Mean Girls In The Influencer Community
There is so much mystery around being an influencer that I’m not surprised it has become the most coveted job amongst younger generations.
Ask a child in school what they want to be and the majority say ‘influencer’ or ‘YouTuber’ or ‘Twitch streamer’ and I believe that’s largely due to the fact that so few people talk about the reality of it. I’ve been a part of that too because unfortunately, the times I have wanted to be the most honest have also coincided with brand work, and therefore because you aren’t allowed to talk negatively about the brand, it becomes hard to be honest about the situations surrounding it.
The reason why it tends to always be around brand work is because it’s when I’m forced to interact with other influencers and that is what has led to the most pain, hurt, and upset working in this industry. Oftentimes, I found myself lamenting that these influencer events were not far off being in high school again, and when I find myself at these events, I’m not shocked the stereotype of an influencer is what it is. I remember one breakfast event that happened to coincide with the morning where Instagram was crashing. The number of followers you had was showing incorrectly and this was sending everyone into a panic. Everyone at the table was busy comparing their pages to ensure it wasn’t just them. I, however, was much calmer, mainly because it isn’t logical that you can lose 50k followers overnight without you doing something and so I was certain it would return back to normal. Also, my follower count actually hadn’t been affected by the glitch.
It didn’t matter whether mine was affected anyway because no one was asking me or checking my Instagram. In fact, no one was talking to me at all. This was not unusual. Maybe it’s because I am plus size, maybe it’s because I’m mixed race but more than one time at these events, I have been assumed to be working the event, not actually attending. At one event, I was wearing a bright pink skirt and still, I was asked to get someone a drink, despite all the waiters wearing black. As people continued ignoring me and shrugged me off anytime I started a conversation, I went back to eating the delightful breakfast food on offer. That is, until the only person I knew at the event, said “But Michelle isn’t affected so maybe it isn’t affecting verified accounts”. For those who don’t know, verified accounts are the ones with the blue ticks on them and those blue ticks are COVETED by influencers, marking them as elite and making them feel as if they have truly ‘made it’ by being separated by the rest of those on social media.
Suddenly, it was like someone had thrown a loaf of bread at a flock of pigeons. All the people who hadn’t even bothered to reply when I tried to introduce myself, were now so invested in getting to know me, asking me my username because they would LOVE to follow me. It’s fake, it’s false and that swift switch from how the judgment of my appearance deemed me irrelevant to the realisation that I could actually be someone worth knowing, never stops being truly disgusting.