Entrepreneurial women are making millions on Instagram, spawning a new breed of model and businesswoman.
One such woman, Australian-born Sjana Earp, has 1.2 million Instagram followers and has become a highly sought-after social influencer who earns up to $15,000 per post.
Opening up to the Sydney Morning Herald, Earp told how she made a career out of social media and how Instagram provided her a creative outlet that helped combat her formative depression.
When I was in year 10, I went through a rough patch with depression and had a few stays in psychiatric wards. I dropped out of school at the end of that year.
I did a Certificate III in fitness training and studied photojournalism, but stopped my studies because I started to earn an income through Instagram.
Sjana used yoga as a source of income and a kind of mental therapy:
I used Instagram for self-expression and as a creative outlet, then I was asked to photograph an event in Perth. That job led to me being invited to Bali as an influencer for a yoga retreat.
I can’t remember the first time I posted about my mental health issues. I started by saying little bits about how I was having a rough time. Instagram has provided me with an outlet – there’s nothing worse than bottling up your emotions – and my followers accepted me being open about my feelings.
Earp now makes up to $15,000 per sponsored post and although the self-confessed ‘yogi’ began monetising her account with yoga brands, she now plugs anything from health foods to jewellery.
I have a contract with yoga wear brand Alo Yoga. I became an ambassador for them because it’s my favourite yoga brand anyway.
Sjana also advertises fashion brands. She must be pretty good at her job too, considering she can sell pyjamas to young female Instagram users, without actually wearing pyjamas!
The young fitness ambassador models for ethical clothing brands and encourages a healthy eco-friendly lifestyle by plugging charities such as Oceans, which protect the seas in Australia.
This bikini is super special becuse my girl @allanabooth has teamed up with @novahswimwear to create this magical delight where 100% of the profits made will go toward @oceana – an organisation focused on protecting our oceans! ?? so, you can buy a bikini but really you're saving the planet haha ? if you ever needed an excuse for a new kini, this is it!! ??☀️?
Sjana has also been paid to plug cosmetic treatments such as laser hair removal – while drinking the obligatory coconut water as she lounges on the beach feeling ‘smooth as a babies bottom’.
I don’t do sponsored posts if I don’t use the brand or product myself, and I limit myself a lot more than many other influencers because it works better for my personal brand. It’s good to come forward and acknowledge when you have been sponsored.
Between quenching her apparently insatiable addiction to coconut water, Sjana has racked up quite the following.
However, she explained it almost happened by accident, adding:
It was never my intention to achieve a certain number of followers. I remember reaching 10,000 and I couldn’t believe it.
I think my following comes down to timing, luck and passion… if someone sees your content and they like it, they’ll invite you somewhere else.
Sjana explained where it all began, saying she’s grateful for her extraordinary lifestyle:
Three years ago I was approached by an agency who wanted to manage me. My reaction was, ‘What? Really? I could get paid for doing this?’
As your following grows, opportunities grow and so does the price tag associated with posts. It’s a very spontaneous life. I don’t know what’s next but I do know how lucky I am to do what I do.
Her high end brand of health, fitness and luxury is lapped up by many of Instagram’s 600 million monthly users – around 60 per cent of whom are female.
Sjana delivers a bit of escapism in the colourful pixels on a phone screen – and as long as no one buys into the curated reality of the Instagram model too much – who can really begrudge her?
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.