Yesterday, we were surprised to see a fashion blogger--and not a particularly well-known one--on this year's prestigious Vanity Fair Best Dressed List (yep, the one that totally snubbed Michelle Obama). Her name is Hallie Swanson, and she's the woman behind personal style site Hallie Daily. Her site gets just over 36,000 visitors a month, which is quite low compared to personal style blogging powerhouses like Song of Style and Sincerely Jules. Still, it was Swanson who earned a spot amongst style stars like Jenna Lyons and Kerry Washington on Vanity Fair's famed list.
See, for the first time, Vanity Fair opened up the list to anyone with a social media account and allowed readers to vote.
So how did Swanson make the cut? We chatted with the blogger and mother of one about she got involved with the contest, her reaction to earning a spot on the list, and why she started her blog.
Fashionista: What made you decide to enter Vanity Fair's contest? Hallie Swanson: I heard about the contest when it was first announced but I never really gave it a try, because I thought it’s such a “BIG” thing and I didn’t dream that I could win. A few months ago, after I got my first iPhone, I started my Instagram account and started to put different hashtags on each photo I posted there, and that helped me connect with all kinds of fashion-related communities. And #VFBESTDRESSED was one of them. I didn’t really choose what photos to use, but just used samples of photos I posted for my blog’s outfit posts. When did you find out you'd made the list? Who's the first person you told? I remember it well! That was July 12, I was taking my five-year old son, Red Bear [that's his nickname], to the park with his play buddy and his mom, and I checked my email there and saw an email from Vanity Fair. They told me I was nominated for Vanity Fair's “International Best Dressed List Challenge.” I told my son’s play-buddy’s mom, but I don't think she believed I would win in the end, and neither did I at that moment. A couple days later, I got a call from Vanity Fair and was told I was the winner! (Trust me, I still didn’t believe it!) I shared that with my husband, who is the most important person in my life and in my blog. I know there were prizes involved for some--did you win anything besides just getting on the list? First of all, winning a spot in the Vanity Fair Best Dressed List is the biggest prize I have won in my life, besides my family. If there are any other prizes involved, I don’t know yet, but I know I might make a trip to New York in the coming months for the Vanity Fair Best Dressed-related events. Why do think you made it? Did you think you had a good shot? I wish I could answer, “by luck.” Haha--but, my husband always tells me it’s not by luck, but because I work hard everyday on my “fashion passion,” and I have talent. I do look at each day as a new opportunity to be my very best. I always believe in myself, set high goals and high standards for myself, be honest, and be positive, and try to learn from roadblocks and find ways around them, and I try to improve myself in every way.
What made you decide to start Hallie Daily? How long have you been doing it? I worked as a TV sports reporter in China, and then served as an international travel guide for the Chinese government for several years, leading tours of Chinese government officials to spots all around the world. Six years ago, I settled in California with my husband and we quickly had a son. My blog Hallie Daily started in 2010. In the beginning, I wrote only in Chinese, and the main purpose for the blog was just to share my new life with my family and friends who live in China. As time went by, I blogged with the fresh perspective of a new American and mother, sharing my personal style with plenty of happiness and positive ideas. I was happy and surprised that a lot of people liked to read it and write comments back to me about it. How would you describe your style? Classic, feminine, unpredictable. Has your blog gotten a lot of traffic today? Oh, yes!! My blog was temporarily down for a while in the morning. And I have to point out a lot of that traffic came from Fashionista. Thank you guys!