Candidly Cartier: “Influencer” is Not a Dirty Word

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Influencer Filth

More and more on social media I’m seeing the word “Influencer” tossed around like absolute filth. Whether it’s disdain for those who flaunt their lives like they’ve been sponsored to take their next breath (you know who you are) or annoyance that content isn’t authentic, there’s a real hate on these days for people who make a dolla dolla bill or two from content creation.

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influencer

/ˈinflo͝oənsər/

noun
  1. a person or thing that influences another.
    “he was a champion of the arts and a huge influencer of taste”
    • MARKETING
      a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media.
      “influencers can add serious credibility to your brand”

influencer

Influencers – They’re Just Like You!

This idea that the common person is like a celebrity is an interesting shift in the makeup of our society. They haven’t done anything particularly spectacular, or so most people think. From my view, someone of influence finds beauty in the mundane. This is a new(ish) form of art combining the written word (yes, captions can be poetry), photography (okay – hiring photographers for your OOTD is a little much), and graphic design (you know how much editing goes into some of these ‘grams). Most of these people are also crafty AF in the way they live their lives. They’ve carved out a niche where (well, the successful ones) can follow their bliss daily. It doesn’t happen overnight, however. Building a business, even if your brand is yourself, is hard work. The competition is bloody fierce.

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On Sundays we brunch! @orettatoronto had great atmosphere, fantastic (and quick) service, and super tasty eats! We shared a bottle of prosecco and: • Bombolone Milanese $19 Fried chicken thigh sandwiche, bombolone bun, spicy bacon aioli, slaw. • Uova Burrata e Tartufo $19 Scrambled eggs, asparagus, burrata, black truffle, focaccia. 🍳// #brunch . . . . . . . . . . . #bhgfood #buzzfeast #buzzfeedfood #droolclub #feedfeed #foodblogger #foodgawker #seoulfood #foodstagram #forkfeed #prosecco #Sundayfunday #huffposttaste #kitchenbowl #kingwest #sweetmagazine #tastespotting #thefeedfeed #thekitchn #torontofood #toronto #브런치  #맛집탐방 #먹방  #eatingfortheinsta #cravethe6ix #brunch🍴

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Influencers – They Eat!

I get it – going to a restaurant with friends and having your dining companion make the table wait until the food is cold is incredibly obnoxious. When the food arrives and everyone scrambles to create a table with the greatest aesthetic standing up on a chair with a portable flash in one hand and their phone in the other, it’s obnoxious. This behaviour really takes a toll on the guest experience of every other person in the restaurant. This detracts from the carefully prepared and plated meal they restaurant’s team has put together. As someone who has worked in the hospitality industry for many, many years and has worked with chefs and bartenders passionate about their craft, I wonder if the food even tastes good or if it’s just pretty. I wonder if these “influencers” can tell the difference between tarragon and turmeric.

records, vinyl, shopping, influencer

Influencers – They Shop!

This is the thing about “aspiring influencers” that drives me up the wall. Influencers Faking Brand Deals is nothing new. I knew of plenty of people doing this while I was in Korea in an attempt to secure new business. I also knew of desperate women who would be given discarded goods from influencers within the Korean Beauty Space who would put “#gifted” on everything. No, you weren’t gifted sh*t, little girl. Your friend who spent hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars becoming a skincare expert gave you the crap she no longer wanted, and you gave it a glowing review.

Making Money Blogging

Building  blog and a brand costs money. Most of the people I knew when I started blogging were trying to share the latest and greatest spots in the city giving directions in the process. Heck – I made a whole video about how to get to the Raccoon Cafe in Seoul when I was still living in Busan. I shared restaurant reviews where I spent a pretty penny and felt I got great value. I was never “doing it for the ‘gram”, and the friends I met through the blogging community (at first) weren’t either. We just wanted to share cool things we found in English for people who might not be having the easiest time navigating in Korean. The secret to making money blogging? HARD WORK.

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Passion Projects Put to Work

That’s the thing – most content creators turned influencers built a website and started writing about life hacks, amazing products and fantastic deals they genuine adore and want to share. I began my blog, The Toronto Seoulcialite, while in Korea because I was leaving the marketing world and didn’t want to become irrelevant and undesirable as a potential hire upon my return. Now I work as a writer for a law firm because:

  • I was a teacher – I taught spelling, grammar, syntax, and flow. These are essential skills in my daily tasks at work.
  • I learned about my audience, SEO, link-building, social media marketing, and wordpress. These are desirable skills within my industry.
  • Once I realised that there were companies who wanted to partner with me, I amped up the business of blogging. Creating pitches and proposals for companies with whom I desired to work became necessary. Paying for for products and experiences was normal. Sometimes I could organize a partnership to offset the costs of running my blog. I wasn’t a hack job with my mouth wide open hawking a food product I would never eat, if you know what I mean. Now, I research companies and write marketing materials to show how our team is the best fit for a particular project.

hat, beach, vacation, influencer

Influencers – The Hate is Real

The problem with influencers in our 2019 society is that thing have gotten out of control. What used to be an industry of finding cool things, expressing honest emotions (This Crazy Thing Called Life isn’t sunshine and roses. Sometimes sh*t gets real) is now a forcefield of gritting a smile and showing no weakness. The glossy, glamorous lives of aspiring influencers aren’t real. These people in Facebook groups trying to get you to join pyramid schemes so you can “travel the world for free” are conning you. The reason content creators had influence was because they weren’t perfect, they were passionate. The start-up nature of sharing your life’s ups and downs was real; authentic.

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Now, “engagement” is easy to fake. You can pump some money into Facebook to promote or pay off a bot farm to like the image for you. It’s infuriating that PR companies – people who are supposed to be professionals in this field – don’t see through the fake followers and inauthetic content. It’s sad to see companies partner with “influencers” who are guaranteed to bring no reach, engagement, or revenue from the rates they charge. I can totally understand and respect why the every man or woman gets a hate on for the influencer life. The hate is real.

When it comes down to it, there will always be people of influence. When genuine, and not pay for play, an influencer is someone honest who gives a review you can trust. With cost of living at an all-time high, that trust should be sacred. Influencer isn’t a dirty word, we’ve just forgotten the meaning.

Repatriation Dating Diaries: Cartier’s Hot for Teacher

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Photographer: Josh Willink

Up in the Air – Not Exactly Dating on Cloud 9

Settling back into life in Toronto hasn’t gone exactly as planned.  My career didn’t quite get off the ground the way I expected.  I just settled into a condo downtown and now have to move.  Everything’s just a little bit up in the air right now.  Dating is no exception.  Everyone at the bar is swiping left or right while in a perfectly lovely meet market.  Tinder is for hook-ups.  Bumble is allegedly for “serious dating” (sure).  Meeting people through buttoned up/ tied-down friends is nearly impossible.  I’ve now been on dates with a commitment-phobe real estate developer, a self-obsessed rocker, an UBER driver (yes – he drove me home and then we went out), a blogger who recently carbon-copied my latest post on The Toronto Seoulcialite, and a Tinder I had been out with 4 years ago.  The conversation barely changed and he definitely didn’t clue in.  Dating is depressing.  Oh – and I went out with my old calculus teacher.

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Hot for Teacher – Dating isn’t Calculus, it’s Chemistry

When you were in high school, did you ever have a crush on a teacher?  How about that hottie who wasn’t much older, but just enough that the difference in age/ power balance would have been inappropriate?  Imagine my surprise when the Facebook algorithm encouraged me to reconnect with my old calculus teacher 14 years my senior.  I can’t imagine he’ll mind my writing about this.  The probability of us meeting as we did was low, and the probability we’ll ever meet again is practically non-existent.  He was my teacher for all of 3 weeks (and change) and we bumped into one another locally and in Kingston for all of 3 minutes each time.  This round, after a lovely date, a hesitant goodnight kiss, and a few text exchanges promising to see one another again, it only took him about 3 days to ghost.  Dating isn’t algorithms or equations, it all comes down to chemistry and the space-time continuum.

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Photographer: Angello Lopez

Dating Derivatives

While it would be lovely to meet someone who had the raw, passionate, primal masculinity of Adonis, or the “jamais seul” nature of ex-Co-P, it’s summer.  Dating in Toronto doesn’t really ever seem to be clear or direct – just derivative of our parents’ and grand-parents’ generations.  In the summer it’s the least likely time for any of that to change.  Our diluted and deluded perspectives of responsibility to one another make me believe that I’ll always be house-hurt from carrying the weight of rent completely alone.  Owning at all is a pipe-dream.  White picket fences are a thing of the past.  There’s plenty I’m tempted to try.  Did I learn anything from scratching off this bucket-list item?  Not really.  Just that I think I’ll keep my interests outside of the classroom.

Exes & Oh No’s: An Expat’s Guide to Ladies’ Sick Sense

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Photographer: Matthew Henry

Creepy Communication

We all do it.  Social Media makes it easier than ever to look up how our loved ones past and present are doing.  Are they living their best lives?  How happy are they?  It seems when I’ve finally met someone new, the ghosts of lost loves past have their interests piqued.  When I started dating my most recent ex, it breathed life into a few poltergeists.  The man I’ll probably always consider to be the first great love of my life reached out.  He said everything that I had needed and so desperately craved hearing, albeit all a little too late.  I was honest about our communication with my new partner, and he was honest (well…to a point) about his.  When I was living with the Adonis, he would call his ex while I was at work.  What did I care if they spoke?  They dated for 7 years – she was a huge part of his life and he was important to her.  She was also roughly 9,000 km away.  How much harm could she really do from that great a distance?  I think I’d be more worried if he wasn’t interested in her well-being and didn’t want to maintain mutual respect.

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Photographer: Ant Rozetsky

Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

In a new relationship, it’s tempting to look back on your partner’s old ones.  Are you part of a trend or are you different, special – an outlier?  Are you far enough outside the particular set of previous patterns and failures to stand the test of time?  A jealous, pissed off, or threatened woman does better research than the FBI, CIA and Secret Service combined.  When in a budding relationship I was contacted by my (then new) boyfriend’s ex stating that he had cheated on the previous two.  She told me I was becoming a symptom of a much bigger problem.  I, of course, dismissed it at the time.  He told me just enough to make it seem like we had an open and honest relationship.  I was completely transparent.  When his pattern reemerged several months later, you had better bet I quickly learned about RSS feeds, source, input, and the ease of info gathering online.  I did it because I sensed a problem.  I had an underlying insecurity about the state of our relationship.  I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, and unfortunately got more than I bargained for.

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Photographer: Allef Vinicius

Poking Holes in More Than Just the Story

What about the longstanding current girlfriend, fiance, or even wife, though?  I mean, she’s already won.  What use is it to look back on something which ended so very long ago?  On one hand, I can see that she means no harm.  She’s just curious about our history together.  How far down the line is it normal or healthy to creep?  Why does my ex boyfriend’s current love want to know about my daily activities now when he and I ceased all contact 7 months ago?  I’m sure there’s a small part where the “winner” can take perverse pleasure in popping up and rubbing it in your face that she’s enjoying your old memories.  Is there trouble in paradise or does she just want to lord her “success” over me without ever having to exchange words?

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When you’ve finally met someone new and are enjoying learning all about him, she’s there to drudge up the past.  At least when a man’s 6th sense kicks in, you might get closure.  When woman’s sick sense starts tingling, everyone just ends up shaken.  It’s better on both sides to leave well enough alone. 

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Photographer: Matthew Henry

Personal Space

To my exes’ new girlfriends and wives: ladies, if you’re really that curious about me, reach out!  I’d rather be cool with your creeping than completely unnerved.  If that’s not your jam, please have the decency to use a fake account.  You don’t need him to block me.  You don’t need to control with whom he communicates.  The women before me prepared him to love you.  If your relationship is strong, it’s due in part to the fact that I made him ready to love you and that you’re a better fit together than we ever could have been.  The hell he and I went through together doesn’t negate the joy you have now.  It’s not in spite of it, it’s because of it.  We worked through issues together that have made him a more considerate boyfriend or husband for you.  They will hopefully have helped make me a better partner in my next relationship, too.

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Photographer: Kaci Baum

Gratitude

To my readers: If your man is communicative, caring, and observant, chances are there’s a mother, sister, or ex-girlfriend who helped him along the way.  There’s not a single ex-boyfriend of mine with whom I’d want to get back together, but I have a genuine interest in their well-being.  Don’t try to police your significant other’s communication.  If he’s friendly with his ex and a better man with you than he was with her, you might even want to buy her a bottle of wine.

Skinfood Cafe Seoul

SkinFood Cafe Seoul

SkinFood has quickly become a favourite brand of mine lately.  The quality of the products paired with their subtle, fun scents, adorable packaging, and affordable price range has got my collection growing quickly.  Imagine my surprise to have found the SkinFood Cafe Seoul!

THE BRAND

According to SkinFood, it “is the first cosmetic brand to root itself in food.  (Their) food philosophy drives (their) product development to ensure that only the highest quality food ingredients are used to create a more beautiful, healthier lifestyle.”  I’ve used products with avocado, tomato, apple, vanilla, and even salmon of all things!  If you’ve seen my 4 Minute makeup routine you’ll recognize a few of those products.  “Food components (like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants) deliver targeted nourishment and care. The key to maximizing beauty can be found in the food around us.”

THE DECOR

The decor of the cafe is just like their skincare and cosmetics shops.  There’s bright yellow everywhere!  They have tons of books and motivational quotations framed and selectively placed.  There’s a variety of seating options for the individual guest, group of diners, or cute couple.  There was an adorable couple snacking away sitting on the couch near the photo opp area.  This is a super sweet date spot if you’re looking for all things cutesy without making him uncomfortable.

THE BEST FOOD

The SkinFood Cafe Seoul is, of course, part of the SkinFood cosmetics and skin care brand.  Their attitude towards food isn’t just part of the branding, it’s their core belief.

“Nutritive, wholesome food has the power and the ability to keep skin radiantly beautiful.
SKINFOOD is always searching for the best ingredients to utilize in product development.

The SKINFOOD initiative for the best food ingredients is a journey across the world.
Method matters. As a result, SKINFOOD upholds eco-friendly and
sustainable growing methods as a pillar to our philosophy.
We meet with farmers across the country to ensure that the best food is grown under the best methods.
The journey to discover the best food never ends.
Come with SKINFOOD and discover how food can transform beauty.”

According to the SkinFood Cafe Seoul, “You are what you eat.” and “Healthy skin starts with food.”  I ordered what I remember being named something like the Yummy Yummy Platter which was KRW 12,000 (about $12 Canadian, $10 USD).  There were three slices of baguette.  One was topped with half an avocado, some cherry tomatoes, and parmesan cheese.  Another was topped with grainy mustard pulled chicken and topped with parmesan and a little bit of honey.  Another was topped with rich, clotted cream, blueberries, and mint sprigs.  The baguette was a little crusty and stale, but the toppings were full of flavour.  You can’t go wrong with half an avocado in any meal in my opinion!  The two slider buns were topped with iceberg lettuce, ham, and a Kraft single.  This is a poor girl’s afternoon tea, and I loved it!

Even the bathrooms at the SkinFood Cafe Seoul are cute, clean, and full of SkinFood soaps and lotions to sample before heading on your way!

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQpg0fIgkby/

Go check out the SkinFood Cafe Seoul!  The chic Garosugil area of Apgujeong in Seoul is the perfect place to spend a sunny day, so why not pop into this adorable little cafe?