The life of an influencer is a great mystery to us mortals. When we see them online, it's just their persona. After all, managing their social media profiles is their job, and who is truly themselves while they're working?
So, Reddit user superfuncity decided to find out what lies beneath the facade. Recently, they posted a question to r/AskReddit, asking "IRL friends of social media 'influencers': what is it like?"
I know what you're thinking. 'Who could openly criticize their friends?' But you have to remember this is Reddit, the part of the Internet where people can remain anonymous. So, many did.
I was best friends with a now influencer. She’s a genuine person but also lies, if that makes sense? She very much about empower women and helping people accept themselves and build their confidence, which is a great platform!
However, some of the anecdotes she tells about “struggling with fitting in” when she was a teen are blatant lies. She was popular and every guy had a crush on her. I don’t want to undermine whatever internal struggle she faced, but when she tells stories about bullying in high school, they’re lies.
She’s genuine about wanting to be positive for people, I just wish she did it a bit more honestly.
The idea for the post took superfuncity by surprise when they were taking a break from coursework. "My favorite posts on r/AskReddit are ones where an assumption I make about a job, experience, person, [or something else] is either confirmed or rebuked," the Reddit user told Bored Panda.
"I thought about an observation I had concerning influencers and then made the post after making sure the question wasn't asked in a way that only asked for confirmation of my assumption."
I have a neighbour who is an influencer... she uses her kids and behind the scenes is nothing like the happy pictures! She screams at them to smile and on one occasion, said I don’t give a fk if you don’t like the fken juice! Just pretend and smile! It’s all fake and I hate it.
Superfuncity formed their own opinion about influencers after a guy that was on their high school soccer team back in 2014 eventually became a Nike model with over 1,000,000 Instagram followers. "We are from Arkansas and he now is an influencer in LA. His posts make him look like a confident man but I remember when he was an insecure high schooler that cared too much about social media validation. This has caused me to have the belief that most influencers live gilded lives," superfuncity said.
I know a wannabe influencer. She will reply to her own posts from her husband's account praising herself. Then she will reply to those posts as herself thanking him, it's hilarious, like inception for Facebook.
Natasha Ndlovu, who has built up 120,000 followers on Instagram with her fashion and beauty posts, agrees that the very term influencer can be a "heated" word.
"I guess that's because there's still that generation, that group in society, that thinks we're a bit obnoxious," Ndlovu told the BBC.
However, she also acknowledges that it's understandable that many don't comprehend why it has become a profession in its own right.
Pretty mundane, honestly. My friend is conventionally attractive, and if you look at her social media, you'd think she were a supermodel millionaire who goes on tons of trips.
She's actually chronically unemployed, and has an income of less than 10k/yr. Her boyfriend makes about $60k/yr which is enough to afford them a very nice 3 1/2 bedroom apartment, and she has tons of props she uses to make each room look different from day to day so it seems like she's always in a new, exotic place. They take two trips a year to fun, tropical places, in which she takes many photos, and posts them as different places throughout the year.
She's a very kind, considerate, sparkling personality, but whenever we hang out, I tend to be a shoulder to cry on as she laments about her lack of success in life. It's quite sad, honestly. But with her creativity and personality, I think she'll achieve her dreams eventually.
Ndlovu recalls the confusion she saw on a postman's face when he began delivering a large number of products that were being sent to her by brands when she first launched her blog.
"I get a lot of mail. So a lot of the delivery people know who I am, they see me more than they see most people down the street," she said.
One of my best friends dated a really insta-famous guy. He invited us to his house for a Christmas party and this is when I realized how fake social media was.
The guy didn’t have the car he paraded on social media. He he leased it, took several photo shoots with it, then gave it back. His house was in a different city than he claimed. I don’t think it was for security reasons though. He said he lived in a very rich city but his house was in a more modest place. He asked me to send him the videos I took at the party, posted them, and didn’t even tag me because I “didn’t have enough followers”? The worst part was that all the social media people at the party just kept yelling over each other trying to make the next big joke, but none of them were funny.
Dude has millions of people fooled.
But regardless of what we think of them, it looks like influencers are here to stay. As they become more plentiful and proven, brand dollars have flooded in their direction. Brands are set to spend up to $15 billion on influencer marketing by 2022, per Insider Intelligence estimates, based on Mediakix data. They are relevant.
And the popularity of superfuncity's post might be a good indication of that. "I was overwhelmed with the number of comments my post had," the Reddit user said. "So many people have had negative experiences with influencers and have seen close friends become self-consumed narcissists that have lost touch with reality. It confirmed my assumptions."
Not a friend per say but my ex’s sister is an influencer (beauty/makeup) with over a million followers on yt.
She was so anxious and stressed all the time. Horribly insecure. If she got some backlash or bad comments she’d be so upset. Was on a lot of anti-anxiety medication. Meanwhile all the posts are her looking beautiful and travelling etc. She didn’t have many friends either (that i saw anyway. Just lots of fans).
It looked horrible. Ruined the illusion for me (that their lifestyles are perfect/happy) and i’m thankful for being able to see behind the curtain.
not a friend of an influencer, but i am an “influencer” i guess. i have 150k+ on youtube. it was so much fun to start of with, but now all i feel is constant pressure. if i make one mistake, i could lose everything i’ve spent years building. i’m never sure whether new friends like me for me, or because they want ‘clout’. even tho my content is focused on true crime, and not me, having that many people watch you and comment on your appearance, the way you talk, etc can really [mess] you up. completely distorts your idea of self if you don’t find ways to step back. having non-social media friends really helps bring you back to earth. and trying to treat it was a typically 9-5.
Everything is fake. The attitude the mannerisms, everything.
It sounds stupid until you realize they clear close to 7 figures a year.
One time we vacationed with them and when we were out to dinner they said to us “one second we need to go film a bit” and they went from our friends who are calm and nice to the “HEY GUYS WE ARE IN THE BEAUTIFUL SOUTH FRANCE” annoying people everyone loves to hate.
My friend has 130K+ subs on YouTube with a channel that sounds completely bonkers. Endless drama, crazy stories, etc. Has the habit of using a baby voice & referring to herself in 3rd person. IRL, she’s the most sane, level headed & chill person. She’s just sharp AF & knows what sells.
It's annoying AF. One of my buddies is constantly filming everything we do and posting it. It's to the point where people walk up to me on the street and ask me about him because they've seen me in his posts...i have no idea who they are.
It dominates everything he does, and has severely impacted his personal relationships. He can't keep a GF and it's clearly related to this obsession of his. He does occasionally get some cool stuff out of it though.
After pretty much kicking him out of my life because I do not want to be continually posted online, we've come to the understanding that when he's about to take a pic or video, he hands me the phone so i'm not in the shot. Works OK for me.
She hasn’t come to anything I’ve invited her to in 5 years because she only goes to events that “further her business.” Regularly says things like, “we’re all using each other for something.” Sometimes she texts me the same exact thing word for word over a couple of days, and it’s obvious she just copy/pastes the same thing and sends it to all of us and then forgets who she has sent it to.
She still reaches out to me multiple times a year and claims I’m one of her best friends, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. I’ve told her as much, but she just says “this is my life now, my business comes first and if you can’t accept that, then I guess you’re not a real friend.”
So incredibly annoying. I actually emded up cutting her off because everything had to be a photo opportunity. We could never just go out to lunch, or see a movie without it turning into a photoshoot. She never did anything with our friend group unless it was 'aesthetic', and even then, she was so focussed on getting us to take photos that a. she didn't get to enjoy the activity, and b. it started bringing everyone else down because they couldn't participate either.
And this sounds so petty, but she could never just show up in a t-shirt and leggings (because photos, obviously). Like even sleepovers and movie nights had to be a big production and sometimes you just need to stuff your face with popcorn and look like a slob! It's good for the soul!!
She'd also complain a lot about how hard her job was... Our friendship group at the time consisted of an EMT, two nurses, a teacher, and me who was juggling university, tutoring, and working retail. Lile, I'm sure she had challenges and all jobs are hard sometimes, but... girl.... you get paid to take selfies with free stuff, and show up at events looking pretty...
Friends with a high profile athlete who is pretty popular on insta.... he is always on the phone... never lives in the moment. If we are doing anything fun? well, it basically didn't happen unless the world knows about it. Its just annoying ...I cant imagine living for the approval or satisfaction of others.
Awful. One of my best friends fell real hard into Instagram, and for a few years it was tolerable and understandable, albeit annoying and strange. Everything needed to be documented in specific ways, so lots & lots of photos, even if it took away from the moment. But the strange part was how, when she’d share things, the captions always told a slightly different story than what actually happened. Like just off enough for me and my other friends to say, huh, that has a weird quality to it.
Fast forward a couple years, and she gets engaged. Boom. This was the catalyst for the worst of the influencer mentality to come out. I was in the bridal party, and it was a nightmare. No gratitude, just demands. Demands for expensive trips and expensive parties and all kinds of things that were above and beyond the means of her closest friends. And all the demands were because she had a “following” and had certain expectations to meet.
It was really heart wrenching to witness someone belittle their best friend and maid of honor for trying to plan a sweet bridal shower because it wasn’t going to be at an expensive restaurant or art gallery. It reached its peak for me when, after the in-state wedding became an expensive destination wedding, there was the demand for an out-of-town bachelorette party a few weeks before. I was honest and said I couldn’t afford the bachelorette (mind you, I made about a thousand sacrifices over those months to afford what I could), and was promptly bridezilla’d and told I ruined the whole experience and that I was an awful, fake, inauthentic person.
It got so bad that the bridal party fractured and disintegrated, she lost two of her best friends (myself and the MOH didn’t even attend the wedding after all her behavior and blow-ups), and we’ve barely spoken since. All so she could have an instagrammable wedding that would look good for the few photos she ended up sharing of it. And, true to the weird strange re-written reality ways she had, she published a public “apology” on her blog for her followers and family that completely distorted and rewrote what happened, painted herself as the victim, and got her the sympathy points she was looking for.
Ppl really lose themselves when they create an artifice for social media. I learned a lot from her.
I dated one. Not super popular but followers in the 100k range last time we spoke. I remember a lot of getting ignored and only receiving nice gifts/acts of kindness when they could post about it. Asking me to go to nice places (they didn't drive) only to leave me on a bench somewhere while they took pictures. Huge strain on the relationship, especially when they started to get bigger and there was more demand for content.
Ex friend. She is NOTHING like her online persona, it’s icky. Online she’s this pseudo-spiritual peace-and-love type, always talking about “authenticity,” “good vibes,” and putting your phone down to be in nature, learned yoga in Guatemala, lives in a van etc. In reality everything is so obsessively curated, every post is an ad, she’s glued to her phone, she has serious codependency issues (falls in love with a new sh**ty guy every week), & is racist.
Exactly as fake and staged as you imagine it to be, the on-camera moments are completely non genuine. It is in the end just an acting/modeling job and not their real personality.
My cousin is a moderately successful instagram model and she absolutely hates it. She hates her fans, finds them all cringey and pathetic, hates the drama and how PC it all is (irl she's very conservative/traditional)
Only does it because it's the only way she can make money. She dropped out of school and endorsing products and taking pictures of herself is the only way she knows how to pay rent.
Irl she's basically the complete opposite of the happy bubblly ditzy girl she plays online and we often laugh over some of the messages she receives, including proposals and women angry that their sons/husbands are following her.
I've driven 3 hours, hiked one hour, they took a couple of photos over about 5 minutes and then complained that we're ready to go home.
Sometimes they will buy unhealthy, but 'grammable' food, take photos of them licking it, and then throwing it out.
I also have a friend who when overseas will set alarms for like, 3am, to wake up and post their photos from the day at the peak time back home.
I haven't seen them for a while.
My sister has tens of thousands of followers. We used to be best friends in high school and she was my favorite sibling (I’m number 7 out of 8 kids in my family, I know my parents are crazy). Now I feel like I barely know her. It’s like she’s this shell of the person she used to be. Seriously I’ve never met anyone who could make me laugh as hard as she used to make me laugh. Now I just sort of want to blow my brains out when I’m around her. She’s just so obsessed and fake now. It actually makes me really sad.
They hold significantly less influence than they would lead you to believe. If anything, they are easier to influence. Any company can offer them a minor sponsorship and boom they're just SO into these protein shakes and can't stop drinking them.
I have a friend who has recently started trying to become one. It’s SO DUMB. She posts half naked pictures of herself with captions that have nothing to do with the picture. She spend hours getting ready for her iPhone photo shoots and has little time for anything besides content creation.
Being an influencer is pretty much against everything I care about and stand for, so I envision us slowing drifting further apart. That's stupid.
Sad. In the beginning they started because they got offers from brands because they were so popular on Instagram and it was a lot of fun for them.
Now they don’t ever post pictures or videos without a filter. Rarely ever like a picture on the first try and don’t you dare post any pictures of them without getting their approval for it. Imagine trying to get a group picture with all of your friends for your birthday but having you take almost one hundred shots to get one that your influencer friend is happy with.
Also in the beginning I would like and comment on all of their posts but now that’s not enough. They expect me message it others, share it on my stories and my page (something about new rhythms and likes not being important anymore). I hate posting stuff to my page but I do it any way to be supportive.
It is so tiring. They do get free things sometimes though that they sometimes share with me. Not worth it imo.
Not friends with any anymore, but I used to work in San Diego nightlife and I had to rub elbows with a lot of these types. I'm talking 1-6m follower type girls who were brought into the club as promoters, back in ~2016 when 1m followers was a big deal.
The girls themselves aren't that bad. Some are crazy entitled, but for the most part they're there for business and SD is a small enough town that reputation matters.
The worst were the subsuckers. Other girls who had fewer than 1m followers, who hung around to try and soak up subscribers and make contacts in the industry. Think of them like small-time actors who think they're a big deal just because they have a few pilots in production. "I'm not big now, but you should kiss my ass because I'm the next big thing" types. These girls would literally do nothing but take pictures all night (or all day, depending on the club) and demand free bottles, extra service, and other garbage without ever tipping.
My wife has a friend that thinks she is a Kardashian with her 80k followers and does everything "for the gram" lol. Her ex boyfriend bought most of them lol and she only gets around 50 likes per post
To be honest it’s really s**t. I feel like I’ve been completely forgotten about and like I don’t matter anymore. I think that’s just some weird misguided jealousy but it still hurts because I miss talking to my friend.
She became a horrible self-centered bully.
I have a few friends who are small time food influencers (30-50k followers) and eating out with them is a nightmare. I have to wait for them to position the food perfectly and then take photos of every dish from every angle before I can even pick up my cutlery. Sometimes if I’m lucky they’ll involve me in the process and ask me to hold my phone flashlight above a dish.
Got a friend with 75k subscribers on Youtube in a language other than English. It used to be about their weekend getaways with nice drone shots. It was interesting.Then, gradually became about their lives (how interesting /s). She's get her phone/camera out at sometimes random moments, which could get annoying.
She got pregnant. Baby everything now.
I know two relatively popular influencers for my region in the US. It’s super strange when I’m in the posts knowing that 50k plus people who I don’t know now know my Insta handle if I’m tagged.
They also act very different online than in person. One of them is a fashion influencer and she is very shy and reserved in person so it still boggles my mind she is trying so hard to get followers. Always complaining about the algorithm and talking to her “audience” like she has a celebrity status following but would be pretty shy in front of a room full of people. Just entertaining and weird.
She is annoying.. there's no other word to describe her. Feel sorry for her because she is a person that needs attention all the time. (We are not friends but we live in the same house)
He was cool but at the same time difficult. Get him alone and he was ok, but go out places with him and he started unnecessary drama and was super emotional. I ended up not being friends with him after a convention we went to he caused a lot of trouble for me and my friends. It sucked cause I was the one who intervened and allowed him to stay and all of my friends were super upset with him, so I felt like I allowed a lot of the issues. Hope he's doing ok tho.
She is constantly farming her friends to supplement her hobbies under the guise of her being an influencer. Neither her or her husband do anything at all to improve their financial situation, and lean into being poor to guilt their social circle into buying their craft of the month.
I just stopped buying in at some point.
I went on a date with one and it was just frustrating. Pleasant enough girl, but she was on her phone a lot. I had sympathy since it’s her job, but I felt ignored a lot of the time we were together.
My daughter is one...it's pretty nice that she's able to do it full time and make good money...it's not fun to read dirtbag comments. She keeps it pretty classy too, but that doesn't deter the creeps one iota.