My

Story

Growing up I was always surrounded by my mom’s favorite magazines.

Family Circle. Woman’s Day. InStyle. ESSENCE. After dinner, before she put us to bed, she would curl up on the couch to enjoy the latest issue of one of them. Magazines brought her so much joy that it inevitably brought me joy. When she was done reading an issue, I would ask her permission to enjoy it as well. The vibrance of the photography and the sophistication of how they explained a topic were all so magical to me.

On the other side, my dad wasn’t much of a magazine kind of guy. Books were his thing. He was always reading or listening to a personal or professional development book. As a kid, those types of books were so boring to me. However, I was always reading. By the time I was in high school, I was equally as fascinated with his types of books. Thanks to my parents, my love for writing was inevitable.

Once upon a time, my dream was to become an editor-in-chief of a glossy magazine. Thanks to the times, that dream turned into becoming a blogger.
Fun Fact

Even though I lived in NYC for a year in 2005, it wasn’t to write. It was in hopes of becoming a pop star.

No, really.

2005There was the time I tried out for American Idol. Then Making The Band. I recorded a demo and while figuring it out I temped at the corporate offices of Macy’s.

At work, one day, a friend of mine emailed me a link to what she called a “blog.”

It changed me forever.

NYC didn’t work out long term and so I decided to move to Atlanta where my family was.

I spent an early part of my childhood in ATL, both of my parents had siblings there and my maternal grandparents lived there as well. I worked retail for a couple of years which I wouldn’t wish on a war criminal. That schedule is grueling.

2008 In 2008, I met Chris and we got engaged 6 months later. That same year, I started blogging as a hobby with sporadic posts that covered topics like my favorite things like fast fashion clothing, NYFW collections, pop culture moments, and life happenings. It all started with a little blog on Blogger (which you can still read here – ha!) and in the beginning, only my mom and a few high school friends read my content.

While I had no idea what I was doing, I read blogs daily about everything from tech trends to high fashion to learn more about blogging and how to become better at it. Determined, I decided to keep going as I noticed blogging was becoming more than a short-lived web trend and turning into a lucrative full-fledged industry.

2009 In summer 2009, I won Miss Liberia USA and married Chris six weeks later.

During the same year, I completed internships with local Atlanta sports radio station 790 The Zone as a promotions intern and street team manager and then later with Brown Forman as a marketing intern for Jack Daniels and Gentleman Jack.

The experience I gained from the internships taught me how to successfully promote and market a brand to specific audiences. Little did I know that I would soon be using this new skill for my own blog. With much more attention on me after the pageant, I decided to take blogging more seriously and finally bought a domain.

My goal?

To turn blogging into my full-time job.

As glamorous as I swore the blogging life would be, the money took years to come in.

I held out of getting a “real” job but that lead to our car repossessed and electricity turned off for a couple of months. In 2011, I took a corporate gig as a showroom manager for a national houseware company while blogging on the side with my first blog, Mattieologie.com. It was when I got my new 9 to 5 that my blog began to grow.

2014 In September 2014, Chris and I had our first child, Maizah Rose after being married for 5 years. From 2012 to 2015, I worked with national brands like Cotton, H&M, JCPenney, and more while maintaining my 9 to 5.

2015 In June 2015, I started blogging full time after being let go from my “good job.”

While I was excited about being a full-time blogger and influencer — my goal from the beginning — it was certainly hard because I was a new mom as well. My income was steady with brand partnerships but waiting for checks to come in at net 30 (or 60 or 90) definitely was a test of patience and not always ideal for monthly bills. Many of my followers asked me how to start a blog and work with brands and so I started teaching masterclasses in the summer of 2015. The goal was to host online classes with 25-30 people to bring in some extra income. My first masterclass sold 113 spots.

life lesson

But while my business was soaring, my marriage and home life were being put on the back burner.

2016 In 2016, Chris and I separated. In transparency, this was definitely a result of me putting work over my family while dealing with depression.

Spoiler alert: Chris and I are still married, but this time happily.

My work is a priority but only AFTER my family. What I learned is that things have to go in order. Because when things are out of order — they don’t work.

After months of therapy, counseling and intentionally speaking each other’s love languages — we’ve found our rhythm. We realized that we wanted to put in the work to stay married more than we wanted to get a divorce.

In 2017, Chris and I reconciled our marriage and I ended Mattieologie to start MattieJames.com.

When I started blogging, I mainly talked about style and beauty on Mattieologie. It was inevitable that I had grown to a place where family, home, lifestyle, and outfits were all things I wanted to talk about and that my audience had questions about as well. It was a new chapter with lots of uncertainty, but I was certain I needed to stretch myself to a new level.

2017 In spring 2017, I became pregnant and both my personal and professional life began to take new shape and reach new levels. This was a pivotal year for me not only because of our family expanding but also because of my growth as an influencer.

My brand partnerships that year were lucrative and consistently more than ever before.

And while that was a good thing, it was also quite the learning curve. I had to learn some hard but necessary lessons on managing my team, meeting (and exceeding) expectations, and managing money.

2018 In January 2018, Chris and I welcomed our second child, Caliana Lily. And the rest of 2018 would be a whirlwind — a good one, though. I worked with brands like TJ Maxx, JOHNSON’S, State Farm, and Olay as an influencer while putting a pause on launching online resources and classes as an entrepreneur. Teaching content creators and influencers was still something I loved to do but was so busy with influencer work that I didn’t have the time (or need) to launch courses that year. Plus, the transition from 1 to 2 kids was more difficult for me than I expected. I had to get used to my new juggling act.

Motherhood challenges me in ways that my business does not.

But the lessons I learn from motherhood equip me for some hard and inevitable situations in my business.

And while I never believed that having a family and being an entrepreneur was something that I would have to sacrifice for another — this chapter made me truly understand just how intense it would be. Towards the end of 2018, we actively started looking for a new home.

2019 When 2019 arrived we had a good idea on the home we wanted to buy. Because we went with a new build, it would take 6-7 months we could move in and in the meantime, we had to get our current house ready (and organized!) to be sold. And while we were convinced that we would be a family of 4, God had other plans. We learned that we were pregnant with baby #3 in the spring and while excited, it lit a fire under us to get our ducks in order. We sold our first home in August 2019, moved in with Chris’ parents for 8 weeks (we thought it would be 2), and closed on our new home in October 2019.

Truly, the years have flown by. By the time we moved into the new house, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas 2020 happened what seemed like a couple of days after each other. The new baby (our first boy!) was predicted to be born in mid-January, but he had other plans.

2020 On New Year’s Day of 2020, we welcome Christian Melokhule to the world. Not only was it special that he was born on New Year’s but he was born on my father-in-law’s birthday as well. To share a birthday with his grandfather is so special.


I think we can all agree: 2020 was quite the year.

Chris and I decided to keep the kids home for the majority of the year. This meant virtual school for our oldest and caring for our two youngest while maintaining full-time workloads the new norm.

While the unprecedented year was difficult, it proved to be the most successful year for the business. MattieJames.com as a blog and business has never been so visible and continues to grow at a steady pace. I pivoted my content to lean noticeably more into home and lifestyle. It was also then I started BOSSFLUENCE and relaunched my signature course, Pitch Please.

2021 At the top of 2021, Chris left his corporate gig to take the role of COO at The Mattie James Company. With both of us now working on the business side, I’m excited to see what the future holds.

I also signed my first book deal with Worthy Books/Hachette and my first book is scheduled to be released in 2022.

Big News

The last 10+ years have been quite the journey.

There have been ups and there have been downs. But when I look back at everything I’ve been through, I realize that all of the dreams I’ve had — having a family, becoming a full-time influencer, working with household name brands, helping other influencers make money, and making the kind of money where my husband could leave his full-time gig & we could work together — have come true. What I know for sure is that God has the last word in my life.

Mattie currently resides in Atlanta with her husband, Christopher, and children Maizah, Caliana, and Christian.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 NIV