A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a friend about the pressures of my ‘job’ and how I ‘manage’ to keep all my shit together. It was then that she uttered the dirtiest words I’ve ever heard, “all you have to do is stand in front of a camera, and take pretty pictures.” Now, in some ways that’s true, I do stand, or better yet, sit, in front of a camera more often than the average person, it’s my job, and yes, I do take pretty pictures – thanks for the compliment. But there is so much work that goes into doing what I do.
For those who don’t know, I am what you call a blogger/model/influencer/entrepreneur, which all in their own right carry heavy responsibilities, duties and struggles. That’s not mentioning always having to emphasise my worth and how much I should be paid – but I think that’s another post for another day.
Being the “best”, creating the “best” and being seen, has presented a lot of pressures, both mentally and physically. For one, it’s out of my character to constantly brag or talk about myself, so when it comes to negotiating with brands or even just networking (although, I’m a pro at faking the “I’m super confident and love chatting with strangers” persona), I have to pull myself by the bootstraps.
For the launch of London Fashion Week, Simply Be invited me to their Curve Catwalk show, as a member of their ‘tech squad’ – I was there to cover it on my social media. And I happened to revert to this 13-year-old, who was shy and felt like an outcast, as she sat on the front row with real players in the industry, who people knew, loved, and followed. I became such an introvert, that my best friend – who’s used to me being the loudmouth, funny, over the top queen – was confused.
And while most of the pressures and struggles are pressures and struggles, I’ve created in my head; they are real for me. Building a personal brand is bloody hard! And somewhat embarrassing at times. Constantly having to self-promote, in a way that doesn’t come across as narcissistic or obnoxious, but enough that you’ll be noticed is tiresome.
I don’t want to have to wake up earlier to create content for Instagram before I go to university. Or ask friends while we are out to take pictures of me because I need content for the next few days, and carry a spare top, just in case I find another cute spot, because can’t be seen to be wearing the same outfit.
But I’ve created two brands, Lauren Nicole (myself) and Fashion Killer (this blog), and have to draw out enough creative energy to be the boss, artistic director, project manager, marketing consultant, press officer, finance supervisor and talent manager is a lot at times. Don’t get me wrong; I’m thankful for the experiences I’ve had and love what I do, but what started out as a hobby has now become my future plan.
So, do I just take pretty pictures? No, I strategise, manage, negotiate, create, capture, write, publish, distribute and promote, all to be seen and heard. While dealing with mild anxiety and overanalysing everything I do. As for whether that’s good or bad, I don’t know? But I’m my own brand.