#SMASHTESSFAM FEATURE - LILY YANGE
MEET LILY YANGE, FASHION & LIFESTYLE CONTENT CREATOR AND MODEL
Lily Yange (@lilyyange) is a content creator and fulltime mom, who’s paving the way for more diversity and inclusion, which is definitely something S+T admires about her and is all about! Her blogging career began four years ago, when she wanted to inspire other new moms and create a safe space to talk about the realities of motherhood. When her son, Felix, settled into a routine, Lily felt as though she was losing herself so she began her journey back into modeling. With a passion for fashion and creating unique content, she wanted everyone who may feel different to realize that they, too, are beautiful and capable of making their dreams come true.
Lily was born to her South Sudanese mother in Uganda and was forced to move to a refugee camp when her mother passed away. At the age of 10, Lily and her siblings moved to Canada and settled in to Scarborough, Ontario. She has since modelled for Sephora and has been featured in Voque Italia, Elle Magazine and In Style Magazine.
A surreal moment for Lily was when she saw herself on a billboard in Toronto’s famous Yonge-Dundas Square for Sephora Canada. That’s when she knew she felt like she had finally made a difference! We couldn’t wait to learn more about Lily:
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR CAREER OR BRAND?
The inspiration for my brand came from the little girl in me who wanted to see more people who looked like I did. As social media gained popularity and influencers became a thing, I started realizing there was a lack of diversity and inclusion. I want my son to look at me one day and say, “mom, you really changed the game”.
BEST PIECE OF ADVICE THAT’S SHAPED YOUR JOURNEY?
My friend, Shannae Smith @torontoshay gave me one of the best pieces of advice that helped shape my career. That advice was to invest in myself and my journey. Whether that’s hiring better photographers or flying out to get inspiration. It’s all worth it, if it’s an investment in yourself.
ONE TIP FOR BUILDING YOUR OWN BRAND?
Stay authentic. It’s as simple as that. You have to believe in what you are doing. Everyone has a style, and you need to figure out yours and stay true to that. Follow and believe in your goals. Be passionate about what you do, what you create, and what you put out there.
WHAT DOES YOUR ULTIMATE SUNDAY CONSIST OF?
My ultimate Sunday consists of binging Netflix with my family and not getting out of bed. I really like to use my weekends to relax and chill with my family. Most of the time I don’t even like being on social media, shocking right?
Lily in the Sesame Street Monster Romper
FAVE PLACE TO ROCK YOUR ROMPER?
Airports! My Rompers are so comfy and perfect for relaxing on a flight. Also, pick-ups and drop-offs with my son, Felix. Every single mom knows what I’m wearing.
CURRENT NETFLIX BINGE?
I thought I would never watch this show, but “You”. I binged the whole first season in one night. I also love watching stand-up comedy. I think I’ve watched all of them.
WHO INSPIRES YOU?
There are so many women who inspire me, but I will have to say, my sister Christine. She’s sacrificed so much to give my siblings and I a better life. Everything that I do is to make her proud, and I’m hoping one day to give her a better life. When our mom passed away, she was the one that took care of my siblings and I in the refugee camp. She guided us the best way she could, and that’s why everything I do is to make her proud.
Another woman who inspires me is Alek WeK, who was the first dark skin model that I saw when I moved to Canada. I was and still am forever inspired by her resilience and work ethic. Her being the only South Sudanese model at the time was super big for me. It made me believe that anything I put my heart and soul into, I can achieve. Back in elementary school, when I was bullied about my complexion, I held her photos close to remind myself of who I am and to be proud.
DESERT ISLAND BEAUTY PRODUCT?
Volume ON mascara by Sephora. It’s really all you need. It pulls any look together perfectly. Oh, and I can’t forget my Fenty beauty lip gloss.
WHICH GUILTY PLEASURE INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS ARE YOUR FAVE INSTA-FOLLOWS?
I really appreciate following and supporting creative artists, so I follow a ton of photographers. @oye_diran, who is a photographer and art director. @thechrishau, I had the pleasure of meeting him on my last press trip Gimli Manitoba where he shot work for Mercedes Benz. It was so surreal to meet him and he’s so nice!
WHOSE POSTER DID YOU HAVE ON YOUR BEDROOM WALL WHEN YOU WERE 12 YEARS OLD?
Paul Brandt! He’s a Canadian country music artist. I discovered his music when I first came to Canada and I fell in love. He was my first exposure to country music and I’ve been a fan ever since. I also had some Usher and Alicia Keys on there too.
Lily’s dedication to inspiring women around the world makes her the ultimate #smashtessfaml! Keep your eye on what’s next for Lily by following her over on Instagram!