The Kweens Guide is a YouTube channel showcasing makeup looks, techniques, product reviews and vlogs by its founder Lontia Kangwa. The New York based beauty and lifestyle vlogger has also founded her own clothing brand that markets African Print head wraps. It was a pleasure to catch up with this multi-talented lady and shine a light on who she is and everything she is about.
N: I can’t even remember when I last saw you outside of Instagram (which was the place where you caught my attention again). Sidebar, your feed genuinely gives me life because you seem to be as obsessed with bright colors, high contrast and heavy saturation. Okay, now back to the subject.
When and why did you wake up and decide to take this direction?
L: I know! It has been a while since we saw each other outside the social media space. I am so thankful for your feedback and compliments, which mean a lot to me, because then I know I must be doing something right.
So you know that friend in real life that always likes to give tips and quick fixes when it comes to skincare, fashion or make up (someone who can sometimes be annoying or over opinionated)? Well, that’s me in a nutshell. Initially, that’s what planted it in my mind because everyone around me would ask when I would start my YouTube channel (and they would do it jokingly) but still with a strong overarching serious tone. I listened to their voices and my own and decided to then do something about it.
Make-up became such a big interest of mine when I moved from South Africa to California because I was able to see how to build on my passion by looking more at what others were doing. The skincare and fashion was always an interest of mine that I didn’t fully explore and then slowly, I began to integrate this into what I did. I would watch a lot of YouTube videos, and honestly, the more I watched, the more it made me feel like I wanted to create my own space in which I could work on my ideas and bring them to life.
However, I did not start my channel or my Instagram feed immediately; it took a lot of contemplating in terms of envisioning what kind of content I wanted to create and how to brand it (which can be one of the hardest things). Eventually in 2016 when I moved to New York I literally adopted a “let’s just do it attitude” and as soon as I did, the direction and flow of both my channel and Instagram feed has taken on its own personality.
It has now moved from not solely being about make-up, but it encompasses so much more such as a fashion (with a huge focus on plus size fashion), lifestyle, skincare and travel vlogs.
My goal is to empower women through my content I continue to build on this by expressing my ideas on my YouTube series “The Kween’s talks”.
N: It would be unfair to not mention how crisp the quality of your videos is; I think that standard is also what draws me to your content. Considering you started the channel in 2016, I would imagine it took a lot of practice and trial and error. On average, how long does it take you to shoot and get your content onto the channel and what tools and software would you recommend for people trying to get into that field?
L: Thank you so much for the compliments. One of the major things I focused on when creating content was the quality of my content. I didn’t want people to watch my videos and be forced to watch videos that would not captivate them or make them feel uninterested based on the quality (which I find myself doing sometimes as I am such a visual consumer and I like to consume high quality resolution videos that inspire me). That being said, in terms of quality of my videos, I am actually nowhere near where I want to be.
The trial and error process is still something that I experience and go through. I have learnt the only way to get content where you want it to be is through making mistakes and learning from them. It takes me like 3 to 4 hours to shoot (including set up and depending on what I would be shooting that day).
Before I would film and forget all about the video and edit it when I felt like, but to be honest, that doesn’t work well because you tend to lose the flow. Now I film and edit on the same day in order to bring my ideas fully to life. I try to remain consistent on this and also ensure that I continuously have content (pre-recorded and editing) basically ready for posting on a regular basis.
I use Final Cut Pro for most of my work. I also tend to use iMovie for my videos; I would recommend it because it is very user friendly and can perform basic edits and for more advanced software, I would definitely recommend Final Cut Pro.
N: What’s your favorite playlist to shoot for? I’m personally really into your product reviews. I LOVED what you did with the Fenty Stunna Lip Paint. Special shout out to the double lash too. I really really enjoyed that look.
L: Interesting question because it is something I have never really thought about. I would say my product Review videos have become one of my favorite to shoot because I do a lot of first impression videos which means I get to share my experiences with the viewers who may have also had similar or different experiences with the products. I get to be just as pleasantly surprised or (or in some cases as disappointed) as others are, and because of that, I feel that these are the most genuine videos which portray the satisfaction of the users of the products that I get to feature. Another favorite of mine (because only one is just too hard to pick) is my Lifestyle vlogs which are not pre-planned so they allow me to portray a real version of my daily life in the most spontaneous manner. I find that the Lifestyle vlogs are really cool to edit as I can basically take them into any direction that I choose for them to go.
N: So, The Kweens Crowns. Let’s talk about that a little. How did that come about and where do you retail?
L: The Kween’s Crowns was born off of my desire to showcase and highlight the strength of a woman and how much she can achieve. The wearing of a crown symbolizes recognition (by oneself or by others) and so is a key to success in any area of one’s life.
This brand is still under construction and may be taking on a different face soon but currently, it is a platform that allows me to showcase myself as an entrepreneur while at the same time, reminding me to encourage other women to feel empowered and embody their own version of what it means to be a Kween. I generally retail on Instagram on the Kweens Crown account via direct message . As I said, the website is currently under construction and including much more, so do expect to see so much more very soon.
N: Final words of advice for anyone trying to break into these spaces?
L: If you feel you have something to speak about, be it feedback, comments, tips, tricks or advice to share, whatever it may be — my advice would be to just go ahead and do it! Don’t overthink it. However, it is also important to plan on how you intend for the vision you have in mind come to life; which includes how you intend to share and collaborate.
Simple steps that help with planning is to put together a budget that gives you clarity about what will be required to make your idea work. For example, you may have to start saving for your communication tools, e.g. buying a camera.
Another piece of advice is to follow your passion and not be afraid. It does not help to worry about how successful you may or not be, because failure is part of the learning process.
Spend less time worrying about how your viewers may or may not like what you do and instead channel it into building creative ideas for your content. Look for trusted users who can provide you with the feedback you need for improvement. Lastly, always stay passionate and motivated, and if you do, the content you create will give you a reason to continue on your journey. I really look forward to seeing what others can do, because I know that there is room for a lot of creatives to showcase what they have.
N: Beautiful, I love that. Short questions. Shall we?
Favorite city to visit?
Los Angeles, California
Favorite city to live in?
Hard, but it’s a draw between Johannesburg and Brooklyn, New York (In the summer time lol)
Favorite product you’ve been gifted?
My camera (Sony A5100, in case that would be of interest to anyone) – funny story, it is what I use to film currently. My mom is the real plug and my number one supporter.
Favorite makeup look?
Changes often but currently, it has to be my blue lid I recently did with the MAC X Patrickstar collection.
5 things in your bag at all times?
- The lip paint/lipstick I am wearing that day (might also have some extra’s in case I want to change it up)
- Sacha buttercup compact setting powder for touch ups
- Mini- purse (with all the cards and paper lol)
- Rollerball of my fave perfume of the moment or my scent bird bottle with my fragrance of the month.