Lifestyle blogger, no.1 best-selling author and entrepreneur Niomi Smart is at the helm of her digital empire, which boasts over 5 million social media followers and 100 million YouTube views. Niomi’s healthy outlook on food and mental and physical health have inspired her global audience to look, live and feel better.
Niomi Smart is as charming in person as she appears on screen. She has an endearing child-like giggle that pops up and interrupts almost every sentence that spills from her lips. Her smile is infectious, and as I would soon discover, she smiles a lot.
Niomi has a natural grace even when dressed in casual clothes. She wore jeans and a green knitted jumper underneath a beautiful camel coloured knee-length coat, cinched at her petite waist. Her skin is lightly tanned and flawless, and her golden hair spills like a waterfall down her back.
Niomi sipped on a cup of Matcha green tea as she recalled her first foray into blogging. After graduating from university with a law degree, Niomi thought she had her life figured out. She spent time in Los Angeles enjoying a taste of freedom before heading home to Brighton to pursue a career in law. However, it was never meant to be.
She confessed: “If I were really passionate about pursuing law then nothing would have stopped me, but I’d always had my doubts. The thought of what I would do afterwards that bothered me. If I’m not passionate about it now, how am I going to do this for the rest of my life?”
Niomi is close friends with some of the biggest names in YouTube, such as Zoella, Tanya Burr and Jim Chapman. After she graduated, they persistently encouraged Niomi to create her own blog, and after a while, she relented.
She said graciously: “I honestly think that if it weren’t for them, I would never have started my blog. They pushed me to do it, and for such a long time. I thought I’ve got nothing to lose; I’ll give it a go.”
She added: “Some people have been blogging for over ten years, and they had become successful. That was one of the reasons that initially held me back from starting my blog; I thought there wasn’t any room for new bloggers, that it was too late, but once I began blogging, it felt like my life was a puzzle and I’d fitted the last piece, I’m so glad that I went for it.”
After the stratospheric success of her blog, Niomi founded her YouTube channel and began showcasing her plant-based diet, fitness and beauty regimes. This proved hugely popular with her audience, and Niomi has since garnered over 1.7 million subscribers.
Niomi confessed: “After I had left university, I didn’t feel good about myself. I’d been eating terribly and hadn’t been paying attention to how it was affecting me. I felt tired and lethargic; I knew I had to do something about it.”
She continued: “I started to educate myself. I began cooking from scratch and learning a few recipes; then I discovered the plant-based diet.”
Niomi had never been vegetarian, let alone vegan, but after she discovered the health benefits of eating a plant-based diet, she decided to try it.
She admitted: “After the first day I already felt better in myself, so I did it for another day. It’s been two and a half years, and I haven’t looked back. It seems like a lot, to cut out dairy, meat and eggs but I don’t miss them.”
Niomi began posting a few plant-based recipes on her blog, and they proved extremely popular with her viewers. Niomi started collecting recipes in a scrapbook and over time she accumulated over 150 recipes. It was then that she began envisioning turning them into a recipe book.
She said excitedly: “I had meetings with every publisher that I could think of in London. I sat down with a lot of them but my absolute favourite was Harper Collins, they totally got my vision.”
She added: “I was so hands on with every element of creating my book Eat Smart, it was like my baby. I needed to be involved with everything. I helped choose the font, the design, the layout. Harper Collins were remarkable; they have the most incredible design team and editors.”
Eat Smart was an instant success and quickly climbed up the list to become an Amazon No.1 bestseller. Niomi also co-founded SourcedBox, a snacking service for the health conscious that is delivered to your work or home every month. Whether through cooking or snacking, Niomi’s mission was to show her viewers how amazing and delicious eating smart can be.
As well as promoting physical health, Niomi is also passionate about raising awareness of mental health. Three children in an average classroom live with a mental illness. Until now, a lack of research means too many grow up in the dark without effective help and hope. Niomi is working alongside MQ, a charity that works closely with leading scientists to find answers and improve treatments. She recently appeared in the groundbreaking new MQ swear campaign to show that ‘it is time to give a fuck about mental illness’.
When Niomi isn’t hiding away in the kitchen creating recipes, she is exploring Paris with Dior, attending the Cannes Film Festival with L’Oreal and hanging out backstage with Max Factor at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show.
Niomi laughed and shook her head in disbelief. She cradled her teacup in her hands and continued: “Sometimes I have to pinch myself, the opportunities I’ve had are unbelievable. This life never becomes normal. It’s such a privilege. I was in Paris twice within the space of three weeks, and I still can’t believe that this is real life.”
However, even the most incredible jobs have their downsides and the weight of responsibility to be a positive role model to her audience weighs heavily on Niomi’s shoulders.
She admitted: “It is so incredibly difficult because I am just an ordinary girl, I never set out to be a role model, so it does add a certain pressure. I am very aware that I have a younger following, so I do have a responsibility to keep it real.”
She added: “It is incredible how the Internet is its own community that brings people together. When I was growing up, the thought of having a friend in America, Singapore or Australia felt so out of reach, but now it’s possible! The internet gives people all over the world the opportunity to have a strong connection with one another.”