20 People Who Know An “Influencer” Give An Inside Look At Their Real Persona

Published 1 year ago

We always see influencers online living what looks like the most fabulous life ever. They seem to get tons of freebies so they can review them, and they seem to get invited to all the cool events for publicity reasons. In fact, these ‘influencers’ seem to be living the high life that previously only celebs got to enjoy. 

But one thing we’ve realised is that just because it looks great online doesn’t mean it’s all great in real life. One topic of discussion took off when a community member asked online “People who know an ‘influencer’ in real life, how much do they differ from their online persona?” The answers received were rather revealing as expected and we’ve shared a few of the more interesting responses below. 

More info: Reddit

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Image source: AnxiousReader, Karolina Grabowska

My BIL does a lot of work doing hobby videos. He had finally gotten some partnerships.

He’s the same guy online and off. He just was really down for a long time and got into this since he wasn’t able to do his dream anymore. He works really hard on his channel while balancing a full time job, two kids and takes care of his mom and grandma when they need it. My husband and I are very proud of him!


Image source: totallyrad16, Ron Lach

So much. She rents all of her clothes and bags and shoes and lives in a c**p hole house.


Image source: manifesuto, Antonius Ferret

Someone I am close to is a local “micro influencer”, she’s a nice person and her personality is pretty much the same, but the part that irks me is planning and doing things specifically for the ‘gram. For example, one time we were on vacation together and she wanted to go to a specific cafe just for the aesthetic. She bought a coffee, changed her outfit in the washroom (from sweats to a cute floral dress), took photos all around the cafe for half an hour, and then changed back into her sweats and threw out the coffee (she doesn’t even drink coffee, just bought the cheapest thing on the menu to justify being there). That level of fakeness left a bad taste in my mouth.


Image source: mauvelatern1279, cottonbro studio

I think people only get to see 1 side of her. I see the behind the scenes which is the strategy and work that comes with curating an online image. So online you see a world traveler who is beautiful, polished,and fashionable. In real life she’s so much more than that, she is funny, hard working, strategic, sweet, smart, and generous. People get to see her reaping the rewards of her hard work and fantasize of an easier life. They don’t see all the little details it took to get there.


Image source: bahhamburger, Polina Zimmerman

I know someone who acts like a champion for minority rights, BLM, empowering women etc in their professional field. I kind of regret not saving the pictures of her in her MAGA hat.


Image source: anon, Pixabay

Her whole Persona is an endlessly happy, Good Vibes Only, Shoot For The Moon Cause At Least You’ll Land Among The Stars, Anyone Can Be Anything As Long As They Work At It kind of “hustler.”

She suffers from clinical depression, insecurity, and low self esteem due to a *really* s****y childhood. I think it’s her way of fake it till ya make it.


Image source: kristalle21, Jean Alves

Online she’s really upbeat and ‘honest’ about the ups and downs of working with horses and competing at a high level. In real life she’s a whiny, spoilt brat who’s parents pay for absolutely everything and is well known for having tantrums when she doesn’t get placed at a competition.


Image source: mermaidhairdontcare, ROMAN ODINTSOV

Jesus, she is antisocial and always always on her phone. She won’t put her phone down at the dinner table because if she doesn’t comment on other influencers’ instagrams (with at least three words) then she will lose followers and stop getting free stuff. She’s a yoga influencer and says her followers are dumb and easy to manipulate. (I really hope my brother breaks up with her)


Image source: Rafaellicious, Andrew Neel

My friend introduced me to an influencer here and we hung out a few times. Online she was projecting this image of being a powerful, independent woman who buys her own stuff and is super successful. In reality, she was broke; she used to go to expensive shops, get an empty bag, fill it with her own stuff and then take photos as if she went shopping. Her boyfriend was paying for everything and he got a dog, who she initially hated and used to refer to it as “the rat” UNTIL she realised her audience loved the dog so she kept posting pics of them together.

The thing that bothered me most though was that even though she didn’t have a degree in marketing and had never done anything marketing-related [besides having a blog], she kept saying she deserved a great marketing job. As a marketing professional who’s spent hours on strategies and working at agencies, that s**t really [annoyed me].


She hides a good bit of her real life and most of her personality. But the insta persona is not really ‘fake’ per se.

She’s extremely sweet, very personable, great eye for fashion and ‘looks’, and is a terrific photographer IRL.

Main thing she doesn’t really let out is that she’s really academically accomplished.

We met in grad school where we shared a few classes and got along really well. I moved on to the job market and career, while she got into a super competitive PhD program. She wanted to be an academic.

Since her research took her to interesting places she always took great pictures, and randomly her insta started taking off. Certainly helped that she looks like Konnie Huq.

Struggling as a young academic hustling for grant money < travel influencer on insta.

So she put the PhD on hold and focused on the travelling for the last 4ish years. She makes a fabulous living, gets to go to a lot of amazing places. And while 2020 could have been a career-killer due to the pandemic (and Boris’s incompetence), she found enough time to take some classes and do enough thesis work that she might even end up getting her PhD in 2021.

Even though since grad school we only ever met at weddings, she was also very good in keeping touch. While it would have been easy enough to be jealous of her or for her to flaunt her lifestyle, she’s just really really self-aware as well as aware of the absurdity of her life. Actually really looking forward to meeting her soon, once the vaccines get working.

Image source: thrwaysu


This is a wild ride, you can’t make this s**t up.

So I followed a girl on social media for a long time, I knew she lived in my city. She had a mass following but she’s pretty controversial. If I say how, its obvious who it is, but her page consisted of club nights with bottle service, her luxury apartment, designer clothes, travelling abroad, photoshoots. Typical influencer behaviour I guess.

So one day I head to my local deli for a sandwich. When I get there, there’s a new girl behind the counter making the food and I swear it had to be her. She’s had a lot of filler and procedures and I truly didn’t realise how much she edited her photos, because in real life you could hardly tell it was her. I went onto her page and realised she had tattoos, so next time I’m in the deli I look for them and they match. Its literally her.

So I investigated (otherwise known as being extremely nosy). It was just crazy to me, there was no way this stuff added up. She would post that she was in some city in Europe in a high end nightclub, but in reality I would see her working in the deli from 6am that day. I knew the other staff that worked there and I had to ask. Basically, her entire interest persona is fake – she is in massive debt from credit cards, any kind of loans you can imagine. The luxury apartment is an air B&B, every few months she rents in for a night, brings multiple changes of clothes and takes enough pictures to sprinkle it across her page for months. The luxury car she drives, same thing, she rents it at a day rate every few months, takes lots of pictures. The designer goods are fake, and everything she ACTUALLY has to pay for is done through credit. The photoshoots she attends, she’s pays for.

I still follow her and its been the healthiest thing for me the ever discover on social media. I’ll see her post a photoshoot, worded as though its her job, and all the comments are young girls wishing they looked like her, wishing they had her life. In reality I see her all the time, working long hours at the deli on minimum wage because she can no longer afford her debt, barely recognisable.

Image source: Help_A_throwaway19


Image source: ardvarkandy, Nina Uhlikova

Much different. While she is very friendly in person, her personality has always been vapid and unreliable. She is the kind of girl to commit to plans and then not show up if something better comes along.

She often travels on extravagant trips and posts photos of herself, as if she travels alone and pays for her vacations. In reality, there is almost always a much older sugar daddy who paid for the trip and is with her.

She is very realistic about her body though, which i appreciate. Obviously she is a gorgeous young woman, but like us all, has her ‘imperfections.’ She never tries to hide this.


Image source: findingastyle, cottonbro studio

I went to high school with a girl who is now an “influencer”/”instagram poet”

Every photo on IG is her smiling/laughing/modeling in nature, trying to be quirky, posting messages about love and positivity and self acceptance. She writes “poetry” that she posts regularly (with awful grammar, might I add). She gets tons of comments/likes about how great and influential she is. She regularly dates new people to keep her IG “interesting” and then deletes all traces when they break up. She’s also been traveling all over during COVID (and not quarantining) and posting a lot of maskless pictures in groups.

In real life – she was a huge bully in high school and regularly made fun of people for their appearance, weight, sexuality, etc. She never finished college, she worked/used to work minimum wage jobs, but now makes “insta poetry” and being an “influencer” her career. I imagine she’ll roll into my high school reunion thinking she’s god’s gift to the earth.

I think instagram (and a lot of other social media) is really harmful to the younger generation.


Image source: anon, Moose Photos

I only have one personal friend who is an “influencer” (that I know of) and she’s pretty much the same irl. But, she’s into DIY home improvement, woodworking, plumbing and electrical, and building things, so her personality isn’t wrapped up in image or lifestyle. She’s more of a “how-to” influencer.

I do work with beauty influencers (even the term makes me shudder) in real life, though, on a daily basis because I’m over digital marketing for a very large cosmetics/skin care company. We mostly work with people with over 250k followers. I have yet to meet any that I can actually stand. The ones we have worked with are the most insufferable, demanding, unprofessional group of people I’ve ever seen and their agents are often just as bad. In contrast, every single one of the professional models and actors we hire for shoots or commercials have been incredibly professional and kind to everyone on set.


Image source: TenaciousToffee, Pixabay

I know a few.

YT hair guru is actually pretty quiet and a loner that is hard working. She’s successful because she works like 13 hours a day.

Dog influencer. She’s rarely in the shots as she’s quiet. But her and her dogs are great.

Lifestyle/family influencer. Dude why are the family ones the most toxic? They pretend to be good parents but those kids are props that look nice to put sponsored clothes on. They like to say motivational things they will never do.


Image source: ThronesOfAnarchy, Pixabay

I train at the same gym as someone who’s got hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram, huge corporate sponsorship deals and is a massively successful and decorated body builder.

She keeps it VERY real on her Instagram and YouTube and I admire her for that. She’s close to someone else who has a similar Instagram status as her and that person goes to photoshoots every weekend and only posts those pictures, you never see her break a sweat etc. My friend shows the grind that goes into maintaining the physique and how inelegant the life is (dietary requirements, hormonal issues due to extreme body fat % etc)


I know 2 and they’re very different.

First girl is what you would expect: edits her photos to no end and doesn’t look much like what she looks like irl. She’s a pretty girl but she’s the girl next door type and less Insta baddie. She posts butt and bikini pics. Her following is primarily men.

The 2nd girl does social media professionally and I work with her. She does a lot of body positivity, fashion, and parenthood type of content. She’s super down to earth and SO stylish. She’s worked for some pretty notable plus size fashion startups.

There’s obviously a big difference in the level of professionalism. I would say the first girl is a hobbyist that got lucky and subsequently obsessed with the idea of being an influencer. The second girl has a proven track record of growth and can take anyone’s platform and grow it, not just her own.

Image source: ArtyFeasting


Image source: zouss, CoWomen

I’ve known a few as I often work with them in my career. They were mostly “mommy influencers” (with instagrams focused on their kids) and with the exception of one were all very friendly and on par with their online persona

Example: they attended a conference my client threw and I was supposed to order them Ubers back to the hotel after. For one of them, I accidentally cancelled her Uber while she was in it so she ended up having to pay (it wasn’t cheap). She called me, I explained my mistake, and she was SUPER nice about it, said she’d pay, insisted I don’t need to mention this to anyone which I would’ve had to do to reimburse her. Said it wasn’t a big deal and she’d rather not I get in any trouble after an exhausting day. That’s honestly how most of them were.

The only exception mentioned above was this very wealthy woman who acted so nice, was a great speaker, people always commented on how sweet she was, but IRL a total diva and exhausting to work with.

I also had a boss who was an influencer, repping a big car brand. One of the kindest people I’ve ever met. Her insta was different from her persona, just because it was a lot more cool/sexy than she presented in real life. At work she was a total sweetheart, very down to earth and helpful to everyone, never giving the impression she was trying to be cool. I definitely felt her insta presence was an act but tbh I liked the real her much better.

So overall, my experience with influencers has been positive. I think people gravitate towards kindness, and having a genuinely good heart helps getting followers.


Image source: tehsmittenkitten, Polina Zimmerman

I worked for a “girl boss” influencer who had her own beauty brand. While she was nice (sometimes) she also was a horrible boss. Low pay, no benefits. She made me drive her to a different city for a business meeting one time in her car (so she wouldn’t have to pay me for gas) even though I told her I was uncomfortable with the idea. After a super long day she made sure I drove her after to get sea food so she could eat, but she didn’t offer to get me food so I ended up asking her if it was ok if I stopped at mc donalds… I worked in marketing but she was treating me like her personal assistant or something.

Also, when my coworker got pregnant she refused to pay maternity leave even though she is a mother herself… so much for being a feminist “girl boss”.

Needless to say, she was very much different than the person she portrayed online.

Edit: Since this post got popular I will add more stories for your entertainment:

– she hires a lot of family to work for her but pays them less than she payed me. I got $ 13/hr so go figure. One of her family couldn’t make ends meet so he eventually had to start driving Uber on the side. Meanwhile she buys herself an excess of Gucci, Chanel, you get the picture. ?

– more than a few people have made a scene when they quit because she has pushed so many people to the edge.. I don’t blame them

– called a big meeting that everyone was confused about to say “if you want to quit the doors right there” and accused people of “gossiping” instead of looking at her actions to see why people were so unhappy. Also tone deaf because not all of us make CEO money so we can’t just quit our job when we feel like it.

– didn’t pay people during the pandemic. Refused to let people work from home because she doesn’t trust people working on stuff on their personal computers. ( unless it’s 2am on Black Friday and you’re working overtime but not getting paid?) eventually when she realized she needed people to work, she only payed half of the already low pay.

Also, she wrote a book about being a “boss” which is laughable.


Image source: pumpkin-jesus, Annaëlle Quionquion

A girl I went to high school with is an influencer, and honestly she is pretty chill and down to earth. Pretty much exactly the person she claims to be while influencing. She was always nice, good at photography, and curating an aesthetic, so it isn’t surprising to me that she is an influencer. I respect her because she is also incredibly intelligent and didn’t give up her dreams for school; I know she works in a lab and has a serious job, which is more than I can say about myself. Sometimes I see her being beautiful, living on the beach and eating expensive meals, and get a little jealous, but then I remember how much work she puts into all of this and realize that she is just incredibly hard-working.

Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

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