I’m Not Your Classic Blogger And I’m Cool With That

An email landed in my inbox a couple of weeks ago with a brief for a campaign attached. They wanted the influencers, including me, to make a video in which they show themselves potentially in gym gear, with natural hair and makeup and “well kept, elegant nails.” Now I’m not sure about your reaction, but when I read this my mind instantly jumped to the classic blogger images you see on Instagram; lean, gorgeous women, smiling into an acai bowl with an ethereal glow that quite possibly came from FaceTune. It’s the kind of content that comes up on my explore tab, beautifully shot and perfectly poised. All power to those women; they’ve built incredible careers off their passions and I’m one hundred percent here for it. However, when I opened that email I couldn’t help but wonder, “do they think we’re all like this?” Is this the vision of the standard internet woman that the people working in influencer marketing have?

Because I am not even close to that woman, and I don’t think many of my fellow female creators are either.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a mad fan of loads of personal style bloggers who post wonderfully shot and styled photos across their socials. Whilst it’s definitely a jump from the fitness and travel bloggers I referred to before, the well curated, high-quality street style shots are a classic staple request in the emails I get when someone wants me to do some paid work. And being real, I don’t blame them as I LOVE that kind of content. I love opening Instagram and seeing Sophie Milner, Lizzy Hadfield and Liv Purvis’s ridiculously beautiful photographs. How they keep up with the number of shoots they must need to do in order to stick to their schedule is an art in itself. However, whilst these women, along with the travel and fitness bloggers, are very visible on Instagram, they make up a small proportion of the women I actually see day-to-day using social media as a creative platform. I’m also seeing women like Chidera from The Slumflower, Brittany Bathgate, The Halpin Sisters and VintageDollRisa disregard the status quo, opting for mirror pictures from their iPhones, new angles, macro shots and body positive swimwear shoots. Does this expectation for typical blogger imagery affect how they produce content? Do they consider conforming to the expectations of a brand in order to avoid losing a source of income? I find it weird that the brand expectation has shifted to a very specific style of street shooting when there’s so much creatively possible within the world of blogging and Instagram.

I too often want to conform to this style of shooting, despite being well aware that it wouldn’t work for me. I’m too awkward in front of the camera; I look like I’m actively posing and I can’t keep a straight face. Again, I have a lot of respect for the women who make it appear so effortless, it’s 100% more work that you might assume it is. I think a lot of it has to do with my feelings of worthiness too – I assume that unlike the seasoned bloggers, I’m not entitled to be an authority on style as I’ve only just started writing and posting about it. I’d feel embarrassed asking someone to photograph for me even though there’s no good reason for me to feel that way.

It also reminds me of when I started YouTube, and I was seeing videos from lots of other small creators mimicking the style and intonation of their favourite vloggers. I wonder if other people feel this struggle too in finding their own style on Instagram and so co-opt an already popular but very difficult one to emulate. I am certainly finding it hard to work out a balance. I love street style photographs, but it doesn’t suit the way I want to portray my fashion sense.

I think seeing that brief in my inbox, as well as giving me a big enough moment of panic to make me write this post, has helped me realise that there are many ways to talk about and visually portray my fashion, beauty products and lifestyle. Even though I feel a strange social pressure from brands and popular media to create high-quality editorial shots, it doesn’t necessarily suit me and that’s absolutely fine. I’m happy to leave the women who are great at them to continue their immaculate feeds and pursue a different way of conveying my new favourite jumper and the moisturiser I love.

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14 Comments

  1. January 15, 2018 / 4:33 pm

    You keep being you and posting the content that has built your audience from the ground up. Conforming to for briefs isn’t what the blogging world is about. If you fit the brief that someone wants then that is wonderful and so many amazing opportunities can come out of that. If you don’t then be “cool with that”. Don’t mould yourself for other people, be you. 😊

  2. January 15, 2018 / 4:34 pm

    Authenticity is key! I think it’s wonderful that these women have built success based on portraying their social media in a certain way, but it’s also important to be putting out work that you’re proud of.

  3. January 15, 2018 / 5:25 pm

    I really liked this post Lucy and frankly one of the reasons why I fell in love with your videos about two years ago now was because you were simply different from what I was used to seeing on Youtube. You had this very creative way of making your art and even of looking at the world. And sure, it was different, maybe it doesn’t get you as many followers as the typical bloggers/vloggers whatever, but you are just being authentic and yourself and that’s what we want at the end of the day 🙂

  4. Andrea Hammer
    January 15, 2018 / 6:06 pm

    I’ve just now read through your blog (I’ve been subscribed on Youtube for years), and I must say, what a gold mine of intellect and wisdom. This post is no different. I love the way you word things, and how you choose to see the world, it’s really inspiring. As a soon-to-be-23-year-old girl myself, I can really relate to what you’re saying here. I try to keep my Instagram kind of artsy, and hipster-esque, yet realistic and true, but recently a friend of mine asked me to help her set up a bullet-journal. She said: “l loved the spread you posted last week, so I thought I’d ask you, since you have your life together!”, and it got me thinking about how reality can get so twisted on social media, even when we try to keep that from happening. And it can be really difficult to not get sucked into the whole industry of “fit & lean, vegan, loves to travel to white beaches and take photos of it all with HD camera” kind of thing. I think it’s really healthy to stand up and challenge that particular criteria for beauty and success, or any* criteria for that matter. Because it’s so true what you say, the majority of girls, bloggers, youtubers, uni-students, etc. aren’t like that at all. And for the ones that are* like that, all the power to them, they do really inspire me a lot as well, but I just wanted to thank you for speaking up and for representing girls that aren’t like that, that are never going to be like that, and deeming that to be a-okay. I wish I had had someone like you when I was twelve to look up to.

    xx

  5. January 15, 2018 / 6:27 pm

    I think thats exactly why I enjoy reading your blog so much. Because its real, and I can identify myself with you! Thats also the kind of blogger I think I am, or want to be.. So just wanna say thanks Lucy for inspiring me and starting so many interesting thoughts in my head!!
    xx Aria

  6. January 15, 2018 / 6:35 pm

    Under this post lies such an important message, especially when it comes to young girls. This goes far beyond blogging or even Instagram. I too enjoy looking at those incredible shots of women who are so beautiful they may as well be an entirely different species. You know those women who look like they never have period cramps or spots? Even when they’re pregnant they seem as though they never have morning sickness or back pain (or anything unpleasant) but instead walk around the city in the tallest heels seemingly having the time of their lives. After I started following them on various social media platforms I started noticing a change in the way I looked at myself and in the way I myself was starting to post photos. It’s funny really, how much you can be influenced by people you haven’t even met.

    Now that I am older and wiser I would much rather be as much as myself as I can possibly be when it comes to social media. The blogging community has definitely helped me realise that. I started posting things without over-analysing it or asking myself “oh but what will they think of me?” and I am still accepted and supported by so many who have even now become something like my Internet confidants. The Internet can be a wonderful and brutal place at once, I think the key is to follow content that makes you feel good about yourself.

  7. January 15, 2018 / 7:02 pm

    I’m definitely a very messy weird type of blogger and I really couldn’t be anything else if I wanted to. That’s what I really love about blogs & YouTube though, how different everyone is.

    Lilly xoxo

  8. January 15, 2018 / 8:21 pm

    I love this! I recently got into blogging and it’s hard to figure out the best way to authentically portray who you are online. I like the idea of figuring out something that works for me even if that isn’t the necessarily the “norm”. This reminded me that it is actually OK to do that! xx

  9. January 15, 2018 / 9:13 pm

    I much prefer bloggers who are a bit more like this tbh, because I can relate so much more to their content! I think accepting this is brilliant because when bloggers and YT-ers try and be like others it makes everything very samey and that’s what I love about the different bloggers I follow because they’re all very different and I love their blogs for very different reasons!

    I think you were very right to write this post – it’s often a big misconception I think that all bloggers work like this or are naturally like this, whereas it’s totally the opposite!

    Daughter of An Air Hostess // Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle

  10. January 16, 2018 / 12:20 am

    The woman you are becoming will cost you people, relationships, spaces and material things.

    Choose her, over everything!

  11. January 16, 2018 / 1:54 pm

    My brother has this saying: “You’ll never be able to break the rules if you don’t /know/ the rules.” That’s how I feel about starters too, in any branche really. So it’s perfectly fine that you’re still experimenting with shooting street style and still copying other mayor sources of inspiration sometimes, it’s simply necessary in order to find out what you want to do and what you don’t want to do. Think of Picasso: he was a very good painter, but only after he had finished photorealistic paintings he started to develop his signature style, abstract shapes and colors.

  12. January 16, 2018 / 11:41 pm

    I loved this post Lucy and I can totally relate! I feel like I’ll never really fit into that “typical” blogger box and honestly I don’t want to. I’d much rather create the content I’m passionate about and I respect you for doing that too x

    Bekah / rbekhaj.com

  13. Pilar Gesino
    January 17, 2018 / 12:51 am

    This is so real. Like we see all this bloggers showing you the perfect picture or street style and you low key want to be like them but we all have a image and an idea of who we are. That is what I love about you, you are way more real than other bloggers and you talk about important subjects we don’t see often in our timelines.
    Keep being you, Lucy.
    Love
    Pili
    To Read with Tea

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