Ever so often on a press trip, if it’s a mix of influencers and journalists, the journalists often have horror stories of narcissistic influencer behavior and influencers have horror stories of crabs in a barrel behavior. I too have had some horror stories and I’m sure I’ve shocked an X Gazette decades long journalist or two whipping out my tripod and capturing video and DSLR shots simultaneously but I am respectful of the group. Luckily, more often than not, the sentiment is, “but this trip is different.” Such was the case in my recent trip to St Croix with the US Virgin Islands Tourism board. Could you believe a group of female entrepreneurs (and one male! Thanks for the pic Pablo Valentin) could meet, trade life stories, career advice and experiences?
So here’s to making sure that special place isn’t filled with influencers!
STOP with the mean girl behavior. Your fellow digital content creator has her own eye and has gotten far enough before she met you. No need to feel threatened that she’s going to “steal your ideas.” One of my favorite bloggers, Melanie Martins and I met on Instagram and got together while she was in NYC for fashion week. For both of us, after experiencing mean girl behavior on previous trips, it was such a relief to have a laugh and connect with someone who also experienced life on the go. Not being able to get together often we like, comment and support each other from afar.
STOP “follower-count-cliquing.” This is a page from my girl, RachelTravels.com. She mentioned in her book, that while on a press trip with some well-known female influencers of color she and some of the guests were subjects to these influencers clicking up so as to avoid anyone “using their numbers for visibility.” GAG
That leads me to COLLABORATE. For me, if there is genuine synergy and a similar message, or a message I support, why NOT collaborate to get the best shot, shout out your fellow creators and gain some visibility on their networks and vice versa. We have to stop with this crabs-in-a-barrel mentality. You’re the only one that can be you, be confident in that.
If you find yourself relating to men more than you do to your women peers (I am NOT talking in terms of sexuality and gender norms) think about how the patriarchy has warped your mind, sis. I’ve always been very close with my male older cousins and have had a lot of close male relationships at different phases of my life, but nevertheless I cringe when I hear “I’m a guy’s girl!”
Follow a good girls duo. Ok, #relationshipgoals are cute, but #friendshipgoals #sisterfriends warms my heart and brings tears to my eyes. Maybe it’s a mother-daughter duo, maybe it’s best friends that travel together like @goyokococo, or sisters like @theprescodsisters.
Check on your sisters. I’m thinking of my friend Sarah, @1nomadicdreamer. She’s always been extremely supportive of me since we met at Women’s Travel Fest in New Orleans. Her keynote speech was so inspirational. Trekking around the world Sarah has had her fair share of accidents that she’s public about but sometimes I like to check in on her offline to see how she’s really coping. Always a trooper, she never fails to inspire.
Support women owned business when considering partnerships and collaborations. When I was in PR at Topshop, we won a beauty award and when attending the award ceremony, my boss and I were 2 of a handful of women in the room. An industry targeted towards women is run by men! We speak with our purchasing power and in our case, with our influence so why not use that influence to support other female entrepreneurs, whether you’re promoting a beauty product, clothing line or an app! My current favorites? Black Girl Sunscreen and Daughters of the Soil face oil both skincare companies founded by women of color.
Spread the love. Chatting with Crystal of @YounicStyle we discussed the idea of passing on opportunities. Sometimes you’ll get a partnership that’s not quite a fit for you. Why not pass it on to a colleague or fellow creative in your circle that may be better suited? Often times the PR team appreciates your thoughtfulness and trust that that good karma is going to come back around. One of my first big brand partnerships was a beauty company was through a mentor of mine passing along an opportunity that wasn’t quite right for the level she was at but was perfect for me just starting.
Share stories of success and failures. I remember being on a trip and a conversation came up about posting times and what times got the best traction for engagement. A male videographer was giving advice to a woman who was just starting to up her social media game. The videographer’s frequent collaborator stopped him and said “sshh! Don’t give away our secrets!” The group kind of laughed it off but there was certainly a micro-expression of hurt / embarrassment I caught on the newbie’s face. This goes back to that mean girl behavior. Like, why?! I don’t get invited to workshops at Instagram’s HQ in NYC but my best friend does and she shares her insights with me. @SophieElgort is a real one. I’m lucky.
Remember your success is not incumbent on someone else’s failure so why not pay it forward. Your glow up is the group’s glow up.
Of course this can apply to ANY industry. What have your experiences been? Let me know below!