#FM Feline

#FMFeline: Tanyka Renee travels for life, and for a living

#FMFeline: Tanyka Renee travels for life, and for a living

Tanyka Renee

Indonesia and Bermuda are among Tanyka Renee’s past treks

Travel influencer Tanyka Renee is carving her own lane while climbing towards 130,000 fans on Instagram alone. Her undeniable beauty and fashion sense– combined with her content management and business experience, openness, and grace– have made her documented travel adventures wildly successful across social media platforms and the blogosphere. While you may know her for her successes in modeling, the former Lingerie Football League, or reality television, Tanyka is also a seasoned journalist, holistic nutritionist, and author. Through traveling, she discovered another passion, and a key to her happiness. Delve deeper in this exclusive FM Hip Hop interview with #FMFeline Tanyka Renee.


FM HIP HOP: How did you get started in the travel space?

TANYKA RENEE: It happened by mistake. I started off just traveling, and then I started writing articles for Bombshell [by Bleu Magazine]– I came in as the Fitness Editor because I was playing football at the time. Then I fell in love with traveling, so I said, “Let me start writing about my travels.” And people started following.

I’m a firm believer of putting into the universe what you want. I realized that I wasn’t really happy. I spent a lot of years not being happy, and I didn’t know what my definition of happiness was. I was just so confused and lost. I just asked the universe and asked God, “What will truly make me happy?” And it took substance, traveling, learning different cultures, and really exploring and getting out of my comfort zone. I realized that’s what made me happy.

We didn’t grow up in social media. Social media was kind of thrown on us, so we had to adjust. I’m very ambitious, so I saw the benefits of social media. I found myself trying to fit into people’s niches, or doing things because I thought that it was cool because that’s what everyone else was doing. I had to really go through a spiritual awakening and find myself.

FM: It looks like a fun and fulfilling experience to visit such exotic locations. But behind the scenes, is it actually a lot of work?

TR: In the beginning, I would travel for so long and I was backpacking, and I wasn’t make any money. I was scraping up dollars to eat– but I was still enjoying it. If I had to choose, I still would do it for free. But once I realized, “Okay, I can make money doing this,” I started saying yes to every job that was thrown my way. I was going places and I was covering the shopping life, and that’s not me. I enjoy the food, the music, and that part of the culture. And when I’m writing about that or documenting it, it doesn’t feel like work because that’s what I love to do.

FM: How do you choose which destinations to visit and document?

TR: Sometimes the destinations are based off of a vibe. For example, I saw all these different pictures of flamingos floating around, and I found out they were in Aruba. I had never seen a flamingo in real life. I said, “I want to go there.” I found a sponsor, which happened to be a bathing suit sponsor, and I flew out to Aruba. I wanted to create that vibe.

Sometimes it might be a job I hear about. The tourism department of Greece sent out an email, “We’re looking for influencers to come to Greece. Do you want to come?” Sometimes it may be based off an event. I’ll be going this summer to Barbados for Crop Over.

FM: I’m sure you’ve had so many unbelievable experiences across the globe. Do any moments stand out as especially awe-inspiring?

TR: Colombia. Colombia is an amazing place. It was very empowering being a black female and going to Colombia by myself. Seeing Colombian black females, and they were calling me “la reina,” which means “queen.” They would walk up to me and embrace me. They knew that I wasn’t Colombian– they actually thought I was Brazilian. Then they’re like, “Oh, you’re American!” and they would ask me questions. It was just the energy, the salsa, the food… I felt like I was in Africa but I was in Colombia. I felt connected to it. I was in Cartagena, Colombia, which happened to be one of the stops [during the slave trade].

FM: Do you have a team that travels with you or are these mostly solo travels?

TR: Sometimes I do have a team. It depends on what mood I’m in. When I’m trying to really document everything, I prefer a team. I’ll have a photographer, videographer, an assistant (I prefer someone who does makeup or a little styling just to help touch me up when I’m on camera, just to make sure that I look good). Usually, I travel by myself, which is also amazing because I get to explore and I figure out what I like, and what I want to do. It’s really me coming in and writing and documenting and experiencing it. When you have other people with you, you tend to talk and not be present and in that moment.

FM: Do you have any tips for people, especially women, who are traveling to a foreign country?

TR: My tip for other women is don’t be afraid. Do know the risks; do know what countries to be careful in. Be respectful to different cultures with [clothing]. We don’t want to offended, we want to respect other cultures. Always tell family members where you’re going. You can share your location on your phone– get portable wifi, which is $10 a day, if that. Be aware of your surroundings, communicate. I think a lot of women get scared to travel by themselves because they are scared of the safety [concerns]. I’m traveled to India and Turkey, which are said to have the highest rape rates in the world, and I felt comfortable. Some other women have had bad experiences, and I’m not taking away from their experiences, but just be careful. Be aware?

FM: Do you speak any other languages?

TR: I try to learn the basics. I know a little Arabic, French, and Spanish. I don’t want to be rude. I think as Americans, sometimes we don’t take into consideration that it’s not all about us. I don’t want to go to another country and just start speaking English to someone who doesn’t speak English. That’s not their first language. Like in France, I would say, “Do you speak English? Parlez-vous Anglais?” And I say a greeting.

FM: What are your upcoming travel destinations?

TR: Barbados for Crop Over, Greece, and then Fashion Week starts so I’ll be hitting all the Fashion Weeks. I’ll be doing London, Paris… I plan on hitting up some of the Asian Fashion Weeks. I’m excited for that because that’s something new for me.

FM: What’s next for your brand?

TR: I’ve been inspired by my grandmother. She’s a missionary, and she travels the world empowering other women. She visits orphanages and she also sponsors kids around the world. Her whole life, she’s put others first. I’m inspired by her, and I want to start something back. Growing up, there was this girl named Ramona Lebby. She sung for Disney Cruise [Line], and I thought it was so dope. Being a child, I saw it as the dream job. She works for Disney and she sings with the princesses. I thought it was so cool. She got to travel the world. I aspired to be like her. My whole life, her image always stuck in my head. “If she can do it, I can do it. She came from the same town as me, [New Britain, CT]. I can do it.”

As women, we need to start really talking to the younger generation and pushing them to do more, to be great. That they can achieve whatever they want. That’s what I want to do. I want to start traveling to different countries and showing young girls that they can travel like I do.

 

Follow Tanyka Renee on Instagram and Twitter at @jockintanyka, and like her Facebook fan page.

 

Brownie Marie | IG: @browniemarie| Twitter: @mz_brownie

Related Topics: #FMFeline: Beyonder’s Brittney Walker makes traveling a cultural journey

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Brownie Marie

June 21st, 2017

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