Herficionado: The Instagrammer and Influencer Making Moves in The Male Dominated Cigar World
HERficionado is a major player in the Instagram game. With over 13,000 followers, she has become a huge influence for female aficionados online. You just have to take a look at her latest posts to see what sort of things she’s been up to in the cigar industry.
As is unfortunately common knowledge, the cigar world is predominantly male orientated, with many brands/cigar merchants etc. tailoring their products/content for the male population. But the amount of women who smoke cigars has been on the increase, with Cigar Aficionado reporting that the amount of females smoking cigars in the US alone has risen to about 2% from 1/10% recorded in the 1980s, which amounts to around 3.2 million women - which we think is a pretty impressive amount. HERficionado, also known as Octavia Toliver, is creating a space for these women to smoke and share in the community through her campaign #shesmokestoo.
HERficionado is based in Atlanta, United States of America, but travels around with her job…we caught up with her last week after her trip to Dubai to get to know her and her drive a little better.
How old were you when you first started smoking and what was your first cigar?
I was about 24 and I believe it was a Java.
Your Instagram bio says that you give the feminine perspective on Cigar culture. What do you mean by that?
Cigar-smoking is traditionally a “man’s thing” and we accepted this for many years. However, the female smoker’s population is growing, and we are carving our own lanes in the community. I am the quintessential “girly girl” from the makeup to dresses to 5-inch heels! BUT I love my cigars as well! She Smokes Too!! HERficionado represents that in everything that I do. From my social media images to my events, they are always very female-friendly.
How long have you been known as HERficionado?
I created HERficionado as a brand and social media page 2 years ago, in 2016.
Has your life changed in anyway because of Instagram?
When I’m out and about, it still feels strange that people I’ve never met know my name. I’ll be at a grocery store and someone will say “Hey HERFICIONADO!! I follow you on IG!” I always feel flattered and grateful.
Recently, Instagram has been getting a bad rap for being negative. Do you think Instagram does good or bad?
Instagram is great! It has allowed me to grow my following much faster than I would have been able to without it. IG creates a way for entrepreneurs, businesses, and influencers to reach their target market directly and with immediate feedback!
You are a creator of the #SheSmokesToo campaign. Can you tell us more about that?
My first She Smokes Too event was in 2016. When I began smoking many years ago, I couldn’t find the types of events that I wanted to be part of. I was a young woman and felt intimidated walking into a cigar lounge with 99% men. I know there are lots of things women who are interested but feel that same intimidation. She Smokes Too is a safe place to explore the cigar lifestyle.
What happens at these cigar events?
Networking, mixing, flirting, drinking and smoking! I choose great venues, great DJ’s and partner with great brands so that the guests have an unforgettable time!
- And you’re also a writer and ambassador for UpScale Magazine. What do you write about there?
Yes, Upscale Magazine chose me to be part of their ambassador program because they wanted women who are innovative and making a difference in their respective fields. I write about the Cigar lifestyle and everything it entails. My goal is to share my experiences with Upscale’s readers.
Wow, you’re busy! What does your ideal day look like?
I wake up, take my daughter to school, do a little work, eat some lunch with a nice cocktail and a smoke, do more work, pick daughter up, and wind down with my family. My days are not usually like this, but a girl can dream can’t she?
Speaking of dreams, if money was no object what luxury item would you buy?
A private jet!
Wouldn’t that be nice! You’ve been in the cigar world a while now, what’s your favourite thing about the industry?
We agree, it’s something like no other. And what’s your least favourite?
The snobbery of some cigar smokers. The ones who pass judgement on others based on what they’re smoking and how frequently they smoke. It’s ridiculous.
Can you tell us more about Atlanta Cigar Week and Dubai Cigar week?
Atlanta Cigar Week is something that my team and I founded in 2017. Its goal was to showcase the offerings Atlanta has within the Cigar community. We had a week of events, and people flew in from all over to attend. This year, September 17th-23rd, will be bigger and better! Dubai Cigar Week came about as a result of my first successful ‘She Smokes Too’ event which was held there last year. We decided to do an entire week this year! I just returned last week and it was amazing! The travellers from the States had a wonderful time, so that is a success to me!
What are your hopes for the future?
I am looking to expand my brand into different markets and create some cool partnerships!
We’ll keep an eye out for those! What is your favourite Cuban cigar brand and your favourite cigar?
I don’t have a favourite, but there are several that I like. You can’t go wrong with Partagas Serie D No. 4 and Montecristo No. 2 for sale on your website. I also enjoy the Liga L40, Padron 1964 and many others, including some boutique brands.
Who do you look up to the most in the cigar industry?
I look up to all of the ladies in the industry who are working diligently alongside their male counterparts! I also look up to the small brands who are coming out swinging, and fighting to get their cigars out there! These are courageous people. They are creating their own lanes and I respect that!
We’ve got small and big brands on egmcigars.com. If you could have any of the cigars for sale on our website which one would you choose and why?
Wow! You have such a lovely selection!! I’d have to say the H. Upmann No.2 Reserva Cosecha. I haven’t tried one before so that would be my choice!
Thanks HERficionado, we think that one’s pretty special too. What is your motto?
My motto is “Smoke with the boys without BEING one of the boys!” It just means that I feel women should maintain their femininity even when surrounded by the opposite sex! I can be around 10 guys, but I still want to be myself. I don’t ever want to feel like I have to water myself down or make myself small to fit in or to make someone else comfortable with my presence.
And lastly, what is your idea of perfect happiness?
Perfect happiness is doing what you love to do with people who love and support you! 💋💨
HERficionado was such a pleasure to interview and we think her campaign is something to be admired. Go follow her Instagram and if you’re in Atlanta be sure to go to one of her events, they sound incredible.
Let us know what you think of this interview in the comments below and let us know what you would ask some of the interesting and inspiring people we’ve been interviewing lately.