Jamilla and Que, represented by CFG Agency, have forged a unique path in the influencer world by prioritizing authenticity and community-building. From their early content creation days, they aimed to fill the void of LGBTQIA creators they had experienced, catering to a diverse audience. Their story is a testament to the power of transparency and staying connected with their community in an ever-evolving influencer landscape.
About Jamilla and Que
Can you please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background?
Jamilla and Que have been actively involved in online content creation for nearly a decade, starting around 2015. Their journey into content creation commenced shortly after Que’s proposal to Jamilla, marking a significant turning point in their lives.
Because Que was Jamilla’s first girlfriend, this prompted Jamilla to delve into content creation as they sought to immerse themselves in a culture they could relate to.
During that time, they faced the challenge of finding LGBTQIA creators who resembled them in terms of appearance and shared aspirations, such as climbing the corporate ladder and building a family. Feeling a lack of representation, they decided to take matters into their own hands and create content that filled the void they had experienced. Their mission was to showcase stories and experiences that were absent from the media landscape at that time.
Could you share the pivotal moment when you both realized that being influencers and content creators was the path you wanted to take?
Que recounted the impact of heartwarming messages they received, particularly from South African viewers, saying, “Seeing these messages from Africa, where their culture didn’t fully support the LGBTQ+ community, and how our content made them feel good, that’s when I knew this is what our purpose was.”
Jamilla’s “aha” moment came during a visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Someone recognized them and enthusiastically greeted them as “Jamilla” and “Que,” expressing their love for their content. Jamilla shared, “That was the first time it felt really real because the comments are so sweet, and the messages are so sweet, but sometimes you separate yourself from the content. So when you meet someone in real life, it’s like, ‘Oh, people are actually watching us.'”
Regarding their first viral video, Que fondly recalled “My Wife Making Fun of Me,” where static photos transitioned to videos showcasing the humorous reality of their marriage. Que added, “It was my wife dressed up in her little suit, being super silly. So like dancing to Michael Jackson in our living room, dancing for our little baby at the time. And that video went viral. It just kind of went on the wrong side of YouTube at the time.”
As a duo, you bring different perspectives and styles to your content. How do you think this contributes to your overall brand?
Jamilla and Que prioritize their personalities, making them inherently personality-driven content creators. They also delve extensively into discussing relationships, setting them apart from many other family content creators who primarily focus on family-related topics.
While family is undeniably important to them, they emphasize their relationship as a central theme in their content, making it a defining feature of their brand.
What was the first sign of ‘real’ engagement or success that you noticed, and how did it feel?
Recalling the experience, Jamilla enthusiastically shared, “When we won YouTube Next Up, that was the first time that I was really like, okay. So, yes, the community’s noticing, but it’s also brands and YouTube and Google who’s noticing.” This recognition marked a significant milestone in their journey as content creators.
Que chimed in, describing how it felt like a dream come true. Being flown out for a week with workshops and opportunities set up for them made them realize that they were valued content creators. “It was crazy,” she said, emphasizing the mind-blowing support they received when they announced it on their social media platforms. This experience left them feeling incredibly grateful and appreciative of their audience’s happiness for them.
You’ve collaborated with various brands. How do you decide which partnerships align with your personal brand and message?
When it comes to deciding on brand partnerships that align with their personal brand and message, Jamilla and Que emphasize the importance of thorough research and shared values.
Jamilla explained, “For us, it’s also research. We wanna make sure that the brand has always aligned with the community. There was one brand, a restaurant that we worked with one time, and they were really wanting to highlight a particular artist. So we wanted to research and make sure that the artist had never said anything negative about the community.”
They also mentioned their commitment to partnering with brands that actively support and regularly donate to the LGBTQ+ community, especially during Pride events. Jamilla added, “We also love when, if it’s during Pride, making sure that the brand is also donating and that they’re really putting money where the community needs it.”
Being part of CFG Agency’s roster, what advantages or challenges has this affiliation brought to your influencer career?
Jamilla and Que both highlighted the valuable support and expertise that their managers at CFG Agency bring to the table. Specifically, their managers, Katie Worthy and Kai Ivey, have been instrumental in helping them navigate the intricacies of influencer marketing and in negotiating deals.
What excited them the most was the readiness of CFG Agency’s team to lend a hand whenever they expressed interest in a new project or partnership. This support not only provided them with valuable assistance but also served as a source of motivation.
Both influencers stated that the CFG Agency had lightened their workload. Jamilla shared that the agency had removed the overwhelming burden of negotiating contracts and ensuring that the agreed-upon terms from emails were accurately reflected in the official contracts. This, in turn, allowed them to dedicate more time and energy to their creative processes as content creators.
Could you talk about a marketing campaign you were part of that you feel was particularly effective and why?
Jamilla and Que both expressed their satisfaction when working on campaigns related to social causes and advocacy. They highlighted the importance of these campaigns, particularly when they address topics where the representation of black individuals and black LGBTQ+ women is lacking. They cited an example of their involvement with Better Help, where they focused on promoting therapy within the black community, emphasizing that this important subject is often underrepresented.
In addition to this, they mentioned their collaboration with WellStar and stressed the significance of their work within the healthcare sector. They underscored the importance of their efforts, given the impact of laws and legislation on LGBTQ+ spaces.
How has your content strategy evolved since you first started, and what were the key drivers behind that evolution?
Jamilla explained, “I think it’s about adding strategy to the content now.” Initially, their content creation was more spontaneous, often revolving around fun and personal experiences like pregnancies, moving, or home decor projects. However, the evolution of their strategy has led them to consider their audience’s interests and current trends. Que added, “It’s about being more thoughtful now. For example, during fall, we think about what our audience is discussing and looking for, and we incorporate that into our content.”
How much does audience feedback influence your creative direction?
Both influencers shared their commitment to staying connected with their audience. Que emphasized, “We want to ensure engagement, making sure our content resonates with our audience.” She added, “I like to go through comments after posting to see if people liked it and compare it to our other videos. We call our audience our cousins, and it’s essential for us to know if they like what we put out because that’s why we’re here.”
Talking about monetization, what revenue streams have been the most profitable and rewarding for you?
In discussing monetization, the most profitable and rewarding revenue stream for Jamilla and Que at the moment is their brand partnerships.
What emerging trends in the creator economy excite you the most?
Que mentioned her excitement about the popularity of “get ready with me” content, noting that she enjoys watching such videos and is excited to see a growing audience for them. She also acknowledged the opportunity to create similar content and engage with this audience.
Jamilla, on the other hand, expressed her excitement about the shift towards more authentic and relatable content. She appreciated how creators are moving away from overly polished and perfect aesthetics to embrace a more genuine and real approach. She specifically highlighted the importance of this shift in conversations about motherhood, emphasizing the need for more open and honest discussions about postpartum experiences. She described this trend as “life-changing.”
If you could change anything in the industry, what would it be?
When asked about what they would change in the industry, Que expressed a desire to return to the days when Instagram was more focused on authenticity and real conversations. She fondly remembered a time when people could post pictures of their food and engage in genuine conversations. Que lamented the current trend of emphasizing aesthetics and creating a facade of perfection. Her wish is to see a return to authenticity, where real individuals, including moms and fashion enthusiasts, can openly share their experiences and challenges without feeling pressured to present a perfect image.
When asked about whether they perceive a shift towards more authenticity in the industry, Que expressed, “I think TikTok gives you that freedom to be more real, and you don’t have to have an aesthetic. You just get on there, and there’s more rough content there.” She continued, “You see people trying stuff at home, and you see them in their kitchens, you know, like, okay. I could do that. Yeah. And that’s what I love about TikTok.”
What unique value do you feel you bring to your audience that sets you apart in the saturated creator economy?
Que highlighted the unique value they bring to their audience in the saturated creator economy. She initially mentioned that when they started, there weren’t many people like them in the content creation space.
Que referred to a significant moment they shared with their audience, saying, “What I call our hero content was me getting pregnant.” Que believes that being a masculine-presenting woman added dimension to their content and attracted a diverse audience who appreciated their authenticity and willingness to share personal and vulnerable moments. She emphasized that their transparency and authenticity are essential aspects that set them apart in the creator economy.
The influencer landscape is ever-changing. How do you plan to adapt and stay relevant?
Jamilla and Que’s approach to staying relevant in the ever-changing influencer landscape focuses on maintaining a strong connection with their community. They believe that their primary goal is not just about staying relevant but about staying closely connected to their audience.
Jamilla explained, “For us, it’s always to stay more so connected to our community and to listen to our community’s wants and needs.” They have witnessed their audience’s journey with them, from engagement to marriage, and even unique experiences like Que’s pregnancy. As their audience evolves, Jamilla and Que plan to adapt accordingly to meet their changing needs.
Moreover, they aim to be a reliable source of content within their community. Jamilla emphasized the importance of being a “pulse point” in their audience’s lives, ensuring that they are the go-to content creators for valuable opinions and realistic perspectives on relevant topics. This commitment to authenticity and community engagement serves as their strategy for maintaining relevance in the dynamic influencer landscape.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone who’s looking to make their mark in the influencer and creator world?
Que emphasized the importance of authenticity and passion, saying, “Be authentic and make sure this is something you’re passionate about.” She stressed the idea that content creation should feel like a hobby or something you genuinely love, not just a job.
Jamilla’s advice revolved around community-building, highlighting that creators should focus on their community first. She noted that many emerging content creators are primarily concerned with how to monetize their content, but they often lack a strong and engaged community. She stressed the significance of building a community, creating content that can be consistently maintained, and producing content that you feel proud of. This approach, centered on authenticity, passion, and community, can help aspiring influencers thrive in the creator world.