Despite my true adoration for the world of blogging, it does have it’s hiccups. The majority of which get thrown around as concepts and notions on social media, particularly Twitter, and if you’re a regular in the Blogosphere you’ll be used to a fair few Twitter rants to boot. One you may remember may be the great bot scandal of 2k17 and you can read about my completely shitty experience with it right here. Other blogging cons are the lack of diversity, copy catting, the “blogger goals” aesthetic, not to mention some under-appreciation from the mainstream media on occasions.
However, there is one hell of a dirty, dark side of blogging that I never see anyone discussing. Maybe I’m out of the loop, or just not following the right bloggers – but no-one ever seems to address the glass ceiling situation in the influencer industry. It’s real, and it’s a serious issue. Blogging has become a multi-level game, where you really do need to unlock certain products, attributes, or aesthetics to level up in the industry.
Wolf & Whistle Lexie Flower Ruffle Tea Dress*ASOS PETITE Chunky Cardigan In Fluffy RibEgo Elba Studded Detail Biker Boot*Primark Cream Circle Ring Bag
It’s October 2015, and I’ve just started my blog. A month of beginners’ blogging has equated to around ten blog posts, all with about 20 views (all of which are my mum and her middle-aged friends) and my photos are shot on an already outdated in iPhone 5. Grainy, pixelated images adorn the unprofessional layout of my ~ thekittyluxe.blogspot.com ~ domain.
I could totally see why no-one wants to read my blog. A simple snoop around the Blogosphere leads to the bloggers I aspire to be like, those with professional websites, sharp photography, and a real “branded” vibe to them. I was no White Teeth Teen (Lorde, 2013) in the blogger community, and I knew I had to invest and implement changes if I wanted people to read what I had to say.
I was a broke student, but there were no excuses & I needed to get my blog off the ground. So I spent a month designing my own layout, coding it myself in html, and designed my own blog logo in the trial version of Photoshop. I heard from a few brand reps and other bloggers that you wont get as many collaborations and brands wont take you seriously, with a blogspot domain – so I spent around £10 on my very own .com domain, and then upgraded to the iPhone 6 on my next phone contact update for a better camera to take shots on.
Level One – Complete.
A little time had passed and I noticed that my photos still weren’t anything near the quality of posts on the #beautyblogger hashtag. I sat down in front of my laptop and watched video after video on YT, trying to learn how to better edit my photos. As a matter of urgency I went out to Ikea and bought a small white table for a fiver, a handful of blog props from Home Bargains, and did all of my flatlays on it pushed up against the biggest window in my studio apartment.
It must of been weeks of searching, watching, and practising before I saw any improvement in my posts – phew, it was eventually worth it. I remember thinking to myself, “Well this may not be #goals but it will have to do” and then instantly getting the blogging fear after turning up to events with my sad little iPhone 6 when everyone else had DSLRs draped around their necks. Nevertheless, my photos were getting great feedback, and I used it as confidence booster – it took bloody ages, but I had nailed photo editing.
Level Two – Complete.
I had photo taking and editing all figured out, my blog had a legit logo and it’s very own website domain – oh, and I had even learned how to use Google Adsense which I though was well fancy at the time – but something still wasn’t right about my website. I really didn’t know what was going wrong, I was getting a lot of non-returning traffic, my bounce rate was through the roof, and my following was slowing down (tbh it was depleting) and I had no idea what to do.
I had defo been putting off the idea of investing in a blog layout for ages, but it was time to take the plunge. I was constantly debugging all sorts of issues with the one I had coded, and I never got it to look… profesh. I opted for a £50 Pipdig layout for Blogger – which was pretty expensive for a broke ass student, but anything to level up in the Blogging Game right?
Level 3 – Complete.
Level 4 is the hardest, and longest level – requiring the up most dedication to the blogging industry
I started working on my whole “aesthetic” whether that be simple flaylay look, or my whole bedroom. Palms everywhere, fluffy pillows, geometric bed sheets, rose gold accessories – the blogger aesthetic is real. The more “blogger” I made my home, the more I could use it to shoot in. Lifestyle shots are all the rage right now, so having an instagrammable bed is a must-have. IG ready interior, check?
Every item I bought became an investment, but the thought before every purchase was “will this look good in photos” or “will this make my interior look more #goals on IG” which is really quite sad. Because I was living on peanuts during my degree, I had to look at things this way – investment, investment, investment. Turns out, investing in blogging props – whether they’re actually practical or not – is a great way to grow your blog/IG.
I also learned how to stand…. Weird – but practising those look-a-like candid poses will fair you well in outfit shots. I am no way near thin enough for real candids and if I get caught off-guard there are definitely way too many chins in one photo. I spent a while saving/pinning fab shots that I really liked, and thought would be flattering for my body type – and I’ve been practising them ever since.
Level 4 – Complete.
Okay guys, so this is currently me. Hi, I’m Level Five Holly aka The Kitty Luxe. I’m stuck in limbo somewhere between Lvl 4-5 – Currently hitting the biggest, thickest glass ceiling of them all and I can’t get out.
I’m stuck here using an iPhone 7 as a crutch, and a laptop that currently doesn’t type the letter “n”. Seriously, in all my latest blog posts I’ve had to Copy & Paste the letter “n” into every word as my key just doesn’t work. I’m a broke graduate and the blogging life isn’t a comfortable one for me right now. It’s getting less enjoyable with every post as it becomes more real with every word that I type – I’m well behind in the blogging game.
As much as I love reading blogs, I’m reading them less and less. Not out of jealousy, or spite, but because it brings on a real form of “Blogging Depression” that creeps up on me especially if I’m reading fashion blogs of beautiful, white, blonde, thin, toned, rich individuals – something that I’m not, and for the most part, will never be.
Weirdly enough, I have a strong feeling that being all of the above is so important in the influencer industry. The very large majority of bloggers I know is either white or thin or both. I can’t actually name a “big” plus size, or even slightly chubs (like me) ethnic minority blogger apart from Grace Victory. I’m sure there are plenty of bloggers out there like me, who fall into the not-white, not-thin category but they just don’t hit it big time. It does make me wonder why that is?
Truth is, if you’re thin and white you have a much better chance at hitting it big time because you’re the industry’s #goals. If I scroll down my Explore page on Instagram, all the bloggers that come up are indeed thin and white, usually with glowing tans in candid bikini shots, short skirts, crop tops… you get the idea. It seems to me like one of the real glass ceilings in the industry is breaking through and becoming this generic #goals figure. If I lose 30lbs and have a tiny waist & thin legs, will I have a good enough body for people to follow me?
Talking about that cash – If you have money, you’re Divergent (aka Tris) tap on the glass ceiling and it breaks – simple. Want the new Olympus Pen EPL-8? No problem, you got it. Perfectly blurring 75mm F1.8 lens to shoot outfit shots with for £600+, that’s cool – no biggie. Tap the glass, and you’re levelling up.
On the other hand, I’m still on the daily blogging grind. Hopelessly scratching at a glass ceiling that I can’t break, longing to level up like everyone else. I’m not sure what to expect from Level 6, but I can imagine the levelling up will involve an Olympus PEN E-PL8, a Gucci belt, a Mulberry handbag, the losing of at least 20lbs, and a brand new blonde do’.
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*I was gifted this experience, however all thoughts and opinions are my own*