YouTube Vlogger Pens Inspirational Book



Nina Ellis-Hervey writes book and co-stars in web series.

She made her first video in 2008 after a friend encouraged her to share her story about her 100-pound weight loss. “It really just started because I wanted to tell my story. I didn’t expect anything from it.”

After returning to her first video a year later, Nina saw that she was embraced by viewers who had questions not only about her weight loss but about her natural hair. “The thought is if you work out that much, you’re gonna sweat your hair out,” she said. “I thought to work it in with the whole  holistically healthy lifestyle thing and try to get them to see that it is not just about your hair. It’s about all parts of your body and being healthy.”

Scrolling through the 200 plus videos on her Beautifulbrwnbabydol channel will lead you to coily hairstyle tutorials and product reviews, fitness tips and even how to deal with unsupportive family. In front of leopard backgrounds or in the comfort of her Texas home, Nina shows you how to do your hair like a sister and dishes out well informed fiery opinions like the best friend everyone wants. She pulls viewers and subscribers in with her silvery voice, welcoming persona and personal, uplifting stories.

“I can remember specifically one of Jay Z’s drummers,” she recalled. “He was heavyset guy. He wrote me one night and said, ‘I’ve watched your videos and you are truly a star. I’ve been contemplating getting on this weight loss thing because I feel like I am always the guy in the background.’ That was just kind of motivating to me.”

Her mother was once surprised by her daughter’s fierce tongue in a rebuttal video towards “The Talk” co-host Sheryl Underwood, who called afro-textured hair nasty. “She didn’t hold back,” her mother said. “She just stood firm and talked to Sheryl or anybody who didn’t like their natural hair. She lashed out on her and I said ‘oh my goodness, Nin’!’”

Though she is heavily admired now, she didn’t impress everyone back at Williams Temple Church of God and Christ on Union Boulevard and Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive in St. Louis.

“I didn’t like her,” said Corstella Henley, her best friend of 21 years. “I truly thought she was a know-it-all. Nina has always been smart, truly a wiz kid, so she would be that girl that would give you that random stuff. It was like Nina, nobody cares.” Once Corstella recognized some of her own qualities in Nina—as many of her YouTube followers do—they eventually hit it off.