In 2012, Diamond Craig was lost. With a college degree in biology from York College, the then 23-year-old was stuck in a dead-end temp job with no chance of progression. It didn’t help that she was also feeling stagnant in her five-year toxic relationship with her high school sweetheart. Searching for her purpose, she decided to take her pain and channel it into a journal, but she wasn’t sitting in her room with a pen in hand. She chronicled her millennial matters online in blog form and titled it “Purposefully Pretty.”
“I thought that people who would read it would be inspired, could learn something and could relate,” the 28-year-old Queens, NY native said. “I wanted to share my story in hopes that it would help someone else.”
Craig’s posts talked about relationship problems, finding her purpose, work-related issues and also highlighted women of color in the media who embodied Black girl magic. After a few months, a light bulb went off and she decided to turn her blog into a nonprofit to benefit Black girls and women.
“I wanted to see the people who were reading my blog and have a wider reach,” Craig explained. “In October of 2012 I contacted some people who had the same values as me and I asked if they wanted to come together and create a group where we could figure it out together. By November 2012 we had our first ‘Purposefully Pretty’ meeting.”
Since then, the Purposefully Pretty team, which consists of all Black women, has hosted events like the “Big Sister Brunch,” a ‘Self-Care Fair,” “TrapAerobics,” a vision board workshop and annual anniversary luncheons. Besides their “GoalsTakingAction” Mentorship program, they also have ‘Purposefully Pretty in Medicine,” a pre-professional program for young women interested in medical careers. During prom season, young women who are high school seniors have a chance to get a prom dress through the ‘Prom Makeover Essay Contest” as well.
[The media] tries to dumb [Black women] down and mute us, It’s my duty to highlight women of color and show that we are so much more than that,” Craig said.
Although Craig had no experience with nonprofit work when she decided to create her own, she didn’t let that discourage her. She said “Google was my friend” as she researched and found out how to start a nonprofit, write business plans and what an incorporation is. With no guidance, she made her vision come to fruition.
Five years later, Purposefully Pretty has been featured on NY1, recognized by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio at the African American Women Who Lead Summit and given a Citation of Honor by Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. Craig was also nominated as a Champion of Change in 2016, President Obama’s White House Initiative to highlight women of color. The organization has even been featured on a news segment in South Africa.
Now that Purposefully Pretty is established and evolving, Craig is going back to her original blueprint to chronicle the next chapter of her life: going to medical school. On July 8th, she will be launching DiamondCraigPP.com to show her trials and tribulations as an aspiring physician and post opportunities for fellow medical students. Through her site she can also be booked to speak at empowerment events or bring her eight-week Purposefully Pretty workshop series to a venue near you.