Few content creators have successfully evolved to survive the times. But Andrew shows that authenticity is key to longevity.
Glamour’s Women to Watch series spotlights women who are redefining what it means to be an influencer. Yes, they have “personal brands” and rapidly growing social followings—but in some way, each of these women is pushing the boundaries of what an influencer should look like, act like, or stand for. Their very presence is broadening the scope, which gives them the space to have actual influence: These women are changing conversations, dictating trends, and creating style. And they’re just getting started.
Cynthia Andrew just got a nanny for the first time since giving birth to twins in late 2020 and she is stoked. “Girl, it’s like a snow day in this house,” says the travel and style influencer and lawyer over the phone with a laugh. “We were so ready.” Andrew—a full-time lawyer and content creator with an enviable number of passport stamps—gave birth to Kai and River in late 2020.
It’s now early October, meaning she and her husband, Lester Andrew, have worked as a two-person army, handling the twins on their own while simultaneously managing their careers and a major renovation of their Brooklyn brownstone.
Given how COVID has played out for working parents—with many left to fend for themselves—external support has been exponentially harder to come by. “Just trusting someone to care for your kids in general is so hard. But then on top of that, there’s a pandemic!” Andrew says with a deep exhale.
Before Andrew became “SimplyCyn” to her 270,000-plus Instagram followers, she launched a blog on a now defunct platform in 2008. It was a different time: Stocks were plummeting, hair was rising, and gladiator sandals lorded over our closets. Fashion and style bloggers were also in their infancy: Tavi Gevinson launched Style Rookie the same year, and Claire Sulmers’s The Fashion Bomb Daily had barely been around for two years.
It was in that climate that Andrew realized she needed a creative outlet. Much of her time was spent building her career, and until that period she’d spent her life as an observer. “I was so reserved,” she recalls.
Andrew was born in Silver Spring, Maryland, then moved to Cameroon with her family when she was around four years old; she remained there until moving back to the U.S. a decade later. Then after moving to New York, she began college at 16. “My mom encouraged me to take the SATs at that age,” she says. “She just knew.”
That upbringing gave Andrew an edge and a worldview that differentiated her from her peers. So she created a blog about being African and American in NYC. While the concept didn’t quite stick, eventually she began documenting her Etsy obsessions, and Addicted to Etsy, a spin-off blog, was born. A few years later Andrew began to take blogging more seriously after witnessing the power of visibility on her own platform and watching her follower count grow. In 2015 she changed the name of her blog, and SimplyCyn was born.
It was there that fans could also live vicariously through Andrew’s global travel—a passion solidified after a stint studying abroad in Paris.
Slowly the jet-setting, badass woman with a penchant for bold prints and color whom we now know as SimplyCyn came into her own. Though it’s not all about pretty photos and outfits.
Andrew’s evolution into an influencer with staying power is a testament to her liberated approach to her posts. She is unafraid to share what’s really happening in her life. From having her bag stolen during a trip to Lisbon to “missing her twins’ birth,” Andrew seems more like a virtual BFF than an influencer with an agenda. Though she is also aware of how the word influencer can be polarizing in today’s age.
“Let’s not pretend that being an influencer isn’t a business,” she says. “Because I also work as an attorney, I know that in itself is a privilege. When an opportunity or a brand doesn’t align with who I am, I have no problem saying no. I’m fortunate to be able to treat this as a hobby and to only say yes to projects that align with who I am.”
Years after finding that creative outlet, Andrew is settling into a new chapter: motherhood. She’s also still traveling the world—masked up, of course—and taking her followers along for the ride.
Ahead, the style influencer shares her biggest influence, how she unwinds, and the one thing she wishes more people knew about who she is.
Glamour: What time do you get up in the morning?
Cynthia Andrew: I get up multiple times throughout the night because of the twins, but that final time is usually around 6:30 a.m.
Are you a breakfast person?
No, I don’t eat breakfast at home. But if I’m traveling I love to eat breakfast. It’s more fun. Everything is so much more fun when traveling. [Laughs.] Like when I’m out in the world traveling, I’m looking at architecture. Meanwhile, in New York, I can’t remember the last time I paid attention to a building!
What’s your go-to outfit when working from home?
A relaxed jumpsuit.
What’s your biggest piece of career advice?
Get a mentor. Whether it’s a more formal kind of relationship or just learning and being around those you admire—it’s so important.
What brand was your first big client as an influencer?
Was there a moment that you realized, “Okay, I might actually be very good at my job as a content creator”?
About five years ago when I was in Milan, someone recognized me. I remember it so well because she was calling my name from across the street. I was thinking, What?! She then told me how much I inspired her to travel to Milan, and I just felt so grateful within that moment.
Who influences your own personal style the most?
I get my interest in fashion from my mom. A big part of my life was spent being more of an observer. I was so shy and reserved in my teens and 20s, and watching my mom, the way she dressed, being a divorcée especially in Cameroon—which is still a fairly patriarchal place—and she did all of this in the ’80s.
What’s your favorite low-stakes treat after a productive day?
A shower. There’s a difference between the quick shower I take in the morning before starting my day and the one I take at night. Just standing under the shower late at night after the twins are put to sleep and I can just take a breath. It’s just such a release.
What’s your go-to thank-you gift?
Unique food items, a bottle of something special, and if I’m close to you, a spa certificate.
What’s your typical email sign-off?
“Cheers”—picked that up during my gap year working in London!
What do you wish more people knew about Cynthia Andrew?
I share so much online that I don’t really think there’s much that people don’t know about me. Obviously, there are hard days and every single thing isn’t shared on social. So I guess that’s what I’d want people to know: that who I am online is who I am in real life.
This story originally appeared on: Glamour - Author:Condé Nast