Have you ever wondered about an influencer’s life behind the scenes? I managed to talk to Daisy Jelley about how she gained her followers and how it’s affected her life so far.
Daisy is a 20 year old model from Surrey, she’s been modelling for the past 9 years and has recently found fame on TikTok. Here she tells me the ups and downs of her busy life and has some tips for anyone wanting to up their Instagram game.
How did you gain a large social following? Do you remember when it was?
“I actually gained a large following once I started posting videos on the app TikTok. I have more followers on there and the followers would come from that app and follow me on Instagram. I think I started gaining followers in December/ the beginning of 2020 because I remember I had just hit 20k on Instagram in November 2019 and I’m now at a quarter of a million on Instagram and 1.5 million on TikTok which I can’t get my head around. Instagram is a hard platform to grow on by itself now due to the annoying algorithm so for me the best way to grow on there was from an exterior app which I think a lot of people have found helps too.”
And how did it make you feel?
“At the time it made me feel good because having a large social media following is super important with my modelling work because brands are starting to pay more attention and book people based on followers (what has the world come to haha) but it makes sense because using someone with more followers will gain them more exposure if that person reposts. I had been working hard on my social media trying to gain followers for a few years now so when a wave of followers came in it made me feel good. I found though that after a little while, I wasn’t living life too presently because I was in a bad place mentally, so it was confusing when people were telling me I was doing well when I was being hard on myself and not acknowledging my progress.”
How has your life changed since gaining a larger following?
Lots of new opportunities from it! Went to the brits with TikTok and I’ve worked with some brands I never thought I would (armani, moncler, Hugo boss, about to work with Gucci)
I’ve gained another job out of it meaning a whole new income stream and exposure to high-end brands (which having these contacts can also carry into my modelling work too if they wanted to ever do a campaign)
Having nice uplifting comments and being recognised on the street can make me recognise the hard work is paying off so it is quite motivating. Being noticed isn’t super frequent yet so it’s not super disruptive to my life- so at the moment it’s positive.
It can sometimes be fun making content!
I basically have to juggle two jobs now. While slowly moving into the acting world too. From an outsider’s perspective, they may think work on Instagram and TikTok is super easy but it can take hours to get a video or the right photo for the clients as clients can be super super picky.
I sometimes allocate like two hours in a busy schedule to film a TikTok for a brand and even though I might like it, the brand might not and I might have to reshoot a few times meaning another few mornings or afternoons spent on it. Same with lighting for photos in England- because it’s grey a lot of the time it can be hard to get good photos. Also, clients are slow getting back but there are also deadlines so it can be quite stressful and tiring getting it all done.
Lots of hateful comments for no reason- there’s a lot of trolls out there. Most of the time I just ignore it but when you get a dm saying “if I had her body I would kill my self” it can be quite hard to ignore.
You also have to get so much content shot for in between brand deals so you don’t look like you’re just a shop! So lots of pictures and videos have to be taken.
Also, I now get a load of random messages out of nowhere from people I haven’t spoken to in ages asking for favours. When people who haven’t made an effort to keep in contact with me reach out to me to get me to promote something, it can be quite upsetting because they’re so openly using me. I used to find it hard to say no but I’ve now made boundaries and only say yes to things I’m fine with and people that are close to me and with the others I say my perspective so that they know what they’re doing because I think some people don’t actually realise why it can be hurtful.
Overall I’m super grateful for gaining more followers and it has opened up so many opportunities for me already. I am so thankful to have had this extra income stream this year meaning I’ve been able to work at home when we couldn’t leave the house due to the pandemic. There are always negatives that come with the positives so that has to be considered too.”
What’s your favourite social media platform to create content and why?
“To create content it’s probably TikTok. I love making and editing little videos whether that’s for fashion or makeup or dancing or behind the scenes or anything. I always feel making the videos are nice memories to look back on and are usually all positive. The only thing on this app is that you have to post so frequently so there’s pressure to get a load of content on there. Insta comes up as a close second because it’s more of the platform that I share my style on and chat to people in polls and questions on my stories. The apps can be similar in ways, especially now reels is a thing. I go live on both of the apps which can be fun too.”
Do you pursue brands to work with or do they contact you (for social media adverts)?
“No, they always reach out to either me or my agency, I just forward the emails to my agency and they sort it. The agency takes a percentage but it’s easier than doing it all myself because they pick the right brands for me and they also up the rates a lot because a lot of brands try to be cheeky at first with low rates as some people would just accept that.
The only time I reach out to a brand is if I really like their products and want to do a gifting – for giftings you don’t have to post anything if you don’t want to but when I really like something I like to share the love on my story.”
Has the pandemic affected your social media content? If so how?
“Not majorly no, due to modelling work still continuing with social distancing regulations, I’m still going into work and being on set so I can always take pictures there. I also feel like the fact we were at home for so long during the first lockdown just made me make so much content because I was growing and had time to. The only ways I think it’s affected me getting content is because I can’t really collab with people because we can’t meet people or get super close to them but also wearing masks when I’m out and about has affected content a bit- in busy places I can’t take pictures unless I’m fine with them being with a mask on.”
Do you class yourself as an influencer? Why?
“Hmm, this ones a hard one. I don’t like to say I am because of the negative stereotypes of an influencer but I also feel like there are different types of “influencers”. Most of them not really influencing in a good way by promoting dietary products or overly editing pictures. I guess I am partially an influencer now but I always have in mind what brands are the best to work with to ensure I’m taken seriously in the modelling industry and also the acting industry (which I’m slowly moving into now) doing too many ads or working with the wrong people can have a negative effect on that and I think a lot of influencers just take all the work thrown at them. I would say I’m a model/actress that does a bit of social media promo on the side due to the following I’ve gained.”
What your favourite thing about being on Instagram?
“I like seeing what my friends are up to, I love looking at how creative and arty people get on there with style and poses and actual arts and then I like communicating with people on there and showing people what I’m up to and being creative on there myself.”
What has been your biggest challenge with your large following?
“Probably getting so much content out there constantly to keep everyone engaged and to fill gaps between branded posts. It’s physically and mentally draining sometimes and when it gets too much I pull myself out of it for a second so I can figure myself out mentally before continuing.”
Do you have a favourite influencer? Who is it and why?
“Hmm not really, there’s so many people out there who make amazing content and I love following them all. I guess at the moment I’m liking Emma chamberlain because I was looking at her Instagram the other day and love a lot of her outfits and then her content is just super real with no filter on what she says. Just relatable and has similar interests in fashion.”
Do you have any inspiration for your Instagram feed or just post what you want?
“No not really I kind of just post what I want. But I guess over time through the exposure to other people’s content and my love for Pinterest, I guess I get inspired by little things along the way. (Posing, style, photo ideas)”
What is your occupation? And do you enjoy it?
“My occupation is full-time model and social media influencer now I guess haha.
No I haven’t liked modelling at all recently. I’ve been doing it for 9 years now so what would excite me in the past happens daily now and it’s all starting to get a bit repetitive and draining and I’m starting to feel a bit like a mannequin sometimes. Recently on a shoot, I shot 59 outfits in one day, so that’s getting ready, changing 59 times, and trying to look the best I can in between with as much energy as possible- it made me feel a little numb and I had to talk to my agency about it because it wasn’t good for me mentally or physically.
Same with social media- I don’t think this will be a long-term job but it’s been super useful this year as an income stream with all that’s going on and I’m so grateful for it. I imagine I will always do the odd ad on my socials even if I was to go into acting.
For a while now though, I’ve found a passion in acting and I’m having meetings soon with an acting agency which is exciting. I’ve acted all my life but never thought about pursuing it until now. Modelling is confusing in a way that it’s lonely but you’re always surrounded by people (I guess because the people you work with are kinda there for that one day but you may see them once or twice again or never again so no strong connections or long projects) with acting I’m excited for that- getting to meet with and work with people for a long period of time and having new exciting roles to work on for each project keeping it exciting.
Apart from my bad view on modelling now, I am so grateful for all the opportunities it has given me and daily I am thankful for the work that I get. Some days I love my job! It really depends on what I’m doing that day and who I’m working with- campaigns are so fun and amazing! I understand I’m super lucky and a lot of people would like to be in my shoes! But what’s happened is I’ve fallen out of love with it a little and I always say do what you love so I’m excited for what’s to come with the acting opportunities!”
What is your dream job?
“My dream job would be an acting role in a major film or series, I would love an interesting role where the character has two sides. A dream role would be something like Amy from Gone Girl or a cool role in action film like Margot Robbie in Suicide Squad.”
What’s your greatest achieviement?
“My greatest achievement so far I’d say would be being on a Charlotte tilbury ad on the electronic billboard in Piccadilly Circus. This is the one time I’ve looked at something I’ve done and cried because I’m proud of myself for how far I’ve come and I know if I told myself a few years ago that it was going to happen I wouldn’t have believed it. I’m hard on myself and have never let myself celebrate my small achievements so I have been blind to my progress but this was definitely a reminder.”
Do you see yourself continuing to be active on social media in the future?
“Yes, of course, I feel like social media is the future now. Everything is online so I have to keep up to date with that. I also enjoy it most of the time so I can’t see myself coming off of it. And like I said before. Having more following and being more active gets me more work and better jobs in the industries that I’m in.”
Do you have any tips for anyone wanting to grow their social media?
Good lighting (very very important).
Fun poses- usually the weirder you feel in a pose the better you look so if you think you’re bad at posing practice in a mirror or on your phone camera.
Keep it natural- try not to edit your photos much and keep things relatable.
Get on as many social media platforms as you can and try to grow on those too- being on others will trigger growth and people from one might start following you on the other.
Play around with your style- get out of your comfort zone a bit and get creative. I used to be scared of wearing my style around my home town or to school but now I just don’t care about other people’s opinions on my style. If you like your style and are confident in it, it’ll show in the content.
Get used to taking pictures in public- no one is going to want the same picture of you and your girls in the same spot at home. Location is important to keep it interesting so try not to just be against a plain wall.
Play around with angles- shooting from higher and lower can be fun- or on the zoomed out feature on the newer iPhones. I’m going to invest in a fish eye lens soon because I think they’re so fun.
If you find it hard being creative- look at your favourite influencers posts and see what works for them or make mood boards on Pinterest. This can also work for poses if you don’t know what to do- see how other people pose in pictures and attempt their pose.
Post frequently but don’t overkill- keep posting on your stories too, Instagram’s algorithm likes that and will push your posts more because your audience is engaging more.
Collab with people if you can and get creative! It’s fun on your feed and their followers might see you and like you too and vice versa so it can be beneficial for the both of you.
Usually, it’s hard to grow at the start so you can’t be too hard on yourself. Try and get on apps like TikTok where anyone can go viral and the more good content you post the more likely you are to go viral. See what works for other people and what is trending on the videos you see on your ‘for you page’, it’s okay if your content is the same as someone else’s- that’s the whole point of a trend on there so hop on it before too many people are doing it. And then for Instagram just post your favourite photos and play around with being creative.
And just try to have fun! Be as real as possible online and connect with people.