Creators I loved in 2017

First of all, I’ve been writing this blog post since October. OCTOBER. Since when did it ever take 3 months to produce a curated blog post?

Well, this one is pretty beefy and to be fair 2017 was an amazing year for creators. “Are you sure?” I hear you ask, with the fear of algorithm changes in your voice.


Heck yes, I’m sure. Because in the face of the internet’s changing goalposts some incredible creators fought their way to the top.

The only people who could survive 2017 were the people who put genuine heart, soul, passion and buckets of creativity into their work. The caliber of online content really has excelled despite the new struggles we face when sharing our work. I’m calling it early, 2018 is going to be an amazing year for creators. Challenges that we faced this year have only forced us to think outside of the box with our work; the time is now for beautiful editorials, inspiring podcasts and soul-baring think-pieces.

Online creators bloom wherever they’re planted. They let their hard graft do the talking and adapt to their surroundings. In 2017, I felt as if I was watching a content rebellion. Whilst social media companies limited our organic reach in a bid to line their own pockets, my favourite creators didn’t just survive they bloody flourished!

Here’s my (epic) list of incredible creators who did just that…

seasons greetings 🐥

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Amber Scholl
Amber’s personality is absolutely infectious and I always feel completely uplifted after watching her vlogs. She puts a comical spin on the ‘aspirational’ influencer lifestyle by sharing cheap DIY secrets and homemade E6000 versions of amazing celebrity outfits. Her motto ‘What if it doesn’t work out – ah, but what if it does?‘ helped me flip my ‘what if’ syndrome upside down and realise that I need to work on having a more positive outlook. I’m so glad she hit 1 milion subscribers this year – she’s worked bloody hard for it!


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Ariana Grande
The way Ariana Grande responded to what happened on May 22nd was incredible. Her resilience and love touched so many people this year, in Manchester and far beyond. Lives have been changed forever and whilst we can’t bring back those we’ve lost, Ariana played an integral role in the way our city healed. It’s still very surreal to think that an actual terrorist attack happened a few doors down this year. I attended the ‘One Love’ concert and saw a crowd of people in awe of her, some of whom were brave fans that attended the original event. A true professional, an amazing performer and apparently she’s now and honorary Mancunian.

Grace Victory
Obviously Grace was going to make it on the list, she’s had an epic year! A book launch, a show-stealing appearance in Nadia Rose’s music video and a raw TEDx talk to name just a few key moments. This year Grace taught me to ‘live my own truth’, which funnily enough is exactly what she wrote in my copy of No Filter. Her blog brings light to thousands of women and I’m calling it now, 2018 will be amazing for Grace.

Another cheeky little look at my bauble-inspired makeup ✨🎄#miasmerryhexmas

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Life with Maria
Maria’s make up artistry gives me life! Her 30 days of horror makeup posts were amazing and I was so excited to see her ‘Hexmas’ series too. Beauty trends and tutorials have an almost a drill Sargent feel to them these days, but Maria brings back the fun with her creativity. She also runs an excellent blog, tackling lifestyle topics beyond her incredible beauty editorials. Her recent post regarding the struggles of freelancing is a must-read for anyone thinking of going solo.

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If you haven’t listened to Joji’s new EP – In Tounges, stop what you’re doing and put it on right now. I’ve had this on repeat since it was released and I’m wishing away the days til 88 rising announce a UK tour. This year, Joji stepped away from a huge (pretty volatile) Youtube following and took a chance on new career. He had the guts to break away from what some people spend their life building and you really have to respect that. His new music is a total juxtaposition to what you might already know him and it’s definitely worth checking out.

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Emma Gannon
Ctrl Alt Delete was one of the most hilarious books I’ve ever read. It’s a trip down memory lane for the MSN generation that will leave you cringing with every anecdote. I loved it, so you can imagine my joy when I discovered the matching podcast! Emma’s work has been amazing this year and if you’ve been living under a rock then you’re actually a bit lucky because you can binge listen to all of her brilliant podcasts.

Rain falling. Yard sweeping. Skip filling. Kind of day.

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David Hieatt
Towards the end of 2016, I attended a Do Lecture down in London run by David Hieatt. This lead me down the rabbit hole and I was soon devouring everything ‘Do’ related in 2017. We use the Do teachings a lot in work, but I find myself also listening to the lectures on Youtube whenever I’m having a down day. Not only does David have some serious pearls of wisdom to share, he also has the ability to make you believe you can do anything (as long as you put the work in)… He also doesn’t take selfies on instagram so this is the best I could do.

Chloe Plumstead
How many times has Chloe hit the nail on the head this year with her blog posts? Pour yourself a cuppa and head over to the ‘think-pieces’ section on The Little Plum, I guarantee you’ll be binge reading for hours. Brilliant writing, excellent photography and a wardrobe I really wish I had.

Celebrating my WOMAN HOOD & VOICE every single damn day ! 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

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Princess Nokia
I feel like my list is mainly vloggers and bloggers but an honorable mention goes to Princess Nokia because I think about the way she speaks about herself in the Verified lyric explanation video every damn day. This is the level of self-confidence that I want to exude one day. Imagine coming back from a near death experience with this cool af attitude. What a woman, what a role model.

Foxxtailz – Jess Hayton
Did someone say double award-winning? Jess’ blog is absolutely amazing. Gorgeous editorials, playful outfits and a writing style that leaves you feeling like you really could dare to wear whatever you want. What I love the most about Jess’ blog is the authenticity behind every post. Each blog entry comes from a personal place and you never feel as if you’re being told how to dress – it’s more like you’re being empowered to develop your own style as you watch someone explore their own. I hope that makes sense!

First of all, Halima does not currently get the recognition she deserves. Her shoots are always amazing, her looks are always unique and her blog posts always have substance; she’s been perfecting her craft since 2009 for crying out loud. That’s all going to change in 2018. After appearing as a finalist at the Asian Media Awards and winning an accolade for being a ‘Photography Star’ at the 30 Plus Blogger Awards, the Fashionicide blog is finally getting the props it deserves.

I've been reduced to self-modeling with a selfie stick. Buy a t-shirt! (Link in profile!)

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Austin Kleon
This year, I learned more from Austin’s book ‘Show your work‘ than I did in all my 15 years of blogging. Sometimes you need someone to spell it our for you and Austin’s blog & books gave me (and many others no doubt) a much-needed wake up call. If you haven’t read his books already, you need to. Especially ‘Steal like an artist‘ which I’ll be writing about soon so keep ya eyes peeled.

Gin bar in Johannesburg🍸 not a bad day at work #bakkiestories

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Maya Jama
I’ve recently been loving ‘When Life Gives You Melons‘, a podcast presented by Maya and commissioned by Freya. Not only does she have a voice you could listen to all day, she also comes across as a proper down-to-earth gal. The podcast is full of hilarious anecdotes and definitely one that will brighten your commute.

I feel like the Sister of the Moon blog has gone from strength-to-strength this year. Amazing content; great images and thought-provoking posts. I love Kimberly’s outfit posts because no matter what she’s wearing, it always reflects her own personal style and has a cool grunge-girl feel to it.

SlumFlower – Chidera Eggerue
It’s been a mega year for Chidera – the Saggy Boobs Matter campaign, Radar Radio residency, multiple important appearances on mainstream media, the MOBO awards. Is there anything this gal can’t do? (No) Follow her on Twitter right now to instantly improve your feed.

Carrie Green
Carrie Green popped up on my radar at a time I needed a little helping hand. Since reading her book She Means Business I’ve been following all those ‘divine breadcrumbs’ and I’m working at a much higher output of creativity. Carrie’s book provided a refreshing break from the unrealistic business strategy books that don’t take into consideration the human side of building a brand.

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Ryan Mules
Ryan really is my breakout blogger of the year. His content comes from an authentic place and his outfit shoots are always spot on. As a male blogger, his personal style sets him apart and provides a refreshing break from the vom-worthy instaboys who still use the hashtag ‘#dapper’. His recent post ‘Does being an influencer mean anything?‘ is definitely worth a read for anyone in the creative industry.

Midnight & Lace – Robyn
I doubt it surprised anyone when Midnight & Lace won the Best New Blogger award at the Blogger’s Blog Awards. Robyn is an absolute babe! Her content is always relatable and you can tell that Robyn puts a huge effort into each post – I mean, who else would hand make a giant pair of scissor hands for a Halloween costume post? One piece I particularly loved was when she wrote about taking the ‘perfect’ photos and opened up about shoot standards in blogging. It’s something I always struggle with myself, because I love blogging but I cringe up in front of the camera, then overly criticise every image. The Midnight & Lace blog reminds me that I need to chill out and just enjoy blogging, rather than forcing myself into the mold.

Last week of filming on #Miss2059 😭 (📸: @selashiloniphoto)

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Anna Akana
I’ve been a subscriber of Anna’s Youtube channel for years and I’ve mentioned her on the blog a few times, she makes my list pretty much every year. Her new book ‘So Much I Want To Tell You‘ really struck a chord with me this year. It’s harsh look at the way relatives live on in the wake of suicide. Honest and raw, parts of this book are very hard to stomach especially when the content is close to the bone for a lot of us. I don’t want to ruin the book for you, it’s one of those that you really need to read in your own time.

Back home, back to business 👊🏾

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Patricia Bright
I love the way Patricia is willing to call bullshit on all the cheap ecommerce stores that keep popping up everywhere these days. Every time I see another drop-shipper pop up on instagram, I know there’s another one of Patricia’s videos on the way. She is hilarious and her style of frank fashion vlogging gives me life! One thing I really respect Patricia for is that she always clearly labels PR samples and is very upfront about collaborations, something some creatives would do well to replicate in 2018!

Olan Rogers
Let me get deep for a second, because Olan Rogers gives me hope for the entire internet age. When I was a teenager I would howl with laughter at his Youtube storytime videos, but unlike other Youtubers, Olan has managed to move his work onto completely different platforms. If you had a Tumblr account, you’ll probably know him as the ‘It’s a Monday‘ guy. Olan reminds me that it takes serious, repetitive, relentless, hard graft to get what you want in life. You can’t always go from 0 – 100 with the drop of a hat. I remember sitting in my university flat actually tearing up back in 2015 watching The Soda Parlor Doc and thinking ‘I would have given up by now’. That was 2 years ago. Now he’s working on Final Space – his own animation – with an insane cast including David-Fucking-Tennant. Imagine going from telling random childhood stories on Youtube to that! Anyone still reading this ode to Olan is invited to my Final Space watch party in 2018.

Birmingham, U.K. 🇬🇧 #OneMoreLight

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Chester Bennington
A name that would be criminal to miss, Chester Bennington stopped the world this year. It was a real shame to lose such an important voice in music & mental health. His passing shines a light on the issues men often face in silence. Pretty much everyone I know would say he had a profound effect on their teen years. Chester impacted a whole generation and I’ve no doubt his message will live on for years to come.

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  1. December 14, 2017 / 9:23 pm

    Omg wow. I really don’t know what to say. I think that’s the nicest thing someone’s ever written about me and what I [try] to do. Thank you so so much for the kind words. You’ve made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Such a great list of creators to be included with ❤️

  2. Hannah Gets Hench
    December 15, 2017 / 8:57 am

    Aw this post is amazing Jess! So many cool people which I hadn’t hard about, although I’m pleased to say I love many of this list. I’ve followed the ones I didn’t know about 🙂 xx

  3. December 15, 2017 / 9:58 am

    I’m still saddened by the death of Chester B. He was incredible. This is a great list Jess, I follow a couple already but will check out the others ASAP!

  4. Ellie
    December 15, 2017 / 11:15 am

    I love this post! I definitely need to check out some of the people you’ve listed!

  5. December 20, 2017 / 4:20 pm

    What a great post containing some real talent! Poor old Chester, though!! RIP!

    • Jess - Actual Philocalist
      December 20, 2017 / 6:51 pm

      🙁 it was so sad wasn’t it. Poor guy must have battled silently for so long.

  6. December 20, 2017 / 5:16 pm

    I only really know two of these people. Chester being the one I know most about, I was absolutely gutted along with the rest of the world when I heard the news x

  7. Hannah denton
    December 20, 2017 / 5:20 pm

    Ohhh, this sounds terrible but I haven’t seen any of these peeps before! I’m going to trust your recommendations and have a good look at them all now! Great Christmas reading

    • Jess - Actual Philocalist
      December 20, 2017 / 6:52 pm

      That doesn’t sound terrible at all, that’s quite exciting to here because you’ll (hopefully) find some creators you really love in this list. Maybe you have some recommendations I’ve haven’t heard of? We can swap :).

  8. December 20, 2017 / 7:47 pm

    a few new people for me to learn about here, so thats great. Completely agree about Arianna Grande, though – such awe for the awful situation she was in because of the terror attacks. I don’t think anyone can ever get over that kind of thing

  9. December 21, 2017 / 12:19 am

    What an amazing list of creators, I need to check out ctrlaltdelete I think – oh the days of MSN.. Yep definitely some cringe moments there!

    • Jess - Actual Philocalist
      December 21, 2017 / 9:34 am

      OMG Sarah you would LOVE it! There’s a whole chapter dedicated to talking to school friends and boys on MSN. It’s hilarious. I don’t want to spoil it for you but it’s so funny!

  10. December 21, 2017 / 12:54 am

    You have included some really fabulous creators, my favourite of which is Halima. It really baffles me how she does not get the credit that she deserves as she is so freaking talented! I really hope she gets big as she has been doing this for 8 years and deserves it!

  11. December 21, 2017 / 10:12 am

    Wow that is one hell of a list and some absolutely amazing people on there x

  12. December 21, 2017 / 1:56 pm

    So many new people for me to follow, thank you for this inspiring list – I’ll definitely be checking some of them out! 🙂

  13. December 21, 2017 / 4:16 pm

    I shall be checking out a lot of these people on the list as they sound like such wonderful people. I was amazed at the courage of Ariana following the Manchester Attacks

  14. Emily Leary
    December 21, 2017 / 6:01 pm

    This is such a nice thing to do, and a fantastic way of getting the word out about some really talented people 🙂

  15. adriana
    December 22, 2017 / 5:43 am

    Oh wow they all look amazing! I definitely am going to follow some of them. Great list!!

  16. Katrina
    December 22, 2017 / 7:49 am

    Great line up here. I’m a big follower of Grace Victory too

  17. December 22, 2017 / 7:52 am

    So great to see Grace Victory on here … she is such an inspiration to so many of us!

    C x

  18. December 22, 2017 / 9:54 am

    What a great list! They all look amazing and super creative and inspirational! I’ll check them all out!

  19. December 22, 2017 / 10:55 pm

    These are some incredible influencers! I’m going to check Maria Nikol out, not seen her before

  20. Hannah
    December 23, 2017 / 1:40 pm

    Apart from a few I haven’t had of these so I’m going to check them all out now! X

  21. December 27, 2017 / 10:33 am

    They are some pretty amazing people on here! Will have to check them all out