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File No. 9: Claudia Hilario, blogger, Bodega Blush

I was present during some of the initial conversations that sparked the launch of Bodega Blush. Just a few months prior, I met Claudia Hilario, its founder. At this point, she was an editor at Primera Hora with 10 years of experience behind her. But, a dream is unstoppable, and so, Claudia’s was no exception.

A few weeks after revealing her plans to us, Claudia left the company to launch her own blog. As an accomplished editor, it’s a move not many have the ovaries to make. But, when you have a clique of badass friends and an idea, it’s justifiable that you leave your job to create an online platform dedicated to all the things you love: fashion and drinking.

Bodega Blush now has over 1,000 Facebook likes and has done collaborations with big name brands like Sally Hansen and Tito’s Vodka. The goal is to demystify the notion that women and alcohol are mutually exclusive. And so, we toast to Claudia and her big dreams, to her daughter Elena and to the many women who are stuck in a passionless job waiting to make the big jump.

Why did you decide to launch a blog about fashion and alcohol?

I did it because I understand it’s a combination of topics that is missing from the blogging community. When I started in journalism 10 years ago, I knew that at some point I would incline for lifestyle topics that would eventually lead to a magazine. Bodega Blush is the first step. It’s a medium to eliminate the perception that women shouldn’t drink, much less strong liquor.

You launched the blog after leaving your job, a move that not many are able to do successfully. How do you think this change affected your perspective of your career?

I never imagined leaving my job as an editor to be a blogger. I don’t regret it. Having a blog is super difficult because there are a lot of people doing the same thing. It takes time until you get recognized. I no longer have a huge media company behind my work; I’m the one that is responsible for the name and the brand. For those who want to take it seriously, being a blogger requires a lot of effort.

What has been the greatest challenge of launching your own blog?

Doing it all is nice but sometimes tires me out. The greatest challenge is in knowing when to stop; having entire weekends not thinking about the blog. In fact, I’ve done it.

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Your blog opens a discussion about the taboo of women and drinking. Was this intentional?

Purely intentional. Women get criticized for drinking in front of our kids, while men are not. That makes you rethink certain things. Also, if you go out to dinner and your male partner orders water, it is expected that you do the same, instead of ordering an old fashioned or a sangria.

The idea behind the blog is not to promote alcohol dependence. It’s about feeling comfortable enjoying responsibly whatever drink you prefer. It’s another way of achieving equality.

Do you think it’s possible to be a feminist and enjoy fashion and beauty?

Of course! Feminism seeks equality of both sexes, not feeling bad about yourself for highlighting the pink in your lips or paint them red for a night out. Doing our makeup and dressing up is fun, and adds color and fantasy to the reality of who we are. You can be a feminist with makeup on or a chauvinist with a clean face.

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What is the end game with Bodega Blush?

I want it to be a reference and point of encounter for women who like whiskey, experimenting with makeup and have an interest in eco-friendly issues. Also, adding new categories. I would like it to become a platform of varied content with different collaborators and points of view. In that sense, I would like it to be similar to a magazine, and distance itself from a personal blog.

Obviously, you like drinking. What are some of your favorite drinks?

I cannot tell you just one. I think that, because we are in the Caribbean, I love soft and refreshing drinks, but not because I’m a latina it means I like sweet cocktails. If I had to choose, I would pick white or rosé wine, mojito and Medalla, depending on the occasion.

Launching your blog is a way of reinventing yourself due to the challenges the digital era brings to journalism. How do you think you’ve changed as a journalist since launching Bodega Blush?

It’s an evolution that wouldn’t work for anyone who doesn’t do journalism right. I prefer to think that I do it the best I can and that this experience adds a value of entrepreneurship this era requires. It’s something I would have never have access to with an office schedule, but that forces me to grow and move.

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Bodega Blush has an element of all-girls community. How do you seek to build an online community and how important is it to the development of your brand?

For the moment, I am focusing on having a defined community on Facebook, even though the blog is on other social networks. I have followers from different parts of the world, but they are mostly locals and that is very good. It lets you know that you are doing something right. Every type of content so far has had a good reception on social networks, which is very important to be recognized and make an income.

What does ‘badass’ means to you?

It’s a person that has the courage to do whatever they like and is the best for them no matter what other people say or think. And that is not possible without creativity. A badass woman is an unstoppable creative.

 

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