Social media star Anouska Proetta Brandon: 'A 'like' on Instagram is like a mini endorphin'
To people of a certain vintage, the social media world can be a bewildering place.
Just as they've come to terms with Facebook, along comes a whole new breed of bloggers, social influencers, Snapchat and Instagram stars.
Dismiss these media darlings at your peril though, because with their huge followings, advertisers are rushing to work with them. They understand that a well-executed endorsement from a popular social influencer can have a huge effect on sales.
With her platinum blonde hair and impeccable style, Anouska Proetta Brandon (27) is a popular fashion and lifestyle blogger with a massive following. Her exotic name comes from her Irish dad, Daithi Brandon, and Spanish-Austrian mother, Nicole Proetta. After their parents separated, Anouska and her older brother Marlo lived between their dad in Dublin and mum in Roquebrun in the south of France.
At 15, Anouska moved here full-time for school and then did a photography course. Starting a blog at 20 appealed as it was the perfect outlet for combining her passion for clothes and photography. Her beautiful images and keen eye for aesthetics resonated, and as her following grew, she was able to make blogging her full-time career.
"It was terrifying but it worked out," she says. "Brands started coming to me, and I began to realise the value of my audience and the worth that comes with it. The people who follow me are generally women aged 18 to 35 who probably like clothes or art, so it makes sense for brands who want to sell to that type of person to work with someone who has influence in their core market. Integrity is important to me so I don't work with brands that my audience would question."
Unlike some social media stars, Anouska is actually quite private, and tries to separate herself from her business where possible and not take everything personally.
''Girls who are online put out this great highlights reel of what our lives are like, and while I'm very happy, there are days when I feel down or suffer from anxiety," she says.
"With social media, a 'like' on Instagram is like a mini endorphin. A challenge for me was to realise that my worth doesn't come from the amount of followers I have or how many likes a photo gets. We live in an age where everything is filtered and we have to accept that, but it's also important to realise that we are all human."
Anouska finds yoga and meditation helpful, and says that being able to ground herself in a hectic world is beneficial. "I've changed my lifestyle and my mind has become so much better now that I'm looking after my body," she says.
Truly passionate about travel, Anouska is taking off on the Visa #TapIntoIreland road trip across Ireland on August 24 with four other influencers, James Kavanagh, Pat Divilly, Rob Kenny and Doireann Garrihy. They want to showcase the best experiences available in Ireland as voted by their followers, with everything they experience being under €30, allowing them to tap with their Visa contactless card.
Anouska can see herself living in New York or London at some point. Her next step is to share her skills and expertise with brands, and she already does content creation consultancy for Coffee Angel. "I ultimately want to be the creative director of my own company," she says. "I would also like a big house with loads of animals running around. That would be my ideal situation."