Self-awareness: a lovely trait, no doubt—but difficult to master. Too much, and you are agreeable, but unable to make decisions or take actions without worrying intensely about what others think. Too little, and you end up alienating people with your obliviousness because you lack a key feature for the development of relationships with others.
Enter Stephanie Rice, a social media influencer claiming that she isn’t a social media influencer and who hates the world of social media influencing yet has a post like this:
View this post on Instagram
???? BIG NEWS ???? Finally, I can share this super exciting news with you. I have partnered with @unichi_wellness The most incredible, health and beauty company as their new ASIA-PACIFIC ambassador. I'm thrilled to have been given this honor to use my public voice to share their amazing products and messages with you all. When this offer came through the door, it was so clear to me how perfectly aligned this partnership would be as @unichi_wellness is all about "Beauty From Within" and "Being Unique" … Two things I continually strive for. My coach always used to say "wouldn't it be boring if we were all the same" … besides, why be the same as someone else, when you can be your own cool, authentic, unique self. So here's to being awesomely UNIQUE and enjoying lots of natural vitamins ????????????????
Well considering she is announcing a partnership with a brand, it’s not hard to figure out which side of self-awareness she falls on.
Rice, a former Olympian who won three gold medals back in 2008 in competitive swimming has just 130,000 Instagram followers—so she isn’t “influencing” a massive amount of people (compared to other Instagrammers out there). Still, the fact that a quick scroll through her Instagram reveals a shit-ton of posts about bettering one’s life and pushing certain products, perhaps the problem is that she is a bit confused about definitions:
“I hate the word ‘influencer’ because I would never call myself an influencer,” she told the Daily Mail, “If I am able to be influential, that’s a gift, but I don’t try to be influential.”
In her defense, the category of “influencer” does has a wide girth. For example, both Kim Kardashian and The Foot Collective (a guy who created a profile devoted to foot health) could be considered profiles of influence—and yet, both have very different intentions: one captures utter beauty and a perfection in life we can only hope to achieve. The other is Kim Kardashian.
But still, there comes a point at which she has to see that, even if it isn’t her intentions—even if she is just naturally “influential”—she is still working on a platform, selling a lifestyle and, at other times, a product.
At the end of the day, until the definition is ironed out, she’s an influencer. Which kind of makes you want to roll your eyes at her predictions:
“I predict that probably in two years a lot of influencers won’t be influencers because one minute they’re posting about something healthy and the next about junk food,” the 2013 Celebrity Apprentice winner said, “And it’s like: ‘Well which one are you, who are you? I don’t know you.’ Social media is so superficial, I get really over it.”
I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again:
You can read the full piece here.
Cover photo by Erik Lucatero
Influence Photo by Elijah Macleod