In the influencer’s mind: “I’ve been called an influencer yes, but I do not label myself as one.”

How often do you look at someone’s Instagram wishing you had their life? In the past decade, influencers became unreachable perfection only a very few lucky ones can achieve. Every day is a holiday, and every photo looks as if it was taken from a magazine you cannot even afford to buy. Oh, what a joyful life it must be! Or is it? What does it actually feel like to be an influencer? Do they even realise their influence? And do they ever take a break from influencing? 

To examine this topic more, we asked Olivia Rae; a model, a professional hairstylist, a blonde goddess living in New York we all wish we were, and most importantly the influencer with almost ten years of experience with being present on social media to answer some of our questions and give us an insight into the influencer’s mind. 

@theoliviarae

How would you define an influencer? 

I would define an influencer as someone who aims to influence lives, in a way that benefits their specific community. I do feel the term has been used in a loose way to describe someone who has a following online for personal gain. 

Do you see yourself as an influencer? And if, since when did you begin to see yourself as one? What was the turning point? 

I’ve been called an influencer yes, but I do not label myself as one. My turning point in discovering this is ongoing. I know there are people with much more influence, but I do stay strong knowing the responsibility that having a following comes with. 

Is the persona on the internet different from you in real life?  

I have had an online following since 2014 or so. I have grown and changed so much in this time. I would say that I am different from what people probably envision me to be! I aim to be more of myself every day, but there are parts I hold back from sharing online for sure. 

In your video about why you won’t sign a contract with a modelling agency again you said you’re primarily a hair and makeup artist, however this video is over 2 years old now. Has it changed and social media has become the full-time job or is it still more of a hobby? 

Hair has become more of my focus these days for sure! I am a hairstylist at IGK in Soho as well as traveling to teach about the brand’s products. I would say social media has always been second for me. I enjoy it, but when being forced to use it for work, it doesn’t feel fun anymore. I got into modeling when I was 16, and what I wanted out of the industry was not what agencies were ever able to provide for me. Doing hair, I have been able to combine all of my loves into one and make a great long-lasting career for myself in the process. I influence women and men all day long, by explaining the importance of the brands they use, making human connection, and making them feel better about themselves! 

Can you sometimes “turn off” and not think about social media or is it something that is always with you?

This one is hard for me! I definitely battle the overuse of social media. Where is the line drawn for consumption versus utilizing it as a tool or for work. I aim to fast from social media at least once a year! If I am being honest though, it is always in the back of my mind. Especially living in NYC, everything is good content here hahaha! 

You mostly do fashion, beauty and lifestyle. Do you have one you gravitate towards the most? And are those categories also the ones you as a consumer like to follow the most? 

Definitely lifestyle! I think we are ever-changing, and I don’t like being limited to one category, group, etc. I would say I follow the lifestyle and fashion the most! I love aesthetics, and things visually pleasing to me. 

What is your favorite type of content to create?  

My favorite content to create has always been YouTube videos, but every time I try to stay with them, I overthink them and then just put it off until that video isn’t relevant anymore. So lately reels have been a nice replacement for that! I can still share videos, but they are shortened versions of what I want to post. I put very little thought into them, I just take a bunch of short videos and throw them together. Photoshoots will always have my heart though! I just see the world moving into videos more and more, so I do what I can to stay relevant haha. 

Is there anything you don’t like when other influencers do? 

It irks me when people want to influence to gain for themselves. That goes against the word entirely. So taking any brand deal for money, or doing unnecessary things for attention, I don’t enjoy seeing that. 

How do you think being an influencer will evolve in the future? 

I think when everything is important, nothing is. So I don’t bank on the idea that being an influencer will have longevity. There will be a younger generation with more accessibility to this online world than anyone has ever seen. I see it having a dark side where people lose the importance of real neighborly love and being self-absorbed. This life is about others, not yourself. So when you posture your mind and life to reflect that, it has immense value overtaking what you can for your gain. I hope we remember to love one another above all else! 

Instagram: @theoliviarae

Written by Michaela Piontkova