Zandile Blay

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“I must admit, I am kind of tacky. I am kind of like a Vegas show girl,” Zandile said during our interview, but it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Her penetrating beauty and intelligence can pull off anything from a burgundy mohair bolero to a college sweatshirt. To say that Zandile simply has great taste – see her Norma Kamali camouflage sleeping bag coat for reference – would not do her discerning good eye and pervasive integrity justice.

Zandile comes from a long line of political journalists. Her father won a fellowship from Harvard for his nationwide protest against the Ghanaian regime, where Zandile was born. As a thinking-person’s fashion writer, Zandile echoes the philosophical bent of her past in her choice of subjects that she writes about. Like this site, she is less fascinated by the peacock at an event than what one chooses to wear when they are not aware of what they are doing and what that communicates about the person. Some of what intrigues her most are the bishop accused of pedophilia who began wearing white robes before his congregation and the Harlem real estate broker who owns four thousand pieces of vintage clothing but loves the non-label pieces the most in honor of the unsung heroes who made them. “Writing is like giving birth… you have to be in love with someone to interview them,” Zandile feels.

Aside from her pearly whites and thriving relationship with American Apparel, the most inspiring aspect of Zandile is her stance on the virtues of being unentitled. With eleven cousins living in one room in her native country and a mother who sacrificed her own journalism career so that her daughters could realize their dreams in the US of A, Zandile feels that being unentitled has given her such a sense of purpose that on days when she’s feeling completely down and out, “it’s like a battery pack.” Zandile’s mother, of whom she says, “selflessness, selflessness, selflessness,” also shows up with flowers and money whenever she sees a bummed out tweet from her daughter.

Zandile considers her younger sister Zeba to be her best friend and quiet support system. I too am grateful for her – it was Zeba who told her older sister that if she did the SLU shoot, it would be the coolest thing that her big sister has ever done (flattering, but not true). Just to prove that coolness runs in the family, for Christmas Zeba gave her sister back the coveted Harvard sweatshirt bought on the occasion of their first arrival in America. Just as she falls for the people she writes about, we are head over heels for Zandile, and not just for her gold wedges.

If you love Zandile, you may also like Ruthie Friedlander, Dechel McKillian and Malcolm Harris.

Zandile Blay for from StyleLikeU on Vimeo.

  • Aria Cavaliere

    She is so eloquent and well spoken!!

  • S.f. Perrius

    Awesomeness. And you can send that burgundy coat to my house, please.

  • N’dazeba B. Amihere

    Zandile is a complete inspiration. Her poise, work ethic, and love for her family and friends are qualities I aspire to everyday. Love her!

  • Sophie Samul

    Hearing Zandile speak is a true pleasure, it is so nice to hear a young person who can appreciate all that her family. I think that is something that our generation does not do enough, there is some sort of disconnect, and it is so refreshing to hear Zandile articulate that feeling. What a beautiful lady inside and out, just like her beautiful sister Zeba who all of us at Style Like U value so much.

  • Kelley O’Brien

    She is such an inspiration! I love her story and she is a strong woman.

  • Fariha Róisín

    This video has moved me so much. Zandile, you are a gem, please keep on shining! The hustle will be worth so much in the end, I’m sure. Love!

  • Rachel Esterline

    that smile…<3


  • Channing Hargrove

    I adore this lady! She is so true to herself and her style, it’s an inspiration!

  • Pingback: ESSENCE Magazine Online Fashion Editor: ZANDILE BLAY! African Girls Rock! : Farai Today

  • Samantha Lind

    I love the fact that she is so grateful of her parents and proud of where she comes from. She makes her family proud by living the life that they always wanted for her. It’s nice to see young people like this who aren’t brats :)

  • Ashley Paintsil

    YES! A fellow Ghanian! I am so proud to be Ghanian and when I see another one, especially being represented through style, I get extremely excited. Go Zandile! And go SLU! You guys never fail to bring us the best.

  • Ashley Greene

    Zandalie owns the exact denim dress I was going to buy! She looks amazing in it :) She seems like a cool down to earth girl

  • James Mccaffery

    “Thinking person’s fashion writer.” Yes, yes, doubleplus yes. A writer’s icon for the SLU era.

  • Jordan Middendorf

    Wow. I am blown away by her confidence and eloquence. This is one of those closet posts that inspires me way beyond just the clothes. Thank you for sharing your beautiful soul with us Zandile!

  • Tye Crawford

    luv how grateful she is, pure hearted 2! <3

  • Elinei Herrmann

    I’m in love! What a beautiful person, just like her baby sister Zeba… Can I meet the whole family??

  • David C Melton

    SLU. Thank you for sharing Zandile on yet another platform for those who don’t know her. The vimeo video gave your readers a glimpse of who my friend truly is. She is so many things that this post could be infinite. I adore “the gold shoes” that she walks in. In silence, her presence alone radiates and I am forever proud of her hustle, her strength and humbleness that she not only speaks of but lives. Miss Z. Miss Z. Miss Z. And if you’re reading Z, that hair is slaying the girls down-e miss thing!


  • cindy

    I love this piece! both my parents are from Ghana and to see a lovely lady honoring her mother with every word is wonderful and her style is inspiring. It reminds me of why I love my culture!

  • Stefani Sarah

    I LOVE this woman! Such a great feature story from Stylelikeu.