Under the (Influencer’s) Influence

I was browsing Whole Foods, my AirPods playing “Anything Goes” when it dawned on me that I had been influenced — by an influencer.


by Tierney Flavin, Snapchat and Twitter Editor

As I wandered around the foreign foods aisle, I picked up some tofu and carefully placed it in my basket, then continued down the aisle in search of some quinoa. In my AirPods, I heard Emma Chamberlain openly discussing her experiences with anxiety. This was comforting to me as I asked the Whole Foods worker where I could find the quinoa; she told me it was right below where I was looking and I was embarrassed. Nevertheless, I picked up my quinoa and laughed it off because that’s what Emma would do.

On Instagram, Emma rolls in with 13.4 million followers, myself included. I love her Instagram. It’s chock full of all of my favorite things: cats, fashion, makeup and bright colors. I use her page to find inspiration for my wardrobe or ideas for my own posts.

I’m always seeing pictures from her Instagram stories on my Pinterest feed, and am most likely pinning them all into one board or another. Sometimes my boards can look like an Emma Chamberlain shrine but it’s honestly just because she has the best, most accessible pictures.

Since I’ve been watching Emma Chamberlain on YouTube since I was 12, watching her videos every week has become routine. I’ve definitely noticed the effects of this time spent on her channel. I’ve even attempted to start cooking; hence the tofu and quinoa.

I also often find myself spending my quality time alone going for walks, listening to “Anything Goes,” Emma’s podcast. The candid nature of her podcast fosters a deeper connection between her and the audience and builds on that closeness that she has with her followers.

Most, if not all, of my friends follow Emma Chamberlain as well. We’ve recently been discussing whether we like her new (more cinematic) style of vlogs or not. 

Personally, I miss the old videos. I felt a deeper connection to them than I do to the new b-roll, or aesthetic, centered videos. Her older videos had a lot of her talking directly to her audience and they just felt very personal. On the other hand, some of my friends like the new videos better because they are relaxing and seem to fit Chamberlain’s style.

I continue to come back to her on every platform because of that sense of comfort that she brings. I feel almost as if we’ve grown up together. I find myself asking, not to be cheesy, “What would Emma do?” just because she is constantly offering up advice for her audience, especially on her podcast. 

I think a lot of people view influencers in a negative light. They are seen as figureheads for large social media platforms. Some people believe they have too much power over my generation. This can be true, don’t get me wrong, but in Emma’s case it feels different. She began creating content wanting to better herself, looking for someone to see and hear her. Her influence feels genuine: like she isn’t just striving for fame or money. 

My absolute favorite part about her is her willingness to be unique and how she is able to project that onto her viewers. Through her I’ve been able to grow further into myself — even if that version of myself sometimes looks to emanate Emma Chamberlain.