Winning two years in a row at the UK Blog Awards was a dream come true, and one I’m not sure I still really believe to this day.
I’ve written before about my astonishment at winning such a major award (winning not just once, but twice!) and already I’ve had a few people asking me if I’ll be entering again for 2019.
As much as I’d love to enter again, the short answer is No, I won’t be entering… there’s DEFINITELY no way I would/could win a third year in a row. That said, I DID say that there was no way I would win again earlier this year as I won the previous year, and some of you were right when you said it was possible!
However, this time it’s different… I have exciting news!
The reason I definitely won’t win
So as kind as it was that so many of you insisted I enter for yet another year at UKBA19, there is a verrrrry good reason why I’m not entering: I’m actually JUDGING in 2019!
That’s right: I’m the blogger judge for the fashion category (WOO HOO!!!!), and I couldn’t be prouder or more excited. =she takes a sharp intake of breath and does a mini silent clap at the prospect of what’s ahead=
It seemed a logical progression for me to go from entrant to judge; I’ve entered four times and won on my third and fourth attempts. I thought (as they say) that I should go out on a high.
On a side note, I feel I’ve undoubtedly proved that age isn’t a barrier AT ALL when it comes to blogging, or, more specifically, fashion blogging. I hope I’ve inspired more than a few of you to take a chance, or to believe in yourself, or to follow your dreams – and to see that older women aren’t invisible. We’ll only be invisible if we let ourselves become invisible. It’s all very well saying we don’t want to be, but if we don’t put ourselves out there then nothing will change (more on that in a minute).
(You can read my introduction as a judge on the UK Blog Awards website here: https://blogawardsuk.co.uk/project/fashion-judge-catherine-summers)
Fashion & Beauty has been split up into separate categories this year, so I’m the blogger judge for fashion only (there will be a sponsor judge for each category as well). I’m really pleased they’ve been split up as I feel it’s fairer not to merge fashion with beauty as they’re so different if you cover one more than the other.
What YOU can do to keep the momentum going
This applies to everyone reading this: If you’re a blogger, PLEASE enter yourself. If you’re not a blogger I assume you like reading blogs (you’ve ended up here somehow, haven’t you?!), so please nominate your favourite blogger(s). Remember, you can’t nominate me as I’m a judge… I’m not so sure it’s fair to judge myself, lol!
The process with the UK Blog Awards is simple: entry is open to anyone who has a blog, in any category (not just fashion, beauty and lifestyle but things like dating, education, PR/marketing/communications, weddings, and so on). Or you can nominate a blogger on their behalf – and they choose whether to accept the nomination. Then voting opens for everyone who has been nominated, and the top eight with the most votes in each category goes onto become a finalist, and that’s when my judging role comes in.
So EVERYONE that enters (or decides to accept a nomination) gets nominated. If you become a finalist? You get to go to the awards ceremony which, believe me, is a HUGE event. What better excuse is there to wear a long gown and insist the person you take for moral support wears black tie or a gown as well?
When I first entered in 2015 I really didn’t have ANY expectations whatsoever, but when I found out I made the top 10 (there were 10 finalists in those days) I was properly shocked. But I did make a really big deal of asking for votes, and although we are often very ashamed to put ourselves out there like that for want of coming over all grabby and needy (or simply just annoying), you would be amazed at how many people are only too willing to spare 15 seconds to vote for you. I have absolutely no qualms about voting for my favourite bloggers when they need my help: after all, they’ve spent many hours creating free content that I enjoy reading, so what’s a few seconds out of my day to help them get some recognition for all their hard work?
So please keep this in mind if you’re a blogger and thinking of entering. People WILL want to vote for you.
Why I want older bloggers to enter (and not just older bloggers)
The thing I always said that was most important about being nominated – more so than winning – was the fact that I was representing older bloggers, in my case the over 40s. If no over 40 bloggers enter the UK Blog Awards (or, indeed, ANY blog awards), then we won’t be represented in any way. I think it is VITAL that a good proportion of those eight finalists (I’m talking specifically about the fashion, beauty and lifestyle categories here as they’re the industries that traditionally favour the young) are older. It’s also vital that we recognise plus size bloggers. And bloggers of colour. And bloggers with disabilities. (You see where I’m going here.) It brings me back to the point of not being invisible.
Because the point of blogging – and the blogosphere – is the fact that we can access regular people, and hear their voices, and see their imagery. Regular people come in ALL shapes, sizes, colours, ages, abilities, etc. We WANT to read what ordinary people have to say and to read their stories, because that’s how we find out that they’re actually extraordinary. Let’s not let the blogosphere (=cough= Instagram) become oversaturated with homogenised “beautiful people” that we’ve been seeing in traditional advertising for decades.
Don’t get me wrong – I love and appreciate seeing a girl who is model material as much as the next person, but is that all I want to see? No.
If this story doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will…
I recently received a wonderful email from the gorgeous Alison who decided to start a blog very recently. She said:
“The thing that spurred me on to get started and what gave me the push? You may recall, on your page a short while ago, you advertised JD Williams were having a “Midster” [model] competition. Well, I entered for the fun of it and got down to the last 11. I was flabbergasted... I am from the North East (I was the only one from outside the London area) and they paid for my travel and overnight stay. I met the most amazing women on the day – and so enjoyed the whole occasion. The Creative Director asked me where I had seen the competition advertised and I told her it was your blog.”
Alison said it herself: “I entered for the fun of it and got down to the last 11. I was flabbergasted.” Look at the incredible opportunity and amazing life experience she had because she took a chance. SHE made it happen. That’s all the proof you need to do this (for yourself or for someone else), surely?!
(Follow Alison – until she launches her blog – on Instagram here.)
So please get entering/nominating – let’s make UKBA19 as wonderfully diverse as we possibly can…! ENTER ENTER >> https://blogawardsuk.co.uk/submit
WHO WILL YOU BE NOMINATING? ARE YOU A BLOGGER AND WILL YOU BE ENTERING? DO SHARE IN THE COMMENTS!
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