I don't ever want to make this blog about being someone that I'm not. I want to let you in on parts of my life you may not know about. That's a big part of why I decided to start this blog. I think the notion that people who are on television are an entirely different breed of humans that are inaccessible and untouchable is quite ridiculous.
Something I want to make sure I do every once in a while is to break down the wall of exactly how we want to portray ourselves to the world that stands between the internet and really getting to know each other. I want to be real with you guys. Think of this like that "Stars Are Just Like Us!" section in magazines where there are pictures of famous people doing things that literally every human on earth does (Justin Timberlake walks on concrete sidewalks too!!?!!!! Who would've guessed!!!??!!?) To be extremely clear, I am in no way calling myself a "star" or "famous," but simply saying that I recognize that I live a life that is somewhat different from most 20-year-olds. And for whatever reason, people think that it makes me completely different altogether from most 20-year-olds. It does not.
Let's get started.
If you have an Instagram (or any kind of social media for that matter), there's no doubt you've seen some kind of #sponsored #ad from an "influencer" on your feed at one point or another. Whether it's a mattress or teeth whitener products or whatever--they're there. I've always had a particular dislike for those kinds of posts. Having an instagram is about sharing your life and the "Kodak moments" from them. It's not about selling tea that will slowly destroy your colon. These are all strong opinions I had.
Until I went to college.
In case you live under a very large rock and are unaware, college is very expensive. It's especially expensive if you don't qualify for financial aid and you don't have money coming out your butt. A common misconception about young actors (especially 'Disney kids') is that they make buku bucks. I am here to tell you that unless you are Miley Cyrus or the kids from Modern Family, most young actors are very far from swimming in cash. So. My parents made a deal with me that they would pay for my first year if I figured out how to pay for the rest on my own. This seemed extremely fair, and I agreed. I managed to pay for my freshman year all on my own, but not without the help of ~~those~~ posts.
A week or so into my freshman year, a certain clothing brand reached out and asked if I'd like to team up with them. They offered a sum of money that I would not be able to earn as quickly in any other way so I accepted. When I first started doing sponsored posts, I felt like I was sacrificing integrity. It felt like I was lying to people. It didn't take me too long to figure out that I wasn't.
I take special care not to promote anything I don't believe in. The clothes in the posts accompanied with a caption that sounds like it came out of a bottle are clothes that I actually wear in real life. Any products I urge you to buy with a special coupon code are products that I actually use, have researched, and support.
I can't say the same for every The Bachelor contestant that turns to a life of sporting bikinis and promoting trips to Cabo that they obviously didn't pay for. But speaking as a 20-year-old who can only attend her top-choice college if she can pay for it herself, I'm going to try and do it in the most honest way possible.
I know that not everyone gets a chance to use their Instagram for promotional purposes. I know that not everyone is able to make money off of the clothes they wear. That is not the Jennifer Lawrence-esque relatable aspect of this post. But when I was a kid, I was convinced that my favorite actors and actresses led absurdly easy lives. I thought that they were all millionaires that never got yelled at by their parents. That could not have been further from the truth. We all struggle because we're all human. I just don't want anyone to live under the false impression that just because I was paid to post about a great new laptop doesn't mean that I don't stand behind it or that I'm not doing it for a valid reason. I'm simply trying to make it through life one semester of college at a time, just like everyone else.
***real clothes I wear in real life literally all of the time, I swear