It happened almost accidentally. Around 2011 when Instagram had first launched, I was still in middle school and had no clue of social media or how to work it - I mean, I was only 12 years old. I also had no interest in creating an account nor did I plan to. Then one day, one of my friends introduced me to the app and I began digging more into it, and eventually ended up creating an account. That’s where it all began.
Initially, the account I created was more of a personal page for friends and family. After a few months on Instagram, there came a day where Justin Bieber was hacked on Instagram. Now, don’t blame me for this (I was only 12!), but I started noticing accounts all over the place of fake Justin Bieber accounts gaining thousands of followers by the minute. After this, a thought popped into my head - why don’t I use this opportunity of a new platform to create something spectacular? So yes, I made a fan page of Justin Bieber, which eventually ended up gathering thousands of hundreds of followers. I was stunned. had no idea where this was going, but I knew I wanted to turn the page into a space where people can share their stories and help each other out. As I started gaining more followers, the pressure to keep up that appearance grew bigger and bigger. I ended up switching the JB page into something quite unique.
I ended up turning the whole thing around and creating a confessions page. I came up with the username ‘vibesconfess’ and started sharing anonymous confessions people would send me. It was everything from friendships, family, relationships, and everything in between. I would put together the anonymous confessions with pictures from tumblr as the background. Little did I know what it would turn out to be.
At only the age of 15, I naturally combined a total audience of roughly 107,000. My posts were targeted at young teens like me - who would come on my account to have a laugh or share their advice on my account being a “confessions page.” Eventually, big brands and companies started reaching out to me in hopes of potential collaborations. In exchange for brand exposure and awareness, I would post sponsored photos of their products on my page. At the request of my audience at the time, I ended up creating a website on weebly where people came for advice and could chat with other users on the website. By engaging myself more into the process, I quickly took an interest in an entrepreneurial mindset and marketing at a young age.
As I began learning more about myself, I took a quick interest in photography and created an account for that too, backed up by the confessions page. I successfully gathered a large audience at around 12k on there by editing the photos I took with cool, ‘trendy’ effects. I began sharing photos of my life as a teenager in LA, and people loved it.
As I entered college, I found it hard to keep up with these accounts and started seeing a decrease in engagement and followers as I started posting and engaging less. Unfortunately, the account ended up being deleted by Instagram due to “inappropriate content” around 2018. At first, it felt like the whole world was against me and I felt like a part of my identity was lost, (rule 1: keep yourself detached), but I didn’t let that stop me.
I had no idea what was next for me or what I wanted to do, but I knew I could turn the skills I acquired from a young age into something incredible. At this point, I was tired of working in useless jobs and feeling stuck in the same small town where everyone knew each other. I wanted more. I began hosting photoshoots and reaching out to people to shoot. At 17 years old, I was featured in Maxim Magazine and Millenium magazine for a shoot I had with Tara Reid. After this first accomplishment, I began seeing my potential and knew I could accomplish whatever I set my mind to, so I began applying to internships in PR and social media with 0 experience. After numerous rejections, I began to lose hope. I felt like the odds were against me.
Thankfully, one company decided to give me a chance (lol!), and I am now in a position where I love what I do. Overall, it's important to make your own decisions and be confident and firm when you make them. Even if it’s not completely clear now, trust your instincts and don’t be afraid of your abilities!