With over 2 million followers, Rocky Barnes knows a thing or two about Instagram. But, believe it or not, the model slash style icon entered the influencer space well before the visually-driven social media platform was even “a thing.”
She got her big break back in 2012 when she starred in Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” music video and then quickly started gracing the pages of Vogue and Cosmopolitan and becoming the face of brands such as Sam Edelman, Furla, and bare minerals.
But don’t call her an overnight success.
She has been hustling for years to get where she is today. She launched her eponymous blog, Rocky Barnes, over eight years ago (a.k.a. during the digital stone ages) and has been slowly but surely amassing a loyal band of followers.
Her wide reach on social media has opened up many doors, and she’s stepped into the role of designer, co-designing capsule collections with brands by the likes of Express and Aldo. And she’s even launched her own fashion brand, The Bright Side.
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On following her gut over following the numbers…
“It’s so important to create content that you love.”
“You really have to look at the bigger picture and not focus day-to-day on what the numbers say.”
“You want people [followers] who are going to see you for the big picture, not post to post.”
On working with brands and measuring intangible KPIs…
“Instagram has made it so easy to trace everything and to make it so numbers-driven, but I like to think that I’ve built a really loyal following and the brands that I work with really appreciate that.”
On creating boundaries when sharing her life with followers…
“You have to give yourself time to really enjoy what’s happening around you.”
“How do you really know if it’s a great experience and to share that with your followers if you’re not actually enjoying that experience?”
“Being able to carve out time for yourself to work and play is so important.”
On launching her own clothing line, The Bright Side…
“It’s definitely scarier to do something not in collaboration with another brand it takes a little bit of the safety net away.”
On getting it in writing…
“Always have a contract. Always. I don’t care if they’re your best friend. I don’t care if your parents know each other. I don’t care if you’ve worked with them without a contract before. Do not do anything without a contract.”
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