As some of you may already know- I was recently inspired after watching Essena Oniell’s viral breakdown over her “Fake” social media life. (I did a couple of posts online immediately after watching). You can read more and see her video on why she quit social media on her NEW site where there are no logged likes or followers and where she has started a new movement called LETS BE GAME CHANGERS. The trending hashtag for fans of this movement is:
While Essena’s 500,000 followers seem to be following her every move and continue to support her in this new venture, I am still trucking away, attempting to make a living as a blogger. #GottaMakeThatLiving
Instead of altogether quitting social media, I will be curating content and posting my own monthly reveal in honor of this concept. I am going to be calling this revealing blogging series #FashionFakes since I’ll be exposing the incredible effort that goes into creating one “effortless” shot for Social Media.
I watched all the recent videos on Essena’s sight and was struck by so many issues she brought up like “yelling at her sister” and the shitty self image outside of these retouched photos of herself. These two elements resonate with me (and probably my boyfriend who takes most of my photos) because I have found myself in that same boat on several occasions.
Life seems glamorous in my Insta Feed. What do I have to complain about?
Sure, it sounds dreamy and perfect to have a boyfriend photographer… and in so many ways it is perfect. But when the draw backs include hours of high stress interaction, a boyfriend feeling critizized and a blogger in tears, who can call that perfect? Or dreamy?
The truth is, my boyfriend can’t be to blame. At all. I take all the credit for being an emotional infant when I’m having a bad hair day or the clothes we’re shooting make me look bad. Or heaven forbid, Jose takes a photo of me in bad light. Despite going into this with a history of being on set as a professional model and actress, I am only human. It’s a vulnerable thing to stand in front of a camera and allow someone to capture who you are in that single moment. If you’re a dreamer at all, you probably see yourself and the world in a softer light. And trust me, the camera does not always offer that.
Secondly, I find that even when we are on supposed vacation or getting away for the weekend I end up working. My work is endless. Social media does not sleep, so how can I?
It is the worst when I find myself telling my daughter, Ella, to get out of my shots. I try and balance it and take photos with her often before snapping my own. And to be honest, unless there’s an immediate deadline, I don’t shoot when she’s home with me. But when this does happen and when I do see her little face fall as she walks out of frame, I wonder just what the fuck I’m doing. And is it really worth it?
So, how do we get around this? How do we find balance as bloggers?
For me, this has been tricky from the start since I have a daughter. I have to be on my toes a lot quicker than my younger, single colleagues, or Ella pays the price. So you’ll be relieved to know that I have some major rules. There are exceptions of course, so please don’t think this is black and white. The whole point of this is a journey towards balance. Not perfection. 😉
Rule 1- Schedule my Blogging Time
This has been incredibly helpful. I have another day job, photography, which I schedule out tediously. I set deadlines and reminders throughout my work week for each client so that I can work stress-free and prevent work from slipping through the cracks. So, scheduling blogging time was a must from the get-go.
Rule 2- Make it Fun
Seriously. This is a rule mostly administered by my bf, Jose. He requires me to have fun while shooting or he threatens to stop, haha. This means that I am held accountable to find my zen and to clear my mind. That may sound cheesy, but it’s SO important. Otherwise, I will rush into a shoot irritable and grumpy. If I don’t FEEL good, I won’t put good energy into the photos and then the whole cycle of fighting begins and ends in tears.
I should also point out, that honoring this mind space allows me to put everything into perspective. This is my job. My job is to make these clothes look pretty. Everyone else works really hard with an end goal, this just happens to be mine. If it takes 100 photos to get one shot, that’s okay, as long as I don’t attach my self worth to that….
Rule 3- OFF My Phone during Family Time
This is an important rule for me since my job feels endless. It can be addicting. Trust me, I’ve read the actual scientific articles and statistics on the human brain and our addiction to online feedback. Our hands begin to itch for our phones when they are not at hand. And our brains are waiting for a rush of new information and positive feedback.
So instead of allowing this addiction to seep into my real life, I set my phone down for meals, walks and quality time. Or if we are on a drive together, we require everyone to get off their phones so we can chat. Or God forbid we all be bored together. 😉
So why continue blogging? If there are all these cons?
The truth is, the pros are obvious, haha. The fun of blogging and creating content that inspires speaks for itself. This movement needs to balance out the reality behind the creation, but for me, blogging has always been more fun than stressful. Even if the scales tip the other way on a crappy day, most days it’s quite fun and gratifying.
I love fashion and I love to style closets. For now I mostly style my own, but it’s so rewarding to know that readers are discovering new ways to put their old wardrobe together. Or finding new places to shop. Or even going out and purchasing one of my favorite staples!
Fashion is like a puzzle to me. And as you know, with fashion- this puzzle comes with 100,000 pieces and continues to change every season! I thrive on those challenges and feel like people are my canvas and closets are my paint. It’s art.
As a blogger, when I am offered a paid or sponsored gig I consider this an opportunity. I consider it a job that I love and am lucky to do. It does not strike me as disingenuous if I am paid to wear an outfit that I selected, or approved. Especially since I’m styling it of my own accord. It can be overwhelming and difficult to say no if the money is good, but you don’t stand behind the product, but I have been lucky and felt confident enough to only blog about brands and designs that I love.
Back to this movement- Social Media is Not Real
We all applaud Essena for her courage to call out the reality of social media, to give us a peek behind the Glamour curtain. It reminds me of the movement in what… the 60’s? When paparazzi began to take street photos of celebrities instead of only photographing them done up on their studio, staged sets. You mean, celebrities have bad hair days and wear wrinkled clothes in public? This was revolutionary and previous to this, we didn’t quite understand the term “smoke and mirrors”. We believed women really could be THAT perfect.
It could be considered an opportunity lost that Essena deleted her online accounts. Essena had created a built-in platform to share her newfound wisdom on the downfalls of Social Media stardom. However, I understand more than most what it’s like to burnout- to be altogether finís. I think she made the best move to protect her emotional health and sanity. This is the most admirable component to her viral video and au revoire to Social Media. I hope she continues to find confidence in her new venture on Let’s Be Game Changers.
So, as for my own platform, Fashion Fakes: I am happy to ride the coattails of this brave, teenage pioneer. Here’s my first reveal for #FASHIONFAKES so please leave your feedback and responses. And let me know what other Fashion Fakes you’d like me to post about or reveal!
Here you’ll see the original photo from my iPhone 6 shot on a while wall in the airport. I think I took about 80 photos both here and another spot in the airport where the light was not as flattering.
I’m wearing foundation made for HD photos so it smooths out most of my blemishes except for my stubborn dark circles and my unicorn pimple.
Once I was finally satisfied with the lighting and angle of one image, you’ll see that I cloned out my forehead pimples, smoothed my skin, lightened my under eyes and even fixed a wayward brow! All of this was done in the app Facetune.
Nearly all of my photos, unless I have some kind of miracle light- are processed through Facetune. I don’t think it’s terrible to glam up a photo, but I think it’s terrible for people to feel like shit as they aspire to something that’s not real.
So there you go. The naked, real me blogger behind the blog. Let me know your thoughts. Even the negative ones… This is to get a conversation going and I will try not to take it personally. 😉
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