2 Beauty Bloggers on What Their Perfectly Curated Insta Lives Mean to Them

Updated 03/14/18
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On the surface, I don't pay much mind to my Instagram account. I post infrequently and I spend minimal time perfecting my photos or planning out my "grid." And, unsurprisingly, I don't have a ton of followers. But deep down, I know that Instagram is a popularity contest, and it's easy to compare myself to my peers and wonder if I should change my ways to be more "follow-able". But even when I sulk about not having as many likes as X, Y, or Z person, I'm still content with staying true to myself and only posting when and what I feel like, not because it'll bode well for my "algorithm", whatever that means.

Thankfully my world doesn't revolve around my Instagram—I don't have the psyche for that. But for influencers, Instagram is their job. Maintaining an appearance and having high engagement is the difference between whether or not they'll be offered brand sponsorships, which, for most, is what makes up their annual salary. Curious about what it feels like to have such a high-stakes social media profile, I tapped two popular beauty gurus with huge audiences for how they handle the pressure. (Spoiler: They both depend on one of my favorite supplement brands to stay centered.)

Marianna Hewitt

Marianna Hewitt
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@marianna_hewitt, 785K followers

Instagram is such a huge part of your career and is obviously very important. How would you summarize how you feel about your own personal Instagram account?

I have always loved taking photos and creating beautiful images in an organic way that never seems staged or forced. I feel so excited to post and engage on the platform, even after having to do it so many times a day for many years. It is still exciting to me to take a photo that I know my followers will love, to share a product I am loving, a place I am exploring, or something I think people want to see.

How many times per day do you think about your Instagram?

Instagram is kind of second nature to me now. Because its such a huge part of my job and business, it's an extension of my emails and I check both all day long.

How many times do you check it?

A lot.

What goes into a post, from finding a photographer to editing to scheduling the post to thinking of the caption?

I don't overthink it, but a lot of work goes into it. Especially my sponsored content. When I partner with a brand, I always want to create high-quality images and content for them in the most engaging, natural way so it doesn't seem like an ad.

I take a lot of photos myself. I also have a photographer I work with. I prefer to write the caption in the moment based on my mood, and I try to show my personality through my caption—usually with emojis. I'm not an overly serious person, so I never want to come off that way.

As far as scheduling posts, it's mostly about planning the feed and then I decide what to post from there.

How many different apps and tools do you use to craft a single post?

If I am shooting with a camera, then just Photoshop or Lightroom to color-correct and crop.

If it's taken on an iPhone and needs more help, then I'll use FaceTune, VSCO, Snapseed, and/or Darkroom to get it ready to be posted.

Has Instagram messed with your psyche at all? As in, do you find yourself ever feeling negative because of the app? If so, how do you deal with that stress?

No, because I understand the reality of it. I think it's important for people to know that Instagram is a filtered platform of people's best images and that it isn't always reality in some cases. Being in my 30s now, I'm comfortable in my own skin, but I think for younger people, they live for the app and need to be aware that there is life beyond social media and to not compare themselves with others.

Instagram doesn't really stress me out, but the internet and emails and work, in general, can give me some stress. I try to keep an essential oil around me like peppermint or eucalyptus, I don't drink too much caffeine, and I take Olly Goodbye Stress vitamins ($12).

You travel around so much as an influencer—how do you stay looking and feeling your best?

I've been traveling my whole life, so I'm very fortunate that it is in my blood. I started flying to Europe by myself when I was six because my parents lived between different continents, so being on a plane and dealing with jet lag has been a part of my life since before I could remember.

When I get on a plane, I always try to get myself in the time zone I'm traveling to. I'll look ahead on a world clock to see what time it is there, and when it's nighttime. When I'm on the plane, I'll take one Olly Restful Sleep gummy and fall right asleep. It also helps when I arrive at the new destination. If I can't sleep at night, I take Olly—they are incredible.

I know we hear it time and time again, but for your skin—it's as important as it is to use great products on your skin (like the Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask, $48), as it is to take care of your skin from the inside out. This means drinking a lot of water to stay hydrated and taking vitamins

Do you ever feel like you have to be someone you're not for an Instagram post?

Not at all. I think Instagram Stories has allowed my followers to see a more realistic side of who I am, but with a Snapchat filter, of course.

What would you do if Instagram no longer existed tomorrow? How would you handle it?

I would continue to share my life through my other platforms like my blog and YouTube. I also am building a new brand, so I've started to create a career outside of just social media, but I don't think Instagram is going anywhere!

What are the most positive things that have sprung from being so public on Instagram?

I meet so many people in real life and get so many messages from telling people I inspire them in some way. From learning a makeup trick that they used to take their engagement photos, encouraging someone to pick a major in school or to start a new business because they see how passionate I am about mine—I really aim to inspire my followers and readers and community to live a beautiful life inside and out and do what makes them happy, and the fact that I get to do this sometimes with just a single post makes it all worth it.

Deepica Mutyala

Deepica Mutyala
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@deepica, 158K followers

Instagram is such a huge part of your career and is obviously very important. How would you summarize how you feel about your own personal Instagram account?

I feel fortunate that my professional and personal lives intertwine on my Instagram. I would hate to have them be two separate accounts. My Instagram is a reflection of my life. I'm not one of those people who has a pretty grid, which I feel like may sound insane to some people, but I think it's important that instead of sticking to blogger "rules", I stick to what's true to me and that's more showing my personality and real-life moments. I can't have mine so super-planned weeks in advance because I love to do in-the-moment stuff.

It may not be perfect for my grid, but it's my life, and I think the most important thing in building your Instagram is finding what works for you, not what works for "them" because everyone's brands are different.

How many times per day do you think about your Instagram?

An embarrassing amount, but if you put things into perspective, how many times a day do you think about your job? That's how many times a day I think about Instagram. It's a hard thing for some people to wrap their heads around, but it's reality. I'm a marketer, and social media is just the new way of marketing.

How many times do you check it?

Also an embarrassing amount. It's the first thing I do when I wake up, especially with the launch of my new digital community page Live Tinted. I got better about not checking @deepica as much, but when you launch a new business venture, it's your baby. You check on it right when you wake up—it's almost instinctive in me. I'm not saying it's a good thing or healthy, but I'm definitely in workaholic mode right now.

What goes into a post, from finding a photographer to editing to scheduling the post to thinking of the caption?

More than I think people understand—like I said, Instagram is a marketing tool for brands, and the reality is they are partnering with me to showcase their products in a way that feels on brand for me but aligns with their brand messaging. There is a healthy balance between the two. I feel fortunate that I don't have to (always) think about the aesthetic being beautiful. I think I would go crazy. I like to show my personality through the photos and captions because there are plenty of people with pretty grids out there, but I like to show a little bit more of the real-real.

I love following the pretty, good pages—don't get me wrong—it's just not always the first thing I think about.

I like to set weekly content shoots and get things done efficiently. I used to just do it super last-minute and one-off, and of course, there are instances where that still happens, but for the most part, I like to get everything planned and organized. Sometimes I hire a photographer depending on the shoot, but I like to also be self-sufficient. Three years into this, I've now invested in a few tools to be able to shoot myself, like a monitor and a remote, so I can use a self-timer and take pictures without having to have anyone there.

It eliminates the excuse factor that I sometimes use. For me, editing isn't so intense because I don't like to over-edit. I love video and Boomerang content because the action feels more dynamic. Now the caption—that's where the time is usually spent. I can't lie and say that it happens right away. I put thought into them because I don't want to just post a picture—I want to tell a story. On the flip side of things, with the Live Tinted page, I am super anal and really into the grid looking pretty and telling a story of the brand identity.

I guess I think of the @deepica page as a personality page and @livetinted as a brand page, so I sort of have two styles to think about.

How many different apps and tools do you use to craft a single post?

I've tried all the ones you've heard of and have narrowed it down to a few. One of them is Planoly for actually planning out my content and seeing what it's like in the grid. Like I said, I'm not so focused on the grid prettiness, but I like to try and do every other picture as a selfie. Planoly is a paid app to get access to the aspects of it that really help, but there is also Unum, which is a free version for someone who wants to just test it out. I'll use Facetune—the original, not Facetune 2 because that thing scares me; it's so intense—to make aspects of a picture pop or smooth some stuff out.

Those are my regular ones, but then there are all the color-editing ones like Snapseed and Color Story that I use on occasion.

Has Instagram messed with your psyche at all? As in, do you find yourself ever feeling negative because of the app? If so, how do you deal with that stress?

Yep. I actually said it today, because today was the first Saturday I decided that I was going to just relax and not work (I say this as I'm answering this interview). I'll be scrolling through Instagram and see what other people are doing, and for me, it's not about having FOMO and wishing I was there. It's more that I feel like I should be working. I mentioned earlier that I feel very fortunate that my personal and professional life are one in the same, but it's also draining. I try to take one day a week (sometimes that could mean midweek) that I am not thinking about what I'm posting or what's even happening on social media.

That doesn't mean I'm not looking at it, but I'm not worried about posting something work-related. That lets me have a moment to just enjoy it for what it is. I think you have to find little things like that to do this career and not let it consume you. It takes a mental toll on you. I just feel like I can never turn off sometimes—I've been doing little changes in my life to zen out a little more.

I started doing Headspace once a day. I'm not good about doing it every single day, but a few times a week. Baby steps here. I also take Olly Goodbye Stress vitamins that are specifically for stress. They are yummy. It's actually naturally what I do when I'm stressed (eat something sweet), but these really calm me. I also started using the Zeel app and ordering at-home massages. Even leaving the house to take the time to get a massage feels like not a good use of time, so I'm all about anything that makes it easier.

It's a work in progress every day, but I'm determined to make it a priority in my life. Self-care is too important.

You travel around so much as an influencer—how do you stay looking and feeling your best?

I have a few plane staples that help when I travel—I always carry sheet masks and face mists. I'm that girl on the plane who looks terrifying with a sheet mask on, but it's worth it. I'm telling you—when I land, my skin actually feels better than it did when I got on. My current favorite is Neutrogena's Hydro Boost Hydrogel Mask ($3)—super moisturizing! Also, I think I sleep better on planes than I do in my bed. Is that crazy? As far as feeling my best, that's something I'm working on. I just moved from NYC to L.A., so I'm still figuring out my routine.

It's been hard because, like you said, we travel so much with this job that I still am not settled into my new place. My goal this year is to really get back into my workout routine. Running is my therapy, but you know how it goes—once you stop, it's hard to get back into it. I always use work as an excuse, but it's really not one. We all can make time for anything—it's just about prioritizing priorities. 

Do you ever feel like you have to be someone you're not for an Instagram post?

That's another reason I feel so lucky that my channel is about my personality as a beauty influencer—I'm not a makeup artist and I've never claimed to be one. I'm a beauty enthusiast and have tried more products out there than most but definitely no makeup artist. I share my perspective on things from my point of view. When you meet me in person, you realize that I'm literally that same person offline too. It's a strange thing hearing someone say "you're just like I imagined you to be!" in a shocked way.

I take it as a compliment because I think you'll eventually burn out when you're pretending to be someone you're not online.

I feel like there is a difference between wanting to play around with your look and experiment with style versus trying to change who you are. I will admit that I actually did a whole shoot where I was being super edgy and way outside of my comfort zone. I wore big yellow sunglasses and a massive yellow bomber jacket and a net nude top, a shiny black skirt—I mean, it was just a completely different look for me. I did it because I was wearing a Fenty Beauty red lipstick and I was trying to change who I was to fit into the brand aesthetic.

It was super fun to do and I love me some Fenty for sure, but it was just interesting that I had posted a few others using the same red lipstick but in a more playful way, and of course, it was this one that got picked up on fentybeauty.com.

That moment was one of the motivators for launching Tinted—I want @livetinted to be a page where you can be comfortable being who you are and get featured no matter what that means. It's an approachable space. I feel like Instagram is all about the slay, and don't get me wrong, I love a good slay here and there, but I want to bring back the smile and actual laughter. Positive energy and vibes are important. I hope people feel that when they go to the account.

What would you do if Instagram no longer existed tomorrow? How would you handle it?

I've thought about this—I've thought about if social media all together went away tomorrow (since I have a YouTube page too). The answer is I would keep doing what it is I've always done and I'd still be a beauty marketer. I started my career on the corporate side of beauty and then switched over to the influencer side after a viral video, but I will always have that experience behind me. If anything, I think the past few years have only made me more desirable to companies for hire. Truthfully though, knowing myself, I would start my own beauty brand.

Since I was 16, I said I would do it, but there have been so many other amazing opportunities to focus on that it's been just brewing up. So the answer is that I would be fine and recognize that I'm an educated person with a valuable skillset. It's an important and empowering thing to know about yourself.

What are the most positive things that have sprung from being so public on Instagram?

So happy you asked that because that's just it—the reality is that of course there are stressful parts of the job, but that's every job, and the positive things that have come out of this career in social media completely weigh out the negative. There are the obvious cool perks like getting all the PR boxes of new product launches, cool experiential trips, and red carpet events, but the most positive thing that's come out of this career is the feeling that because I am doing what I'm doing, there is a girl out there who feels like she can too.

The best feeling in the world is getting an email, direct message, or someone coming up to you saying that because I took the risk in a nontraditional career path as a South Asian woman, it gives them the confidence to do it. The feeling of seeing yourself represented in the media is a powerful thing. It's not just buzzwords, but representation can change confidence levels and empower the next generation of kids to know that they are capable of doing whatever it is they want to do. I know that sounds cheesy, but that to me is the absolute best part of this job and my driving force of working hard every day.

Whenever I feel a little down, I always think about the women I get contacted by telling me to "keep going." I don't know if they realize how much their comments motivate me to do just that.

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