"The internet picture of their lives is planned to every last detail"
By Kirsty Dowdall
Ever since I was young I've been an avid ‘Instagram-girl’. I followed all the influencers, as soon as stories were introduced I watched all of those too. I gawked at the seemingly perfect morning bodies and workout outfits and ‘baddie’ makeup looks.
Yes, I was that person, and I’m really not ashamed of it. Society has moulded most women to feel like this at some stage.
But being an influencer is a job and not a lifestyle. Most ladies who have those perfect outfits and perfect makeup are paid to appear that way as a career. It can be hard to distinguish this sometimes when you feel envious that you don’t have the things they do, or the large following that hypes them up one cut crease after another.
However, many influencers gain their internet popularity through other jobs such as modelling, makeup artistry or YouTube. It’s easy to think their sponsorships and followers appeared out of thin air but a lot of social media workers have gained their influence through a lot of hard work.
Take New York University sports management graduate and fashion model Louisa Warwick for example. Warwick has amassed a huge 120 thousand followers on her Instagram account. “ I was primarily a fashion model and NYU student when my Instagram followers started to jump so I was never just an influencer,” she told me.
“I did a Calvin Klein campaign and they posted me twice so my followers jumped significantly in the space of a week. I also worked for GQ, they posted me and my followers jumped again”
Warwick explained that social media is one of her three jobs. Primarily she runs her company Social Acceleration Group as well as modelling in New York City.
Warwick feels, in general, there isn’t a lot of hard work put into the job of being an influencer if the internet popularity comes to you by chance.
“It is an easy ‘job’. I do think it’s important to realise if you are not famous you have to have a unique selling point in order to be a successful influencer though."
For example, are you really funny? Are you very fashionable?... Are you able to take aesthetically pleasing photographs?” she explained.
Billie Leanne, a body-positive influencer who primarily works with brands on Instagram to build up her social media presence feels differently.
“People think it’s just taking photos but there is so much more behind it such as email, working to briefs, regular posting and correct lighting," Billie told me.
She admits that when you work on Instagram you have to take into account different things than your average office job. Working with your audience, growing your account authentically, emailing companies and making sure you have the right set up are but a few behind-the-scenes parts of the job she mentions.
The desire for the influencer job is understandable. The internet picture of their lives is planned to every last detail. We only see one out of hundreds of photographs they take. We see planned outfits in brand new clothes they’ve received from a company.
A 2019 survey by Morning Consult that surveyed 2,000 Americans aged 13-38 about influencer culture found 86 per cent would post sponsored content for money. It also found that 54 per cent would become an influencer if given the chance.
Influencers aren’t just ‘pretty women’ who companies send products to. It’s clear the difficulty of the job depends on whether or not your following and influence were thrust upon you by influence and popularity gained from your other careers, or whether you are gradually working hard to build a social media career.
Either way, constant time in front of the camera, editing, emailing companies, planning content and social branding isn’t for everybody. But, if you have a unique personality, look or approach to your social media content it’s always possible your unique selling point or creativity could develop into a career.
There is no doubt being an influencer is a job for an empowered, self-aware and creative person.