) personalities but it was hard to portray all of that through writing a review of our favourite foundation, or a new top we just bought. Then we tried starting our own YouTube channel, which worked for a while but with our busy work schedules it was really time consuming and it was difficult to stay consistent. That’s when the podcast idea came to mind.
With Her Style Secrets we don’t have to worry about editing videos or looking presentable. It is literally just us doing what we do every single day but sharing it with the world. We have such a unique relationship, it’s nice for everyone else to experience that through the podcast; to get in on our private jokes and become part of the HSS family.
We are always told how funny we are as a pair and we just bounce off of each other… if anything we need a reality TV show next.
Prinny: The podcast is literally just a recording of our everyday conversations.
My favourite thing about it is that I get to have fun with my cousin; we keep things real with no filter and people seem to love it. The positivity we’ve felt and received on social media from listeners has truly been amazing.
They See Us Now
Amber: The They See Us Now episode was by far the most unfiltered, honest and raw episode we have ever recorded. We are pretty honest, and authentic anyway but this episode opened up a different type of vulnerability that we have never exposed to the world before.
Everything about that episode felt liberating; we were finally able to open up and talk about racism without feeling scared or cautious.
Prinny: This is a testament to the times, and what I’ve come to realise is that many people are experiencing the same emotion. The movement has further enabled us to talk about racial issues freely and openly without fear of backlash, or that it might be received in the wrong way.
Amber: Recording the episode and having the discussion with each other in a safe space felt like an opportunity to express ourselves and vent. We didn’t realise that our honest and raw opinions would be received as being so educational and informative.
Prinny: It is so unfortunate that we are still living in a time where everyone isn’t seen or treated equally. This in itself is shocking but what has been more shocking is people waking up to this fact like it is something new. It’s been especially interesting to see people in the UK finally accept that this is not just a US issue and the same story is being played out here too. The current global movement should not come as a shock to anyone. After years and years of prejudice, inequality, oppression and not having our voices heard we are now at breaking point. It’s time for us to pull up for change and keep these necessary conversations going and call things out for what they are.
The interesting thing about the current fight is that there are so many different avenues for change and impact to be seen but the most notable conversation has been on the power and influence of black culture and black purchasing power. Many companies have built their success either through exploiting or profiting from black culture yet have failed to appropriately support the culture either through making sure they have a diverse workforce or speaking up on the prevalent injustices. In the fashion industry especially, the amount of cultural appropriation that has taken place over the years is unthinkable. But it’s time for us to stand up for ourselves, and our voices will be heard this time round. Buckle up, the journey has just started.
Amber: Black people are frustrated with their culture being accepted, but not feeling accepted themselves.
Prinny: Given the strength of black purchasing power we have realised that money is our power! It is the responsibility of customers to hold companies accountable by hitting them where it hurts - their pockets. Campaigns such as Pull Up Or Shut Up saw customers boycott beauty brands until they release their diversity employee stats. This also moved into the fashion industry and other brands being called out for their lack of diversity on their instagram feed and campaigns, which is a huge issue.
Amber: Brands opt for super tanned girls with fillers and curves instead of just using a black influencer, it is so frustrating to see. There are so many amazing black content creators, to name a few some of our faves are @Dazhaneleah, @Melissaswardobe and @Grandykat. We deserve to be represented fairly and for little girls (and boys) to have people that look just like them doing amazing things.
Prinny: We shouldn’t just stop at beauty and fashion brands, and we shouldn’t just stop at seeking black people to be hired in these organisations. Everyone across the board should be more conscious with how and where they spend their money and to consider the brands and companies they choose to align themselves with. Given that strength of black purchasing power it is time for us to spend our money in our community and support and build up black businesses.
We want to make sure the narrative continues and we hope to inspire people to not just be outraged and cancel brands momentarily just to forget in a few months time and go back to financially contributing to their success.
The energy everyone has for racial justice and the Black Lives Matter movement is great but we hope this remains consistent when the hype of it all dies down.
Amber: Right now it feels as though everyone is on some kind of adrenaline rush. People are finding out new information, having uncomfortable conversations, changing their spending habits, boycotting companies and brands etc. But there will come a time where information sharing will slow down, conversations won’t be had, and when this happens we can not allow things to go back to the way they were. Generations before us have been fighting the same fight, and it needs to now come to an end.
When the hype dies down, we have to continue calling out friends, family, work colleagues, influencers if they aren’t practising what they have been preaching during this time.
Prinny: What I love about the Her Style Secrets podcast is that we can and will continue to use our platform to keep those conversations going, calling people out, educating those further and supporting our black brothers and sisters, all whilst still being fabulous.
What’s next for Her Style Secrets?
Amber: I think I would want our podcast to become the go-to for fashion updates, news and gossip. I always refer to us as the Match Of The Day of fashion, so I’d like to see the podcast move in that direction. We also want it to become a place that everyday women, like us, can come and find representation.
Prinny: I would love for us to reach a wider audience, build a community of like minded individuals and also to be able to influence and mentor young girls on challenges they may face in the modern world given a lot of our life lessons are not taught in school.
Felicity Thistlethwaite is the executive editor digital at Stylist.