The beauty industry has changed a lot these past years. With the rise of social media, the introduction of influencers, and the recent pandemic, digital marketing has never been this important and crucial for your beauty brand. Don’t worry because joining Breanna and Karen today are beauty industry veterans and friends, Anya Kay and Nicolina Borelli. Anya is the Social Marketing Director of the renowned brand, BH Cosmetics. She has crafted her expertise and built long-standing relationships with influencers throughout her impressive career. Anya knows exactly what to look for amongst a crowd of up-and-coming influencers. Nicolina, on the other hand, burst into the beauty scene the other way around. She is a master influencer in the world of social media, with over 500k followers on Instagram and 150k on TikTok. Nicolina knows how to get videos that go viral, how to build an audience, and how to get high-profile collaborations and partnerships. Join them as they share their take on how the beauty industry is embracing this huge shift towards social media. Learn all about mental health, industry forecasts, and the future of social media from both an influencer and brand perspective.
Listen to the podcast here:
The Future Of The Beauty Industry In The World Of Social Media With Anya Kay And Nicolina Borelli
Expert Anya Kay And Influencer Nicolina Borelli Share Their Insight About How The Social Media Landscape Is Changing And What’s To Come.
We have amazing friends of the brand. We have Nikki French Makeup, who is an editor, influencer herself, and a viral TikToker. She’s an OG in the industry who’s so knowledgeable about everything there is to know about being an influencer. We also have Anya Kay in the house. She is the Social Marketing Director for BH Cosmetics. She has extensive experience in the beauty industry. I say this about every episode but we’ve got another amazing one for you.
We’re excited because we’ve known these people for a long time. These young ladies have been in our life for years and they inspire us every single day. We work closely with Anya and we also work with Nikki on a daily basis. They are inspiring and OG-ers. We’re going to talk about all the trends and everything that they have experienced on their side from an influencer and brand perspective. We get to talk about goals and things that are coming up. We’re so excited to learn from them.
It’s a long one so grab a snack, something to drink, sit back and relax. You’ll enjoy how candid and real everyone was. We talked a lot about authenticity and that’s something that we see a lack of on social media. This conversation was refreshing.
It’s so insightful and we learned a ton already so enjoy.
We are excited about this special episode. We have none other than these two amazing powerhouse women. We have Nicolina Borelli who the world also knows as Nikki French Makeup, viral TikTok Queen and OG YouTuber. We also have Social Marketing Director for BH Cosmetics, Anya Kay. She has so much experience in PR and working with influencers. She’s cultivated such amazing relationships. We can’t wait to pick both of your brains and talk about everything beauty with you.
I was talking about how I met you both. I didn’t meet Nikki. I was a follower. I saw her from afar. She was being escorted through IMAX in 2016 or maybe even 2015 with security. She had a security team and everybody was losing their minds over it. I also met Anya there. It’s been such a whirlwind. It’s been so amazing getting to know both of you, developing such amazing friendships with you and our brand. We truly do consider you guys OG-ers in the industry. This is going to be such a fun episode.
I’m excited to be on such an amazing show. This is like friends sitting down. We need to have some wine later.
Grab your drink and snack.
Get your Miami mimosa.
I can’t play it but I can pretend.
If you grab your mimosa, grab your coconut or LA coffee.
We’re all over the map. I am in Hawaii. Nikki is in Miami. Karen and Anya are both in LA. This is fun.
We’ve got all the coasts covered. Since we have such OGs in the house, I want to know from your perspective, how has the beauty industry changed since you started a completely different social media landscape.
When I started, people were still getting brand deals but it wasn’t to the extreme that it is now. For so many of us, it started with a love for beauty, makeup, skincare and hair products. The fact that people were hearing about how you can make money off of this talking about products that we love so much and playing with new different makeup. One of the biggest things within the industry is that it’s pushed all of these companies to come up with the most innovative, new and interesting formulas. Liquid lipsticks weren’t a thing when we first started this out. Some men know what liquid lipstick is. They’re just not into them. A lot has changed and that’s so amazing. We receive so many PR mailers. When I get something new and different, it’s still exciting. It’s different in a good way and sometimes in a bad way when you first start off and you’re doing it because you genuinely love makeup. A lot of people now, not everybody, but there are some people now that are on social media as a business. There’s nothing wrong with that but sometimes you lose the love and the creativity over as a beauty influencer.
Anya, what about you? Tell us how you got your start in the industry.
It’s crazy that you look at how things were and where they are now. As Nikki said, it’s so different from the influencer, management, marketing and trends perspective. When I got my start in the industry, I used to do a lot of things outside of beauty brands in particular. At first, I used to dabble in a lot of different event planning so I would force my way into events. I would contact anyone and everyone I knew and be like, “Can I produce an event for you?” That’s what you have to do. I was 18 or 19. I was in college. I was getting into PR marketing and doing my internships.
I was interning at CBS studios and I was slowly realizing that entertainment publicity wasn’t my thing and I wanted to start doing more events thing. I started doing beauty pageants and different pageants across the nation, helping people find sponsorships and find different vendors. I would help dress the girls. I would help them get their gowns and all the goodie bags and things like that. I started doing medical spa. They’re the spas that do Botox fillers, laser and all that. I started doing marketing and PR for those kinds of places and eventually, it led beyond marketing and PR. I started doing business development for these places and creating a lot of their business strategies. I would walk into a beauty spa, they would have 5,000 followers or 1,000 followers, and within a year they’ve grown to 150,000. I would develop their business strategies and help them better plan their sales, help plan the sales around influencers, and how influencers can help support if you are running a Botox special.
It was beyond PR marketing relations. It was also building up a business. I then made my way into beauty. At the time, I was also still working for some other PR agencies. Truthfully, it was not my place. I wasn’t happy. I was doing the type of PR that I realized I wouldn’t be fulfilled in. I want to say it’s more corporate PR. I know the agency I worked with was dabbling in Target, the Griffith Observatory, and a little bit of something to do with Elon Musk and such. I wasn’t interested. I found myself coming home so bored every day. I’m like, “I want more. I want to experience more. I want more thrill, more excitement, and I want to be passionate.”
The number one thing I always wanted to feel was passion. I felt that was lacking in my life. I realized where I feel happy and feel the most passion was when I was at these events or when I was at the medi-spa and working with influencers. I realized at the end of the day, it came down to one thing and it was building relationships. I realized through this whole process that was what fulfilled me the most. No matter where I went, that’s what made me happy. I made my way into beauty. I started working for some smaller beauty brands.
At first, I was freelancing and I found my way to a beauty brand I worked with prior for. I was there for roughly four years and I made my way to BH. It’s been cool to also come in and watch the brand develop and be part of such an important time of its growth. It’s such a vital part of that growth and being able to take it from one point to another. We’d been able to work through all the trends. We know trends change every year and every month. Every week we see something different. It’s interesting to see things changed to the drastic extent it has now.
We’ve seen the most change in the beauty industry within 2020. I would say overall within the last few years from makeup trends to the types of influences brands, they are going forward to the look they’re going for. So much has changed. We used to go from people who would not leave their house to the grocery store without doing full face contour. I was one of them. I’m talking about cream powder and everything. Now you’ll do a different style of makeup and you’ll have more fun with things. It’s where my history has led and it’s crazy to see how much of a transition there’s been. We can chat more about that if you guys want in terms of what we feel is the biggest change in the industry but a lot has happened over the years.
Speaking about the pandemic in particular, how have marketing strategies had pivot within 2020? Nicolina, for you as an influencer, how have you had to rethink your content creation during this time?
In the beginning, it was hard for a lot of us influencers because part of what makes our job so exciting is receiving those PR mailers. I get inspired by many different things now living in Miami. I’m looking at the water and that inspires me, but a lot of times, it’s the new innovative makeup that I want to play with that inspires me. In the beginning, for a lot of us, it was hard. Also, finding a balance of when they did start coming in much more heavily again. Also, not promoting it because there are a lot of people that lost their jobs and are in horrible circumstances. I know some of my influencer friends felt this way too. We don’t want to push it too much on people because we don’t want to say, “Look at everything that I got.” That was a hard balance.
What has happened that’s great from this is I feel like social media has come back to a little bit more of a community because people are back on it heavily again. They want to chat with people more. Yes, it’s about the beauty, the skincare, the hair and whatnot. Also, as an influencer, most people are opening up more about what’s happening within their life, how they’re dealing with this pandemic, or what’s going on with their life. We’re all in the same boat here. It made the influencers go back to a little bit more normal. Not that we’re not normal people, but we get a little bit more obtainable because this has happened to everyone and we’re all under the same boat. We’re all trying to cope and figure out in different ways not to get bored. It’s like that TikTok that was so famous the Bored In The House, In The House Bored. It’s done a good thing for the influencer community, in my opinion.
Based on the marketing side, it took a hit not just on brands, but I would say on the people working at the brands. One of the things that would make a lot of us thrive and made so many of us creatives and keep our finger on the pulse more was being able to connect with people, being able to network, and always be with people. My days wouldn’t end at 7:00 PM when I would go home. I was always out past that. I like meeting people, chatting, putting together different events and marketing plans. That was what changed a lot on the marketing side. You would have to find other routes to still connect with people, which was not easy until this day. It’s still not easy because we also have to put into perspective that a lot of people are at a different emotional level than they were a few years ago. It’s like what Nikki said. A lot of people truthfully are no longer talking about makeup. Even a lot of makeup influencers are now incorporating other things like you are, Nikki. They’re talking about fitness and mental health, and being more raw and real.
That is so beautiful but as a brand, especially brands that are in cosmetics that need to sell makeup, at the end of the day, no matter what you need to sell products, no matter what someone is feeling or not and that’s not to be insensitive, that is the reality. How many hundreds and thousands of makeup brands are there that need to push products? That is tough because you need to find a way to pivot your marketing plans. That’s first and foremost. How do you go from being a very interwind brand that is built on real-life relationships? I would fly month to month to different states meeting people, hosting different dinners. Every person that I knew on a PR list with people that I knew personally. I either had met them at a certain time, invited them to an event or flew out to meet them on purpose.
You go from that to making everything digital. That’s a challenge. You then go into the shift of trends. That alone in marketing plans is different because when you are at home, you’re not wearing makeup. I put on a little bit of makeup now because I’m on video. Most of the time, I’m not wearing makeup every single day. It’s funny because my lashes got sick because I can’t put mascara on anymore. My lashes won’t listen to me. I feel like because we’re not wearing makeup every day, that’s what’s happening. When you’re not wearing makeup every day what are you wearing? You’re wearing skincare. You’re wearing and using more wellness products. Those industries are naturally going up and cosmetics is naturally going down. It doesn’t matter how amazing you’re doing or how poorly you’re doing. At the end of the day, every cosmetics brand is suffering in its own way.
Either they’re suffering because they’re losing touch with relationships, they’re not able to activate the original plans they put together, they’re suffering by having to challenge budgets or what they can and can’t do. It doesn’t matter how big or small, how great or poor you’re performing. This pandemic and the shift of marketing have impacted everyone. The biggest change is much about how influencers have changed. That’s affecting how brands are working to adapt to that change. Influencers are going from naturally wanting to scream from the rooftops about the first product that they get in PR. Nikki can vouch if she feels the same way about this. Before makeup and PR, you couldn’t wait to open it, run and review it within the first week and be the first one to get a review up. What I see going on now is people are not even unboxing for weeks. We send out a PR, you can notice that an unboxing might not happen until a month later and sometimes two months later.
I agree 100% that people need time for themselves, their comfort, their mental clarity, and their mental health. People are focusing more on things that make them happy. If it’s makeup, they’ll turn to that box. If it’s another product or not even a product, it’s indulging in podcasts, videos, movies, self-care or whatever it is, it’s adapting to that change. It’s knowing that it is going to take people longer to review your product. It is going to take maybe longer for a product to build the hype, go viral or whatever is the brand’s goal at that time.
Similar to what you said, Nikki, and to piggyback off that, influencers have become a lot more approachable. That’s the word that I like to use because I’ve noticed, even before, when you would reach out to people even via DM, people are more relatable because influencers are like celebrities. Sometimes, we’re all a little bit intimidated to reach out because you’re like, “They’re not going to get back to us. They’re too beautiful or they’re too this.” Now I feel that everyone is relatable and approachable because people are talking about their challenges.
As a brand or marketing experts, that’s cool because you’re starting to see people’s personalities versus before you didn’t know someone as much. Now if you’re paying attention, you’re following someone, and you do have the time to invest your time into their lives, accounts and content. You can get to know somebody so much better because you can see what their day-to-day looks like. It’s funny because I would see my mom, and the first thing she would say during this whole pandemic, “Did you see this celebrity was on TV? They were filming from their house.” I’m like, “Okay, mom.” She was so excited because we would see this part of people and it’s similar to influencers because they are celebrity talent in their own rights and they’re influencing the world.
It’s also interesting because we can now see their day-to-day. We can see their morning routines and evening routines. We can see their homes, their bedrooms, and where they’re filming. It’s cool. Things are majorly shifting from real-life events where it’s a huge part of activations for many brands, not just beauty but any brand of any sort. You’re seeing everyone turn to virtual and that’s challenging because number one, how do you even create a virtual event? What is the goal of this event? What are you trying to get out of it? Number two, how do you make it fun? How do you make it exciting? That’s a big challenge as well. For me to sit here and say that it was all peaches and cream and everything was great. It wasn’t. It was hard to think and strategize how this can work. You have to also sometimes step away as somebody who works at a brand or someone who is in the industry and put yourself into the shoes of the consumer.
I went from thinking as a marketer to thinking as a consumer. What would I want to see? The truth of the matter is, would a virtual event get me excited? No, probably not. I’ll tune in for a little bit and I’ll tune out, but you have to keep with that mentality. You have to keep engaged. That’s a big change and now you’re seeing brands starting to come back a little bit into real-life events with safety measures. The biggest change we’ll see is brands are going to start having smaller activations to keep it safe for a while. Brands are going to start working with influencers that are genuinely diehard versus before you can have these huge events with 300 to 400 people and you’re now like, “You haven’t used our product in six months. It’s okay. Why don’t you come? We’ll reconnect with you and hopefully, show you more about our DNA?”
Now you’re like, “If I can only have 10 or 20 people, who are those people that I am inviting that use the products that are aligned with our vision and our messaging?” It’s going to change a lot of the relationships, which is tough on everyone. It’s tough on the influencers. It’s tough on the people behind the scenes like myself and others who work at brands because a lot of these decisions, you have to make not on purpose, but you have to do it for the strategy.
It’s such a saturated space for more competition every single day with more influencers. How do you create content that’s going to stand out? Even from a brand perspective, there’s so much competition out there. How do you do something that hasn’t been done yet?
Some events started during the pandemic. You would do these drive-in movie viewings. It was nice and socially distanced. When they came in, they would get a box, there would be snacks for the movie, and they would have some of their products. I thought that was so cute and amazing. I know that pharmacies have their truck that went around and gave samples, ice cream and goodies. They went to Venice and I thought that was so cute. Nikki, I know that you have attended some virtual events too. What has been your favorite virtual event so far?
It was the Guess event because my girl, Jen Selter, was part of it. She’s the face of activewear. That was on trend because it’s Guess but it’s all fitness wear. Jen Selter came on and it taught a little fitness class and that was cool. For me, as an influencer, what made them fun was this is when you hung out with all your influencer girlfriends. You got to touch the makeup. It’s much more than a brand reaching out via email and talking about a new product and showing images and whatnot, rather than having that one-on-one with them or one-on-five or whoever they’re talking to at the events. Also, touching and playing with it and seeing what’s different, what was a story in the background rather than reading off an email.
As a fan or a follower of a lot of the social media influencers, that was fun for them too because I’m a follower as well. I follow tons of people that I don’t even know that are influencers from all around the world. I always thought it was fun to watch these events and see, “This person’s hanging out with this.” We all love that like the dancer and Caity, their best friends. We all look forward to that and seeing that communication back and forth. That’s something that I definitely miss.
Everyone loves seeing the chemistry with people and seeing what squad are people part of. What are they wearing and what is trending? It all goes hand in hand. What fashion, makeup and accessories are they wearing? What brand did they go to and where did they go after that? It was a whole experience. Even me, someone who’s in the industry, if I need to be on the event all night, I’m going on everyone faces, “Where is this person?” It was an experience. If you were at those events, It was a whole night. It wouldn’t be you’re going to the even and that’s it.
I remember getting dressed. You would call someone to get ready together and you’d go to the event. You would leave work an hour early. It felt so cool that you were leaving early, “4:00 PM we’re leaving. This is so fun,” but you’re going to work. You’re going to this next event to work. After the event, “Let’s grab a drink. Let’s grab dessert,” and it will turn into this whole evening. Before you know it, it was an experience and it was a new relationship. It was with someone new that was a new relationship or it was someone you didn’t know or someone you knew. For Breanna and I, it would be nice for us to get together, catch up and brainstorm on new things we would want to work on together and a new project would develop or something. I miss a lot of that in-person contact because it’s different on emails. Even the amount of time it takes somebody to respond, even listening.
We all know influencers are humans. They all have lives, they have families, they work out, they do things. They don’t need to be glued to their emails, but you can email talent, and sometimes it can take three days for them to respond. Sometimes it could take two weeks. That’s a true fact. Sometimes when you’re working on a project, you’re like, “We need to move.” Right now, everyone deserves the time to take care of themselves and things are a little bit slower than they usually are. Sometimes, we’re going to bounce back from that. I can’t wait for in-person events. I’m waiting to plan for my first one. Give it to me.
Events became a thing like when you had the step and repeat picture and you’re at an XYZ event. It’s like, “You made it? She’s at the Morphe event?” People would die to get their backdrop picture. Brands would go all out to make sure that that set was something that was a shoo-in for posting content. We’re not seeing that anymore. It’s been replaced with self-care and more relatable content, which I’m loving as well.
There’s so much time going to these backdrops. A backdrop would take a week to design, 1 or 2 weeks to build out. You’re freaking out if something didn’t go right and you’re changing your last minute. I remember working with my print shop and changing backdrops all the way up until an hour before an event. I’m like, “We have to change this. You have to move the butterfly. You have to do that.” So much goes into it. All you see is this gorgeous picture but it’s a lot of work for sure.
The one in New York for that BH event was insane. That was fun. That was one of the big events.
That was the one for the travel series. I remember the location was something green but it was cool. It was the launch of one of our travels series collections and extensions. It was Switzerland, Ireland and Tokyo. I remember each room was a different theme. Each food matched a different theme. It was a whole lot more experience. Influencers would go and they would walk through the whole building. Every room was a different country and you got to experience the cultures. It was so cool. Don’t tell me that. It depresses me. I want to go to an event.
Three months before the pandemic hit, I remember when it was an event thing and such. People would always come on, “Anya, you’re going to this event?” I’m like, “Yeah.” They’re like, “I’m going to skip it. If you see someone, can you tell them that I couldn’t make it?” I’m like, “Yeah. Sure.” I would always love to go to events. I miss only a few events. For me, my biggest happiness is relationships and communication. Now, everyone is like, “I will never decline an event.” Give me an event I will never decline. I promise.
What advice would you both give to anyone who says I want to do exactly what you do for a career? What tips would you have for them?
You have to absolutely love it because it takes a lot of time. You eat, breathe and sleep it, everything. If you’re getting into it for the right reasons because you love it, I say, “Why not?” I even find this sometimes myself and Breanna knows this. As you guys said, I’ve been an OG for a while. Instagram is my platform and it will still always be because it has a place in my heart. That’s what put me on the map but I would say to someone new is to find a platform that works for you. You’re not going to be instantly successful on every single platform. You should have a couple that you’re on, at least two, but pick one that is working for you. For instance, I still will post on Instagram every day but I won’t do crazy videos every single day. I’ll take a little bit more time and focus on TikTok because that’s been a platform that’s worked for me. I honestly have so much fun filming content for that. It’s more inclusive for me. On Instagram, I have my main beauty page and I have my new little baby fitness page, which I also love.
I’m getting a little off subject here but that also brought me a little bit more back to the reason why I loved Instagram in the first place. When you get to a certain follower count, as Anya said, people are not going to DM you but they want to ask a question or say something nice. They think you’re never going to see it or you’re never going to answer it. Having this little page, I see a lot of my followers on my beauty page transferred it over. They’ll sometimes try to comment on that page and ask me questions through DM. Honestly, it’s been so much fun because I missed that communication so much with my followers. I’m having that over on my little baby page. Because we’re looking more relatable now, we’re talking about different things that are happening in our life that’s happening to everybody else. It has also helped that. Back to your question, I would pick a platform that is working for you and go to town on it.
I would say that on the marketing side, the management side, even behind the scenes, it’s not as easy as it looks. I get those messages and DMs all the time. I cannot tell you how many people DM me and they’re like, “I want to do what you do. How can I get into this industry? How can I be in marketing? How can I be on social media? How can I do partnership management?” It’s all that. I’m always honest with everyone. The first thing I always tell everyone is, you have to build thick skin. First and foremost, I know a lot of influencers will say that as well and I agree because they have to take a lot of feedback, criticism and things that. On the other side, I feel like your skin needs to be thicker because you’re dealing with various people. You’re always in the middle of someone. You’re either in the middle of town and the brand or some kind of a relationship and you’re trying to keep the piece everywhere. No matter what, even if you’re correct, you will always have some drama being that person in the middle.
Whether you try to prove you’re wrong or right, that doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that you keep both parties happy. Whether it’s your brand, your clients, the talent or anyone else that you’re in the mix with. The best advice and any insight I can give on this is to be prepared to put in more work than you can imagine. If you think you’re going to have a 9:00 to 5:00, you are not. I do not work a 9:00 to 5:00. I work from when I wake up to when I go to sleep. Whether that’s 6:00 AM to 2:00 AM, it doesn’t matter. I truthfully forgot the last time I had a regular schedule. My husband and I argue about this all the time because he’s like, “Are you going to come to bed?” It will be 1:00 AM. He comes in the next room and he’s like, “You’re still on your laptop. How is it possible to even have this much work?”
It’s not necessarily the amount of work per se. You have to get back to people too. You have emails and DMs and messages. It’s so much. It’s a 360 bubble that you’re working with. I would say that most people don’t know the number of hours and commitment you need to put in, how much detail goes into this, how many decisions need to be made and your role in this. Most people think, “It must be so exciting to be a partnership director or to even work in this industry.” What they don’t understand is everything that they don’t see. You guys see the product that comes to life, which is amazing. You guys see people posting that, “I love you. Congrats. This is great,” which is all authentic, it is true, it is fantastic and it is great. Everyone is happy and connected with each other. What you don’t see are the decisions that had to be made in between. The endless calls, the arguments, the fights that happen not because something doesn’t want to be done but because there are challenges.
You’re dealing with different personalities, different points of view and different capabilities. You’re talking about vendors. Vendors that are capable of doing things or not doing things. You have to explain that to people. That’s tough. Overall, I would say be prepared to be in the middle of a lot of things and the decision-maker in a lot of things where you have to put your foot down at the end of the day. As painful as it might be, as challenging as it might be, you have to take it with a grain of salt and tell yourself, “This is my job. No matter what your position is, this is my job and this is what I have to do and that’s it.” That’s the best advice I can give there because I know a lot of times, we have to do something that we feel so guilty about. We’re like, “Why do we have to say that? Why do we have to make that be the final result,” but 99.999% or probably over 100% of the time, it’s not our decision directly as that person. You have to take everything into account from people below you, people above you, vendors, and all that stuff.
It all comes down to a big mix so you have to be prepared to be comfortable with decision-making, long hours and being ultra-organized. There are so many details in the mix, being open to a lot of personalities clashing, and being able to take it along. It’s rewarding because you get to meet incredible people like you guys. You’re able to create friendships too. Some of them ended up being these close friendships that can hopefully, last a lifetime. That’s the rewarding part through all this, plus at the end of the day, anything that you’re doing no matter what it is, whether it’s a beauty product, a wellness product, a tank top, you’re affecting somebody’s life. Whether you’re affecting their fashion choice or how they do their makeup or their sentiment towards something. Ultimately, you’re playing an important role in someone’s life and what they choose to touch on a daily basis. Are they choosing to purchase your product and such? There’s a silver lining to all of it and it’s worth it in the end.
It’s been a theme with the people in your life who love you, who would want you to unplug earlier. We want you to pour more into your life because I’ve had many conversations. Ross and Anya are probably one of our closest couple friends. We’ve had conversations with Ross about Anya’s schedule. Sometimes when Anya and I are working because I’m similar, we’ll have conversations at 11:00 at night and it’s about work. It is what it is. What is something that you’re doing to unplug and find some balance in your life?
I’m still working on that. I’m still trying to figure out what that balance is. There a couple of things that I’ve turned to and before, Ross would laugh and yell at me for these. I would be like, “My balance is I’m going to stop working at this time,” but then I’m going to go on Instagram. I’m going to start scouting things, looking at things, saving influencers to work with and all of that. Technically, I’m not working but working. I will try to get away with that.
The first couple of months, everything with COVID and the lockdowns wasn’t as depressing. It was like, “This is cool. We don’t have to drive to work. We’re saving two hours in traffic each way,” at least for me because it was a far drive. Eventually, you’re like, “I need to unwind.” It’s funny that I say this because I work in social media, but you start resenting social media. It’s not because it’s bad but because you’re spending all day in it. You don’t have time to drive. At least in the car, it would be 1.5 to 2 hours. I would unwind and I would talk to people. I had time to call people, talk to them and have conversations outside of Instagram, versus now you’re working all day. You’re not unplugging. You’re unplugging and still being on Instagram.
The number one thing I did is I dived into fitness. I got myself a trainer. I started doing workouts. For me, I didn’t have time to do this before because I would have the drive. Now, I’m going to use that time to work out or do some classes. At one point, I had a Peloton and it was painful. I had to get rid of it. For me, fitness was something that would make me unwind. I never ever watched TV before up until a few months ago. People go, “Have you ever watched this show?” I’m like, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Now I started watching a little bit more TV. If I say this, Ross will kill me. He could come on here and scream at me if he could. I got hooked on Vampire Diaries. It’s such a guilty pleasure. It’s so bad to even say that. It’s embarrassing because I’m going to be 32 years old and I’m watching Vampire Diaries. Not only did I watch it once. I watched it twice.
The first time, I was vicariously living through these teenagers and pretending that I’m eighteen years old again. It gave that nostalgia and made me feel happy and that’s what I would fall asleep to every night. From 12:00 to 2:00 or 2:00 or 4:00 whenever I had that time, it would be dedicated to Vampire Diaries. Once I got over that, I’m now trying to focus on myself. I want to say transparently, since December 2020, I have disconnected from social media. I know that’s terrible to say, especially in the line of work that I’m in. That’s something I’m trying to work on and coming back to but in a healthy way, healthy measure, and trying to find the boundaries.
Other than if I have a project that I need to scout talent or something, I’m not on social media. It’s also been driving me crazy. It makes me feel strange because I want to be on but at the same time, every time I pick up my phone, I’m like, “I can’t do this,” or I go in and I see one thing. If I like something, I’ll get messages, “You were on social media and you didn’t even like this. Can you repost this for me?” I don’t want people to feel bad to think that I’m on social media when I’m not so I stop posting and I stopped going on. It’s sad because there are things that I do want to share. There are a couple of vacations I’ve even been taking or trips for mental health.
I truly feel like I can’t even post it. I feel bad posting it because people are going to be like, “She’s active, but she’s not interacting with me.” It’s sad that we have to feel that way, but that is the truth of the matter. I’m trying to find a way to come back to social media because I haven’t been keeping up with trends. I haven’t been keeping up with content. I can’t explain it. Every time I would touch that app, whether it’s Instagram or TikTok, I would get the craziest sense of anxiety. I would start shaking, I need to get off and that was it. I would get what I needed for my job and bounce off because it made me start thinking of everything I need to do, everything I wanted to post, everyone I needed to talk to and people I wanted to check in with. It’s been too much.
On top of everything we’ve been going through as a world and as a nation in the pandemic, there are a lot of things that many of us are also going through personally. I used to be that person who shares so much. I would always come on and talk about challenges but because I feel like we’ve all lacked communication, some of us stopped knowing how to communicate. I started realizing when I go on Instagram, I’m not trying to do this but I don’t want to come off like, “I’m complaining. This is everything I’ve been through.” I’m trying to come on and be like, “This is what’s been going on. This is how I dealt with it. I hope it helps you.” It hasn’t been coming off like that and that’s when I’m like, “I‘ll just step away until I can come to that place where I can educate but at the same time help.”
I used to help people versus now, everything comes out like word vomit because you’re stressed, frustrated and overwhelmed. You don’t know what to start with, what to end with and you’re all over the place. I’m like, “Anya, social media journey is on a timeout and it’s okay. You don’t need to know everything that’s going on. You don’t need to keep up with everyone. People who know you, they know you. People who want to know how you are can check in with you. People who want to know what you’ve been up to can hit you up.” That’s what it is and I stopped feeling guilty about that. I was like, “People that I need to talk to, I will talk to.” It doesn’t have to be like, “I like your photo. You like my photo. Did you see my story?” We’re so beyond that now as a community.
Nikki knows this too. I have a little baby page. When she and I were brainstorming this in the summer, I was like, “I encourage you to start a little baby page because it has brought so much joy to my life because I feel like I can interact with people.” Nikki, this is your job and career. I know that you and Cam do some things too, which I love. How do you find balance with this being your main thing?
I’m so much better than I used to be. If I wasn’t constantly on it 24/7, catching the comments and liking them, as soon as I felt that, everything would disappear. I have no idea. It also does help that Cam, my boyfriend, also works from home. He’s an entrepreneur and he owns a couple of businesses. We do so much together. We’re the same person like a male version of him who loves Bourbon. We get to do things together. During the day when I’m getting a little bit burnt out or he is, we’ll take Monster, our little doggie, for a walk. If I’m too tired to go workout at the gym that day, we’ll be like, “We’ll go on about it. Let’s do some yoga together.”
Having your partner in crime has helped a lot for me. It has a lot to do with him because he went away to Tulum for a retreat and he was gone for 4 or 5 days. I noticed that every day he was gone, I was going to bed later and later. All I was doing was on social media the whole time. I felt like all day long, I’d be filming content, then I’d stop and edit. I have to respond to everyone’s comments. It would get later and later. It’s easy to get sucked in. Breanna, when you and I hung out, there’s been plenty of times where we’re like this to each other, “I wouldn’t post anything on social,” because we’re enjoying the moment together. It’s not a bad thing. It’s a good thing. When you’re enjoying someone’s company, it’s okay to put it down. It’s great to be able to be open and share your life but there are certain things to keep to yourself. Have it for whoever you are and the person that you’re with.
When we were in Miami, Nikki, I, Cam and Ross sat down and didn’t stop talking for five seconds. It was nonstop. When we left, I was like, “We didn’t even take a picture.” It’s not to post it but I love memories. I love having photos of people because when it’s someone’s birthday, you also want to make a cute card or something. I love those little sentimental things. I’m like, “Oh, my goodness,” but then you realize, “This is what having a good time is. You’re forgetting to post and phone and all those things.” Some of the best times I had with family, Ross and friends were the times that you don’t post and don’t take pictures.
I went to see a friend in Vegas and we didn’t even take one picture. She’s an influencer too. I had an amazing time with her. I left and I was like, “We didn’t even get a photo.” That’s how good of a time it was. That moment is for us. You don’t have to show every step of every way on your social media. That’s also what 2021 is showing us. You can take time to enjoy things and enjoy people and moments. If you want something on your phone, you can save it on your phone. I also see a lot of people that are not posting in real-time. People are posting something from a month ago like, “I went on vacation and didn’t post my photos,” or something like that. Now it’s okay versus before, if you don’t post the same day, it didn’t happen. This is where this is headed and everyone is taking some time.
As Nikki said, I agree 100%, having somebody there, whether it’s a friend, significant other or husband to help you is important in doing little things. I forgot to say another sanity of mine is my dog. I have a Doberman, Troy. I don’t know what I would have done without him. I have no idea. He’s been part of many of my workouts. He’s been my walking buddy. If I didn’t have him, I would never accomplish 10,000 to 12,000 steps a day ever. After 2,000, I’d be like, “I’m tired.” He kept me motivated and he helped kickstart my health. Everyone needs a pet. Everyone, go get yourself a dog or a cat.
You look great and you’re doing a great job. I definitely can relate too. Since I’ve been over here, I haven’t been on social as much and it’s okay because I’m interacting with my family and being in the moment. My family is not a huge social media family as it is. It’s like, “Why am I on my phone? This is embarrassing. I’m taking pictures of my food.” I can relate to that. Karen, what about you? Karen also manages social media accounts. I know that we’ve talked about this in the past of how you unplug. How do you unplug? What is the moment that you do?
For us, social media is work. We’re on our phones all day and we’re posting all day. We’re creating content and we’re doing it for the brands that we run social for. When it comes to a time at the end of the day, I’m not interested in going on my own social because I spent all day doing stuff for our brands. That’s always the priority. I’m the same way. I don’t see it so much for enjoyment anymore. Although I love browsing and seeing everybody else’s content. It’s all super inspiring but I don’t have as much of a desire to be creating stuff from my end.
A lot of people don’t realize when you do work in social media unless you’re an influencer, you don’t have that desire to go on. A few years ago, every single person I met, I’m like, “I’m watching a YouTube channel. I’m doing this and I’m doing that.” I filmed a bunch of videos and I never uploaded them. That’s a whole other story that both Nikki and Breanna know very well. We probably had this conversation 100 times. Everything feels different and harder now versus before, you would grow much easier. When you’re thinking of all the challenges, you’re not going to get seen as much because of X, Y and Z. If you’re not posting reels, they’re not going to show your content as much.
When you start thinking about the challenge, you’re like, “I’m over it. I spent six hours browsing talent. I’m not trying to go and post something that’s going to get 50 likes versus a few years ago, I would get 200 to 300.” It also kills your spirit. I hate to be that person because I’m always the opposite. I always tell everyone, “Don’t let anything ever kill your spirit. Keep pushing.”Sometimes, it is true. You’re like, “Why am I going to post? I know this is going to get 50% to 75% less viewership than before because of the algorithm.” You have to work past it if it’s genuinely and truly what you want. If you want to be on social media, you have to get past that. For me, it’s been discouraging. I’ve been trying to focus on bigger projects, work and other things that fulfill me more. Maybe I’ll be back on social media soon. I have a lot of things I need to share. I have probably twenty pictures I need to post.
Nikki, do you have a set schedule of when you’re creating your content or do you create things as inspiration strikes? I feel like to be successful, you have to have days where you’re devoting your whole time to filming.
There’s a point where I got a little bit burnt out. The reason why is that every day, I would get up and film. Monday through Sunday, not even the weekend off. I would wake up and glam myself, which takes a couple of hours, and then I would do some pictures. I take it off and maybe film a makeup tutorial or hair tutorial or whatnot. I would edit that video and then I would spend the rest of my day commenting back to people, doing my regular working out, or whatever else I had to do in the day. Now, what I do is I’ll pick a day where I’m like, “I’m going to get up early. I thought of this eyeshadow palette and I know exactly what I’m going to do with it. I’m going to do this rainbow sparkly eye or whatever.” It’s always sparkles of ideas of what I’m going to do typically.
We all like glitters.
I have that shiny ball syndrome. You see anything shiny in the store. It doesn’t matter what it is, I’m going to pick it up. I’ll usually pick a day and do a bunch of content that day. I won’t touch and edit it. I won’t do anything. The following day is where I’ll sit down on my computer with the ugliest looking mixed match sweatsuit or something with my hair up in a bun. Nobody talks to me, I get in the zone and start editing. I find it that way. There are days where I’m like, “I don’t feel inspired today.” I use to do it. It didn’t matter what I was feeling and how I was, I was the content. Those were the things that back then I couldn’t understand why they didn’t do well, but now I did. It wasn’t that they weren’t beautifully produced or the makeup wasn’t pretty or whatever. It’s because it was inauthentic. I wasn’t in the mood that day so don’t do it. Take those days to edit or have an ice cream cone and chill out on your patio. It’s okay to have some days where you’re not constantly filming all day long. Otherwise, you could get burned out.
How do you also deal with all the negativity on social media? It’s all the cancel culture and a lot of toxicity. How do you remain positive and keep your platform generally fun and entertaining for everybody?
I’ve always been in some of the public eyes. I modeled from seven years old. Like Anya, I was in pageants as a kid. I was always in a dance competition. I was in the public eye that I could have scrutiny. It never bugged me back then. It has a lot to do with my parents. They were always so supportive in everything that I wanted to do, especially my father. When I got off the stage of dance competitions or wherever, he was always proud of me no matter what. If I didn’t hit that kick, he would tell me like, “Maybe it wasn’t your best day but I’m proud of you. You did a good job.” Because of that, it made me strong. When those days that I did great, he’d be like, “You nailed it. That was it. That’s how you should perform all the time. I can see that you loved it and you enjoyed it.”
I vividly remember the first hate comments or whatever I had gotten on my Instagram page. I looked at it and I laughed to myself because then, there was a battle going on. You got one person talking shit or someone else’s like, “No, she’s not.” “Yes, she is.” My mom calls me and she’s like, “This is disgusting what these people are talking to you. Do you see it? You should delete it.” She’s like, “I can’t believe they’re talking about you like that.” I was like, “Mom, I’ve made it.” I knew right then and there that if people are talking about you, you’ve made it. You’ve made some impact. I’ve always felt that if you are confident in the work that you put out there, nobody should be able to say anything to you that’s going to hurt you. If you put content out there that you’re like, “I don’t know if I like the lighting or maybe the eyeshadow blend wasn’t as perfect,” if someone says something to you, you might be insecure about it. You already think that in yourself. If you put content out there that you genuinely love and you’re proud of, you shouldn’t care what anybody thinks.
Anya, what about you for influencers that you’re looking to work with? What strikes you as something special that stands out that signifies they would be a great addition to the brand, voice, and ethos?
For me, I would say no matter where I worked in my career from when I started in this industry to now, I never ever looked at somebody’s following. To me, their numbers truly made no difference. I know people say that all the time but I can genuinely and authentically say that. I know there are tens of dozens of people in the industry that can agree with that and say that because I’ve had people say all the time that I was the first person that discovered them. I’m the first person that gave them a shout-out. I can tell you how happy that makes me feel. Every time someone says that to me, I probably tear up every single time.
I remember a couple of years ago, I held a Friendsgiving dinner with influencers for the brand. Many people got up and were like, “Anya is the first one that gave me a shout-out. This was the first brand that put me on PR. They’re the first ones who discovered me.” I never even realized that about myself because what I do is authentic. It’s second nature to me. I do it based on how I am and I don’t realize the messaging behind that. I realized how much more special that is. For me, I’m truly looking at somebody genuine to themselves. I don’t want this to come out negative but it is what it is. I don’t like when people try to be somebody they’re not. I don’t like when somebody is copying somebody else without giving them credit. I don’t like when somebody is trying to be like somebody else and you can see right through them that it’s not them.
Let’s say they have never ever talked about the environment before and all of a sudden, they’re like, “I’m going to do this huge campaign about Earth Day.” They’ve never even mentioned climate change or littering or anything. I try not to talk about a lot of different subjects on my platform. Even if I see someone post something, I want to support it, and I want to repost it or whatever it is, I don’t want to do it because I don’t want it to come off as not authentic. Not because I don’t want to support that person but I don’t want to look like, “Me too,” I’m trying to be friends with that person, piggyback off their repost or something.
I look towards the same thing when it comes to talent. If I’m working on a specific campaign, I need to make sure that person attributes to that campaign. If I’m looking for someone who’s into glowy skin or someone who’s into heavy contour, I need to make sure that that person is known for their contour game or that person is known for their eye MAC pro game or something like that. When it comes to other influencers and such, I’m always looking for people that are new, fun, fresh, keeping up with trends. There’s a difference when you look at it as a brand and as an individual. As a brand, you’re asked to look for certain talent. You’re given a certain caliber or criteria and you’re asked, “Can you make a list based on these kinds of people?”
When it comes to personal, I’m looking at maybe different influencers. Different projects might vary in my life where I can reach out to the person based on what I think will work versus what is the brand looking for, a message alliance, a product alliance or something like that. Influencers always ask us this question, Breanna and I did a panel chat with another influencer. They also asked us, “What is it that you can tell influencers as a brand or as a person in marketing?” I would say just be real and be authentic even if you know it’s going to get you backlash.
We brought up this example in our last chat. If people are raving about a product and you know the product is terrible, try not to jump on that bandwagon like, “I love this new mascara,” or “I love this new foundation,” if you know it’s trash. Eventually, the truth is going to come out about the product and the joke is going to be on you. People are going to be like, “I see that was their sponsor,” or “He or she tried to get a moment of fame” or something. Say your opinion. Sometimes, it might even make you more popular and more famous. People will be like, “Did you see that person’s review is negative, but it was real?” It’s authenticity, being real and being confident in the content you produce.
Having a theme for yourself and your page. I don’t want to say aesthetics. I’m not big into aesthetics. I know a lot of people are like, “My page has to look good.” I’m not big into that, but it appeals to you. When you go on someone’s page and you see it looks beautiful, you’re immediately drawn to it but I never choose talent on because you did a beautiful color category or you used a certain filter in the last four lines or something like that. I’m looking at the person, their skill, their talents, their messaging and if it works. That’s going to be the number one selling point. After that, because you don’t know the person right away, you’re going to go into getting to know them, their personality and things like that. Be real, be true, be you.
It translates because there are many people and many influencers who you have discovered and will bounce ideas off of you like, “What about this person?” It’s a lot. You’re working with that person and you’re counting on that person, especially if you’re going to be having them create content for you. You want to make sure that you’re invested all the way around business-wise too. It’s important. Also, to bring in professionalism. When you do find a professional influencer or somebody who has a kind heart or someone who’s genuine like Nikki, it makes a world of difference. It makes me want to work with them.
I feel like Editour is blessed because every single influencer is genuine and has a heart of gold. We have worked hard to get to that point. It’s incredible. I feel like I’m working with my friends and I’m the little sister, the big sister, the friend and all that wrapped into one. It’s more of a friendship and we’re hustling together. It feels like that with you. I know you work with a lot of managers and it’s cutthroat, especially if it’s an entertainment manager, which a lot of these managers are. They’re entertainment managers and they’re sharks, fierce, gnarly and cold. Some of them can be. My hat is off to you for being a chameleon and dealing with many different personalities while staying true to you and your representation of your brand.
Thank you. The number one thing that you have to learn over the years is you almost have to become a psychologist. I know that sounds funny, but you have to learn how to deal with people and personalities. There are managers that I am super friendly with like yourself and have become super close friends in real life where we are like family friends at this point. There are managers that you have to keep at arm’s distance to know how to even approach them. You might say sir or ma’am to them once in a while. It depends on the relationship. For the most part, I’ve been blessed to have close relationships. I can count on one hand in many years how many distant relationships I’ve had. Most of them have been from beyond this five-year period and such. It’s a little bit more before in my heavier PR days when I was more into corporate PR and such. You have to know how to approach different people and how to know boundaries with different people.
I wanted to throw in a question because I was curious, just to get your feedback and Nikki also because you are more of an OG influencer. You know the industry is changing. I wanted to give my two cents coming from the perspective of what I’ve witnessed over the time of the industry and what’s been going on. A lot of the shape of the marketing plans and everything is changing so much to Gen Z. My concern with the Gen Z market is some of them are still a little bit too young. I know they’re reporting that they have the highest spending power and such. My concern is a lot of people don’t have that spending power because they might still not be working. They might be 14, 15, 16 years old and not have their job.
I know a lot of brands are transitioning to Gen Z strategies, which I feel like from the marketing perspective has also challenged us a lot behind the scenes because we have to create new PR lists or we have to go in different directions and things like that. How do you see the Gen Z industry playing into all the influencers that are tested and true, especially the makeup enthusiasts and more so experts? A lot of Gen Zs are not necessarily makeup experts. They have their own new cool style. They’ll do a pop of color in the inner corner. That’s what I see as the new trends that are happening. How do you see the Gen Z community and the OG community coming together? How do you see it working through the next couple of years? I was always curious to ask that from an influencer and I haven’t yet.
Nikki, I do want to know your two cents about what Anya was asking.
Especially on TikTok because that’s where all the Gen Zs are. At first, there was a lot of backlash like, “If you know what Strawberry Shortcake is or Polly Pocket is, you shouldn’t be on this app” type of thing. Now, I feel like it’s changed and we’re getting a lot more embrace because Gen Z is following a lot of our makeup tips, the OGs. They’re doing it in a way that’s a little bit lighter or adding lots of freckles and a more fresh face. They’re taking a lot of what we did but updating it and I love that. That’s interesting. It shows that it’s also making us being like, “Maybe we don’t have to wear this.” Like what Anya was saying in the beginning, go out to the grocery store and have powder contour and cream contour and the full B face at all times. It goes both ways because we both get to inspire one another. Also, they have the best dancing TikTok trends on there to follow. It’s always fun. It’s cool. We’re both inspiring each other and there’s room for everyone.
We talked about how mental health has played such a big part in shaping social media. I want to know where you both think social media is going to go in the next few years and the trends that you forecast.
It’s funny I am in the process of trying to put together this inner makeover series on my Instagram and having some live, bringing in some expert meditation coaches and wellness coaches and whatnot. It’s like anything. If you don’t drink water and don’t have good skincare, your makeup isn’t going to look good. It’s the same thing as taking care of your mind and your mental health. Stress is one of the biggest agings. It shows all over your face. If you’re not taking care of your mental health, you’re not taking your vitamins, doing your skincare and all of that, you put all the makeup on your face you want and you’re still not going to look good. It’s becoming all-inclusive, which I love. For a long time, people are getting sick of seeing makeup tutorials over and over again because, at some point, it has already been done. Some trends come and go that are fun, but a lot of it has already been done. It’s nice to have a more inclusive page.
I feel like there’s so much opportunity to be a leader and a role model still for people who are Gen Z-ers. We are more tapping into body positivity, self-love, and learning how to love others. I see these movements. Also, we can teach them how to age gracefully and be thankful for the body, the skincare, and whatever we have going on that were given. I’m seeing so much more of that in the industry in general like loving your stretch marks or loving your acne scars or if you have pigmentation in your skin. That’s our jobs too and I love how I’m seeing more intentional social media popping up because that’s important.
We’re at a time where we’re slowly going to start coming out of trends and we’re going to start coming into authenticity. The OG-ers who want to remain wearing heavier makeup. I do love their blush, highlight, contour. I love the whole glam game. There’s the Gen Z-ers that do a little bit more of the subtle makeup or a pop of neon eyeliner. Eventually, the trend is going to stay for both and they’re going to marry and unite, and they’re going to be here to stay. That’s what I think because trends changed so much where there are still people that are going to love to do their makeup the way they want to do and there are people that are going to love to do it a different way. Both are okay and no matter what you decide to do is you.
That’s the whole point of this game, self-love and self-acceptance. Do you and be you. Whether you want to wear heavy makeup, just mascara or nothing at all except skincare, do you. That’s what ultimately is going to stay. We’re going to have a lot more of this. We’re going to have podcasts, more videos and more things where people are more vocal because people are so much more vocal more than ever. There are people who I thought were mute at one point. Other than posting a photo, they would never post anything. Now, people are speaking up and it’s beautiful, amazing and inspirational. I love it so much.
It’s funny when Ross asked me three times, “Are you doing this podcast?” I’m like, “Yes, I am.” He’s like, “Don’t forget.” I’m like, “It’s in my calendar.” It was funny, I said to him, “I don’t know what it is. I know I want to do something. I wanted to do it for years. I wanted to do YouTube. I want to do a podcast. I started writing a book and then I stopped. I went back to YouTube.” I’ve stopped and started many things and I’m like, “I don’t know what I want to do.” I’m like, “I feel like I’m too late.” He’s like, “What do you mean you’re too late?” I’m like, “Who watches YouTube anymore?” I’m like, “What we’re about to get into the next few years?” He’s like, “YouTube and podcast are going to blow up even more.” He’s like, “If there’s any time you want it to do anything, it’s now.”
I don’t know why I feel that way like it’s too late but it’s not. If you have a voice, you have an opinion, you have something meaningful or not meaningful, whatever you want to talk about, whether you had spaghetti and meatballs and recipes, you go for it. You do what you want to do. If you want to share and you want to make the world a brighter place, you go and do it. The biggest thing is that that’s the shift that we’re going to see. People are doing more of what they want and people being entrepreneurs naturally because they are going to be starting more of these podcasts and stuff, more of these video entertainment channels. That’s what’s going to happen. There’s no right and wrong. You just have to start if it’s what makes you happy.
Initially, I wanted to bring people on and do interviews. People that have invisible illnesses or people who have struggled with things because that’s something that I deal with. I wanted to talk about experiences, what makes people genuinely feel beautiful, what that means to them, what does beauty mean to them skin deep and such. You think that so much of that is out there, but the truth is people cannot hear enough of it. I don’t think you can hear enough that you’re strong, powerful, confident and a kick-ass human being. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve heard it. Everyone has a different approach. Some people might connect more with a certain person’s approach or voice or tone or something like that. That’s another thing. We’re going to see so much more in the industry of that happening.
Your podcast could be called Skin Deep. I’ll be your first subscriber. You absolutely can do it. There’s so much value that you can add to it and it will be healthy for you. I’m not sure how you feel, Karen, but I feel like this is a healthy outlet for us. It’s fun and it’s rewarding. As long as you’re having fun doing it and it doesn’t feel like work, do it for yourself because you can affect many people, especially with your story and the content that you would be providing. I encourage you to do that.
It’s almost like a therapy session. I’m not saying this because you’re one of the closest people to me. I have not felt such happiness. I’m getting emotional saying that because it is so good to chat with the people that you love, trust and inspire. You forget what that was like. I forgot what that was like because you’re always on the go. I felt 2020 has been more on the go than we’ve ever even anticipated. Many of us are like, “We’ve been working from home. We had so much more time,” but some of us, it’s reverse that. It’s affected us on the opposite side of that spectrum where we haven’t been able to disconnect and we have been more on the go than ever before. This was amazing.
It’s funny, Ross was like, “You’re going to love this so much. I bet you.” I’m like, “I haven’t done panels for so long.” I remember I used to do panels all the time in the beauty shows of the world. All those different panels. That was when I felt most inspired. The fame, create and cultivate, and all of those. That’s when I felt most alive. It’s when I’d be able to speak on those panels. I remember the show that we did at Mission Inn in Riverside. I need to find that recording. I remember I was so in tune that when I left the stage, I can’t even remember what I said. I was on fire in my mind. When I released my clip, I freaking started crying. I was like, “Did I say that?” I was so in the moment and I felt proud of what I said. I feel so happy. This is therapeutic. It’s amazing for anyone that does it and does it right and does it on a positive note. I’m not a fan of podcasts where people are putting people down or criticizing. If you’re in it to uplift people and to be in good company, this is amazing. This has been one of the best conversations I’ve had all year.
We love you.
That makes us so happy.
That’s your answer right there. If you should do a podcast if that’s how it makes you feel, you got to do it.
It takes one person because I know starting social media in any form is going to take so long to get the followers or it’s going to take so much time to do the content. We get 50 likes or whatever. I had said before on my little baby page and having these DMs and these conversations, I went off on a tangent. It was about a body transformation photo before and after. It was me talking about, I used to be insecure about taking photos from behind me because I had a pancake booty. I went through my stories, my struggles, and having an eating disorder way back in the day. The number of people on this little baby page, it only would have taken one but I had a lot of them, they were talking about, “Me too.” We can say that to each other all day long about how you’re impacting people. When you have it one-on-one with someone, it’s profound. It’s like, “I made a difference in a person’s life.” It’s rewarding. It’s insane.
I have an invisible illness and I used to talk about it a lot more in my stories. I would share more about it. I developed this small little group because I would get people DM-ing me and I don’t even know how many people out there are having invisible illnesses. This could be everything from dysautonomia POTS, MS and lupus where you look completely normal. People have no idea that you’re suffering from something and you’re battling all these crazy things on a daily basis. I had all these people DM me. What I eventually did was when I gathered about 15 to 20 of them, I said, “Can we do a little group chat? Can we talk together?” It would fulfill me so much chatting with these people and sharing stories.
You met them on social media and you met them through the chance of a story. Something I didn’t think I wanted to share and I did, and it turned into such a positive and beautiful thing. We would share experiences in our bad days and our good days, things that we ate, things that shut our immune system down and all of that. It was a support group. When I disappeared in a few months, it’s interesting to see that people saw that. They would message you and be like, “We haven’t heard from you. Are you okay?” “How’s it going?” “Can you share what would you do if this happened to you and you’re in this position?” Before I knew it, it’s not only me being disconnected, but you’re letting other people down, too because people depend on you for that ray of sunshine or for that tip or support.
It doesn’t matter if it’s 5, 10, 20, or if it’s 2 million people. At end of the day, you’re helping somebody. Every single human life and every single person deserves to feel that happiness every day. If they count on you for that, then it’s important. If 100 people liked your photo less, we all need to put that behind us, including me and be like, “It’s okay.” Just post because those other 50 people needed you. Those other 50 people probably smiled or you motivated them to post too. I know if I jump on, I’m like, “They posted. I should post too.” There’s so much that we do and we don’t realize how it piggybacks and trickles, and how much we inspire other people. It’s important. Go out and do it.
Thank you for inspiring us. I’m honored to be able to work with you guys and consider you friends. I’m excited for everyone who’s reading to get to know you guys more and take so much away from our conversation.
This has been amazing. I already said it, “We’re going to be here for a while.”
We need to plan a second one, a follow-up with other concepts or something because this is happening. Thank you for having me. I cannot say thank you enough. This has so fun and what I needed in my life at this moment, so thank you. I love you all very much.
Where can everybody follow you guys?
You guys can follow me @Anya__Kay.
Thank you, ladies. Keep killing it. I know so many people are going to be inspired by this episode. It was such a pleasure talking to you both.
Thank you for being the best moderators and putting this together. It was perfect.
Come back soon.