Social media has become a space where people are able to make a living out of things they enjoy.
A lot of times people are confused about what an influencer does and whether or not it’s an actual job. We sit down with Landiwe Gama to find out more about the pros and cons of being an influencer.
What do you do?
I am a brand content creator and YouTuber
How did you become an influencer?
It was so unintentional. In 2016 I started taking my posts more seriously such as not posting Snapchat videos and memes etc. on my feed. I treated my page like a scrapbook and it ended up attracting more followers. My first big brand campaign was a collaboration with Legit Clothing in early 2017 and everything went up from there.
How do you deal with the expectations of being well-known?
I don’t necessarily think I’m well known, I like to look at it as people supporting my work. In terms of expectations, people expect you to not make any mistakes or have bad days. I notice it a lot on Twitter because I’m very brutal and rouge on there [laughs] so people tend to be shocked and want to police me because it’s not the “conventional” way of being an influencer. I’ve chosen to continue being myself because someone will always be uncomfortable with who you are no matter what you do. My life motto is “keep it moving” so that’s exactly what I do.
Would you say people sacrifice a lot in order to look good on social media, specifically Instagram?
Not everyone but some definitely do. It’s those that are prone to being easily influenced and who feel the need to constantly sell a certain lifestyle in order to stray away from how their lives are actually going. It’s crazy how far people are willing to go for the gram but I don’t judge at all, I’m all about everyone doing what they want to do. We only have one life so let’s live it the way we want to without being discouraged or judged, it’s definitely made me much happier and more content with who I am.
Does it ever get overwhelming having an image that you need to keep up with for your audience?
Honestly, I don’t necessarily get “overwhelmed” with that. Do I feel like I’m lacking with content for my followers sometimes? Of course, but that’s more from me wanting to do my job well. I definitely do feel the need to always look good and presentable. Just like people who work in an office have to look a certain way, so do we as influencers. Social media is our office space.
What is the most hurtful thing that anyone has ever said to you, on Instagram, concerning your lifestyle?
There are so many things lol but I think it’s comments like, I’m doing this for clout, I’m trying to be like other influencers, I only do it for the free products and money etc. It’s hurtful because I’m extremely passionate about what I do. I live, breathe and eat this job. I wouldn’t trade it for the world but I let my passion drive me and block out the negativity.
Before anyone knew your name and had fewer followers did you ever felt the pressure of keeping up with influencers who seem to have it all?
Not at all actually, I was always just in my own world doing my own thing. I looked at other influencers as inspiration and they showed me how much potential we have as South Africans and how great we can be at creating content (before I even had any interest in being an influencer) because all we knew were American and British bloggers so it was a breath of fresh air. The first influencers I looked up to because of Tumblr. are Lulama Wolf and Neema Nouse. They definitely paved the way for me.
What is your take on social media peer pressure?
The power it has over people is definitely something I wish I could change. It makes people feel insecure, less than, not as successful, envious, jealous… all kinds of toxic traits all because of an app. It makes people forget that we all succeed at different stages of our lives but social media makes you feel like you need to succeed right now or your life is going at a snail’s pace. Vera Wang designed her first dress at 40, everything has its time. I’m also guilty of feeling this way but I’m definitely working on it and I’m grateful for where I am in my life right now. I’m extremely blessed.
Landiwe shows that being an influencer is not just about going to events and getting free packages but rather a full time job.