A Positive Influence
There is nothing more frustrating in my eyes than the social media “influencers” of today or individuals with a certain degree of fame, who do nothing but promote themselves or use their large platforms purely for financial gain. If you have created your own platform to promote your brand, whether it be a product or yourself, then you have every right and reason to be selfish and put yourself first; its your platform at the end of the day, so be as creative and authentic as you possibly can be. But I also strongly feel that at the end of the day - being an “influencer” - you have a duty to positively influence those around you. As cliche as it sounds, one of the most iconic lines in cinematic history is that of Uncle Ben to a young Peter Parker, a.k.a, Spiderman. He turns to his young nephew and tells him “with great power, comes great responsibility”.
I realise however that a large Instagram following is nothing compared to a superpower such as the abilities that Peter Parker possesses, but an individual, celebrity or “Influencer” does have the power to alter the way people behave or think. I have growing admiration and respect for that of Leonardo DiCaprio; the actor known globally for his on-screen talent. And yet every one of the 26 million people that follow him on Instagram can tell you all he does is promote the environment, and how we need to change the way we behave so that our families have a planet to call home further down the line. DiCaprio is a superpower in his own right; influencing hundreds of thousands of people on a daily basis to change the way they behave in order to save our planet. So why don’t more people take a leaf out of his book?
I would be an incredibly hypocritical individual to say that influencers shouldn’t try and bring income to themselves as I do it myself; being a university student, money doesn’t always come easily so you need to create new forms of income access. For some, their platform has become a full time job and the soul source of income.
But its time for a change. It’s time we all stopped being so selfish and actually worked towards doing something for the greater good, especially when you have the power or ability to shape someones view or opinion. It’s important to be selfish; to have self-care and to put yourself first, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave others lying in the dirt behind you. Social media is extremely powerful, so take full force of that power, be a hero and positively influence someones life.
I realised that having 100,000+ people following me means I have created an opportunity for myself; an opportunity to better my life, but also to better those of the 100,000+ people that follow me. I’d like to think that when people watch my stories or see my posts, they feel better for it. I try to support causes and spread awareness for charities. I’m an ambassador for Breast Cancer Care, Young Minds UK and The Diana Award. This is not me selfishly indulging in my actions or blowing my own trumpet, this is an example of how I try to better the lives of those around me. I want to use my voice to effect people in a positive light.
Too many young people today leave Instagram pages today feeling depressed and low in self-esteem. They’ve left a page where unattainable beauty and a unique look has been thrown in their face; they then feel as if they can never achieve that level, and so are pushed into this black hole of negative self talk and sadness. What they don’t realise is that the picture they’ve seen is edited, and so they are pursuing a look that isn’t even a reality. 70,000 children in the United Kingdom are on anti-depressants. 70,000. That’s absolutely mortifying. Lets say Kylie Jenner just posted a picture with big boobs and a big bum, which have been edited to make her look more admirable; what people don’t realise is that there are young teenage girls who are depressed, and feel sad because they’ve seen their role model In this picture, and feel down because its something they don’t have, and generally not in control of. Kylie Jenner is beautiful, and yes I don’t blame her for flaunting her looks; but at least now people are aware of it.
A picture only shows one side of the story, and thats all your followers see, so lets try to make it a good side. You only see half the story on social media; you only see people happy because thats what they want you to see. Behind the curtain, they are normal people, just like you, who have bad days and problems of their own.
For a model to tell you that his pictures haven’t been edited or that I haven’t used the way I look to help me along the way, would be the most ironic thing you’ve ever heard, and I wouldn’t blame you for telling me to politely fuck off. There are however photos I haven’t put out, because they don’t show me for how I actually look. I have built a page and a base off the back off a career in the modelling industry; but that base has now given me the opportunity to talk about things far, far more important than the way I look. Yes, I have worked hard to build a body that I’m proud of, but that motivation has grown into something bigger; my website helps individuals to pursue a healthy, active lifestyle. I try to share my views, based off the mistakes I’ve made in the past to help others be healthier; mentally, and physically.
The mental health epidemic is rapidly increasing, and unfortunately individuals who behave in a self indulged manner and promote a certain lavish lifestyle, as I have I done in the past, are a large causality of this. We have become a society that degrades people for their flaws; in one persons eyes they are a negative, but someones imperfections are another perfections. Lets appreciate and love people for who they are, allow people to be themselves and not feel like they have to be someone else. I am learning along the way, from my mistakes and my experiences, and am trying to implement these changes and the way I show myself on my page.
I’m making a big call to everyone out there, whether you have 100 followers or 1,000,000 followers; please use the influence that you have on other people for good. We are all influencers in our own right, there are some though who have a larger range than others.
You don't have to do it all the time, or implement it like a new religious trend. But every once in a while, talk about something or share something that truly means something personal to you. Too many people will jump on a bandwagon to be seen as a good person, when actually they couldn't care less.
When people come to your page, make sure they leave with a smile on their face. Show you for who you are and promote yourself the way you want to, sure. But promote happiness, promote love, well-being, health, charities, a positive approach to life and a realistic, beneficial idea for people to look up to. Spread awareness for good things, and leave a positive influence.