Sunday, May 26, 2024

The ‘reel’ life of an Influencer

Left – Jahna with son Benji

For someone who has been a part of the virtual media scene since the last three years, Jahna Barralough has brought her A-game to the virtual media platform. FARIDA MASTER met up with the Botany-based, social media personality to find out about the ‘reel’ life of an influencer in a virtual world of Insta fame.

It was an ‘aha’ moment that changed the course of her life, says Jahna Barralough, dressed in athleisure wear with a large overcoat that covers her baby bump.

Talking about her tryst with social media, she says, three years ago, soon after her son Benji was born, she happened to be scrolling (as you do) through her Instagram feed of glam influencers promoting baby products they’d been gifted.

There was a little voice within her saying, ‘I’d love to have those products too’!

Moments later, she wondered, what’s stopping her from doing it – channelling her inner goddess on camera.

Jahna reckons it’s just a matter of putting yourself out there.

“It’s scary but worth the journey,” posits the influencer with a following of around 10,000, as we meet up at blend café in Botany.

Prior to her virtual affair with social media, Jahna flirted with hairdressing and worked in the retail industry as a store manager. She also had a short stint with modelling.

The experience of making love to the camera paid off.

There is a sense of aesthetics and beauty as Jahna creates quality content for the products she models and promotes.

In all modesty, she lets out that she doesn’t fancy the term ‘Influencer’.

“I prefer to call myself a content creator,” says the style arbiter who regularly posts on fashion, beauty, baby products as well as lifestyle and home spaces.

Jahna says she enjoys creating professional imagery with brands that align with her.

While most of the times she works on her ownsome, with a faithful tripod for company, on occasions she collaborates with an array of talented photographers.

“It’s quite hard when you are self-filming, there is a lot of work involved especially if you are particular about natural lighting, as I am. There are quite a few early mornings involved as I prefer to capture the beautiful morning light. ▸

It means having a 5am start and travelling to the city to a particular locale. Having hair, make-up done, with outfit changes thrown in. People don’t see the crazy hours put in,” she says.

Spoiler alert! Fame and followers don’t come easy!

“One must constantly think of creative ideas on how to film and edit the reels, and how to capture an audience. Even after the job is done you have to respond to comments.”

When she is not focussing on keeping the conversations going, Jahna reaches out to businesses in New Zealand and Australia on how she could pitch their brand.

“Since the last couple for years, I’ve worked with companies creating professional content that they can reuse.”

She believes the job of an influencer “is a full-time one with a lot of flexibility, of course”—which she needs with three-year-old Benji (he is cuteness personified in some of her reels) and another baby on the way!

“As an influencer you have a responsibility. There are times social media can be quite toxic,” she admits.

Another reality check is the tight rope walk when it comes to getting freebies versus getting paid for a job done.

“Someone has to pay the bills too,” she smiles, “It’s often a 50-50 ratio,” she reveals.

Talking of paybacks, Jahna says she was thrilled to be asked to be part of the recent Rodney Wayne campaign.

“It was manifestation at work,” she says excitedly.

“I used to work there as an apprentice, shampooing hair. I always dreamt that someday, I will be on the posters. It was a big achievement for me when I was asked to be part of their campaign. I’m told there is a life-size image of me at Rodney Wayne St Luke’s shopping mall.”

Famous last words? “Follow your dreams, however scary they may seem at first. It’s totally worth it!”

Rapid fire

Introduce yourself… I am a social media influencer and content creator passionate about fashion, raising my son Benji, and everything beauty.

The first thing you do when you wake up…check my phone.

Last thing before going to bed… I usually fall asleep to a movie/serial, having snacks or popcorn.

Top app… Instagram… TikTok on the side.

Fav way to relax… I don’t!

Biggest high… Being part of the annual campaign 2023 for Rodney Wayne, it was the place I started off as an apprentice.

Pride and joy… Having a family with my partner Chad and baby Benji with a new arrival coming soon. Did I mention our two cats?

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