Charlotte Evans Russell’s Instagram account boasts more than 76,000 followers and she uses her account and blog to help women create the home of their dreams. But growing up, Charlotte never had a stable home.
When she was 6 months old, police officers found her in a cardboard box in an empty house. Her sister had hidden her there to protect her from her abusive father. Eventually, her mother regained custody but was soon after killed in a double homicide. Charlotte spent years in the foster care system bouncing from home to home and ultimately turned to drug, but her love for God, however, motivated her to make a change.
Today, Charlotte is married and has the stable and happy home she always wanted. Through her Instagram account, Charlotte’s followers got a behind-the-scenes look into her renovation of a Gadsden farmhouse she and her family moved into in 2018. She’s been featured in magazines like The Cottage Journal and American Farmhouse Style. She uses her Instagram account to share inspiration for home decor, beauty and fashion as well as to minister to other women, sharing bible passages and taking prayer requests. We’re excited to introduce our newest FACE of Birmingham, Charlotte Evans Russell.
After struggling with substance abuse, how did you turn your life around?
I’ve always had love for the Lord, even when I didn’t serve him. Even when I was on drugs, I would journal and write about how much I loved the Lord. The first bible I bought, I bought with money from selling drugs. I lived in this drug-infested, run-down extended-stay motel. I would drag my mattress from my bedroom into the TV area and watch T.D. Jakes and Paula White. I made the decision to go to the Home of Grace. I knew it was Christian-based. I wanted to have a relationship with the Lord, and the only way I could do that was to be free from drugs.
What inspired you to start your Instagram account?
I’ve always loved to take pictures, and I’ve always loved to decorate, so when I found out about this home decor community on Instagram, I wanted to be a part of that. When I moved to Gadsden and started the remodel, it just took off.
Why do you think your Instagram account has been so successful?
The home decor community is just a great community of people that love to decorate and support one other. People love the farmhouse style and fixer-uppers. Our house wasn’t in bad shape, but I did remodel everything, and people enjoyed it. Then I started sharing more than just the home, especially in Instagram Stories. I connect on every area. I basically live my life in Stories and share some of the “behind the scenes” of my family and ministry. People love to see behind the pretty pictures. They like to see real life. I think that’s what has really helped me grow. And it’s turned into a business because I can collaborate with companies through influencer marketing.
What does it take to create a happy home?
I never knew what it was like to have a home, and now to have the happiest home … it’s truly because of the Lord. When you give your life to the Lord, it’s like everything changes and it becomes easy to know the right way to live. As long as I just put the Lord first in everything, it’s really pretty easy to have a happy home.
Why is home decor so important to you?
My house is my creative outlet. I didn’t realize that to begin with. I was that person who always thought I wasn’t creative. Then it hit me after a year of having Instagram that my house is like my canvas. When I decorate, it really is a work of art to me because it gives me the ability to just create. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. Most of my stuff is found at thrift stores.
What advice would you give to other people who want to be Instagram influencers and work with brands the way you do?
Be true to yourself and do what you love. I never expected this to grow when I started it. I never even dreamed that this would become a business for me. But the more that I did what I loved and when I branched out doing more than just home decor and started sharing all things that I love, that’s when I really started seeing the sales because you can use affiliate links. Women are interested in a lot of things. Your tribe will naturally gravitate to you if you’re doing what you love and you’re authentic.
What do you like to do when you’re not working on your home, Instagram or blog?
What I enjoy is chilling out and watching TV with my husband. And that’s something he had never really done until he married me because he’s a very driven, type A, goal-oriented person who never rests. And I’m the opposite. I’m chill and relaxed, the creative one. So, we balance each other well. We love “Chicago P.D.” We watch “This Is Us,” and currently we’re watching “60 Days In.”
When you’re in the Birmingham area, where are some of your favorite places to go?
What’s your best piece of advice?
Timing is everything. A lot of times, we have to walk through a process to get to the promise. In any area of our life, there’s always a process to go through. Just let that season cultivate in us whatever needs to be cultivated so that it will grow when we do step into the promise.
Name three things you can’t live without.
Mascara, my slippers and my daily dance breaks
Thank you, Charlotte! All photos courtesy of Charlotte Evans Russell.
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