Post written by Kaitlyn M.
It all starts in a day in May, when a young girl, minding her own business along the river bank, spots a humanly-dressed rabbit running by. Complaining that he is late and then jumping into a peculiar rabbit hole, the innocuous girl follows suit, soon finding herself in a whole new world of adventures beyond imagination in Wonderland, leaving her prosaic life behind.
At least this is the case for young Alice in the 1865 fantasy novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
In real life, Lolita Masagutova may very well find herself relating to the fictional character.
The 23-year-old made her bid into Wonderland when she set up her blog named “Lolita Mas" (‘Mas’ being an abbreviation of her last name), scurrying her way into a world of nerve-wrecking adventures. She is now a full-time blogger-influencer fast rising within the ranks, boasting more than 700 thousand monthly impressions.
Bent on leaving a permanent mark in the fast-spinning world in which Andy Warhol once described as “everybody will be famous for 15 minutes”, the ardent influencer reflects on her often uncertain yet equally-thrilling journey.
A leap of faith into the unknown
Born and bred in the culturally-vibrant city of Riga in Latvia, Lolita first moved to Manchester at the age of 18 in pursuit of a college diploma. She made a further leap of faith into unknowns when she left her job as a social media manager and decided to become a full-time fashion and beauty blogger. Yes, a full-time blogger.
A full-time blogger in an environment cramped with obscene amounts of self-proclaimed gurus struggling to churn out ‘the next big thing’; in a business where the vast majority prefers to do it part-time due to highly unstable income; and in an industry where your viral piece may very well be a one-hit wonder, pushing you back into obscurity the very next day (or hour) into the “who are you?” zone.
“I tend to be very introspective”, she remarked. Perhaps this allows the young influencer to impose normalcy in tense situations and be impervious to negative emotions, guiding her through a world where her next move may make or break her.
A Londoner with Latvian roots
“Never forget where you came from” may very well be the single most offered piece of advice in every corner of the globe. And for Latvian-born Lolita, this can be reflected in her personal style.
She beamed with pride with the slightest mention of her hometown. “In Latvia, women put a lot of effort into their appearance, and our country is always ranked top-10 globally in terms of the most beautiful girls”. “Everyone is really attentive to details when it comes to their looks, and it is vital that our skin is always glowing flawlessly.”
As for London, her base as of now, the city has brought a sense of comfort to her style, together with an unbridled admiration for less-known brands. “I find it so satisfying to discover underground brands before they become mainstream. Plus it doesn’t hurt being one of the first to wear them.”
Behind the glamour
If there is this one immutable universal feeling that the fashion industry gives off to the world, it is that the career is always glittering - one filled with endless amounts of media exposures and incessantly flashing cameras, plus successful collaborations drawing tens of thousands of adoring crowds like moths to the light.
Whilst this may be true for the industry’s topmost icons, it is definitely not the case for 99% of people out there.
“There is a lot of loneliness involved in your life, and you are always in a 24/7 work mode,” the 23-year-old confessed. “You have to take matters into your own hands, and often-times, you are the only team member.” Lolita noted how she had (and still has), to be the model, her own photographer, stylist, aesthetic director, editor, marketer, social media coordinator, PR person, and so on concurrently. “It is tantamount to fending for yourself alone in the wilderness.”
An unwavering authenticity
In the blogosphere where everything is about public perception, things can be smoke and mirrors. But for Lolita, deviating herself from her own image and values can be an instant kill. “Like any other businesses, you have to set your solid boundaries and stay true to yourself. I only work with the brands that I personally love, the clothes that I would spend my own money on, and the beauty products that I already used and really admire.”
And being authentic does not end with your personal style. According to the influencer, how you present yourself is also of paramount importance. “A photo should reflect reality at its best. I would rather spend more time capturing that perfect shot than spending my time editing a poorly-taken photo.” “To me, heavy retouching is inappropriate and everyone is fed up with it. You can always tell if the photo has been heavily retouched - nobody believes in its portrayal of life anymore.” For the 23-year old influencer, a simple iPhone filter is all she needs to capture a glimpse of her perspective to eager followers.
The hotel guru
A travel fanatic, it is natural that Lolita has an astute sense of judging the good and the not-so-good hotels, and she has since started writing about them in the blog. Her best tip for travellers? Do not judge a hotel based on its stars, online ranks, or reputation. “I’ve seen 3-star hotels with better facilities than some of the 5-star ones. You need to live in the hotel and breath in its totality before forming an opinion about it (it is rarely love at first sight).” “For example, my room in the Amsterdam Sofitel wasn’t exactly the most stylish at first glance, but the staff made our stay absolutely unforgettable. The bath was magical, the food absolutely delicious, and I gave the hotel the highest rank I could possibly give.”
Her personal top 5 “must-have” elements of a hotel includes great restaurants, a good hairdryer (not those tiny ones which burns your hair in literally 3 seconds), an iron in the room, a great pool with a beautiful spa and steam rooms, plus a queen-sized bed with quality mattresses (because you cannot call it a vacation without a good night’s sleep).
The great mixer in a rapidly-changing industry
Lolita has also built a reputation for being a stellar fashion mixer (one of her most successful campaigns includes her shot for Nasty Gal). One of the things she does best is combining high-end with high-street wardrobes artistically and graciously when they seemingly run counter to one another. “The trick is to find a few key designer pieces which serve as ‘pillars’ to build your outfit on. And very often, you will only need one piece to provide the illusion of a high-end wardrobe.” For her, it is important to invest in timeless designer items that lasts more than one season and avoid opting for outlandish trends.
According to the rising influencer, the fashion world is drastically reshaping right in front of our eyes. “There is a much thinner line between high-end and high-street brands, with qualities of the latter sky-rocketing in the past couple of years.” She noted that many of them have now introduced their own original ‘boutique collections’ with pieces that are totally unique while possessing amazing quality. “& Other Stories’ shoes are created by former Acne designer Nicole Wilson; Uniqlo is blossoming in the hands of French fashion heavyweight Christophe Lemaire, and H&M annually collaborate with well-known high-end brands to produce capsule-collections.”
The greatest takeaway she would like her visitors to have is that we are allowed to do what we love with the greatest amount of passion and dedication. “While my blog might be just another blog about fashion, travel and beauty, I wholeheartedly hope to inspire people to start doing what their hearts truthfully desire - be it experimenting with their style, testing out new beauty tips, or visiting the places they like.”
As for the 23 year-old, one of her future plans is to visit California after watching the American drama Buffy The Vampire Slayer at the age of 12, and also New York.
“Everyone has the chance to leap into their own Wonderland, they just have to do it”, she beamed.
Note: Lolita Masagutova is planning to dwell further into travelling and lifestyle topics. At the moment she is into home décor and would love to start covering the area as well. She is also experimenting with videos both in English and Russian, and her YouTube channel is closer than ever.
Visit her blog by clicking here.