By: Winona Young, Head Staff Writer
You’ve seen these girls either in your classrooms, or on your phone screen.
Meet Yasmin Mozaffarian and Rafaella Enderica — or rather, @itsyasiboo (3,128 followers) and @rafaellaenderica (9,291 followers). Mozaffarian and Enderica are two SFU international studies majors and also part-time influencers.
From photo shoots to Shrum Science Hall
When I first met the girls for an interview with The Peak, my immediate reaction was, “God, I’m underdressed.” It was a too-sunny Monday afternoon. I met Yasmin Mozaffarian first in a leopard-print dress under a jean jacket, while she cooled down with a Starbucks iced soy latte (and was five minutes early to boot). Rafaella Enderica, on the other hand, we found wandering the Cornerstone parking lot, fresh from her six-hour shift at Starbucks, though she didn’t look it from her sharp outfit, a still-smooth silk top and culottes.
“Before a shoot with Yasi, I arrive late. At least 45 minutes,” she laughs.
I sat down with the girls in a remote study hall, away from the post 1:30 p.m. student rush. I started with a question not even the Oxford English Dictionary can answer — what, exactly, is an influencer?
“So to me, being an influencer is almost like creating a brand for yourself and an image,” Enderica began.
Mozaffarian agrees that being an influencer primarily involves marketing, sharing favourite products, and even your life, with your followers. But even then, the girls aren’t too keen on the term “influencer” in the first place.
“It’s more content creating,” Enderica said.
“I wouldn’t even say, like, influencing, because I don’t know if I’m influencing anybody, and at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if I am or if I am not.”
Content creation compen$ation
Given that being an “influencer” is a new thing even as a side hustle, let alone as a full-time job, there’s a lot of mystery surrounding the work. Especially when it comes to the money surrounding it. I asked Mozaffarian about how collaborations between brands and people’s profiles can even exist.
“So obviously when you’re starting, you’re kind of the one reaching out to brands,” she admitted.
She detailed her routine for collaborating with brands. It begins with sending out emails to brands, mostly containing her media kit, which is a sort of resume for bloggers.
“There’ll be collaborations where they will gift products to you, and there’s some who will offer to pay you. Usually you don’t get paid until you have like 10,000 followers, that’s where it starts,” Mozaffarian said.
In Mozaffarian’s case, her main (and favourite collaborator) is Mejuri, a jewelry brand company. It was love at first collab.
“Initially, they told me they weren’t doing collaborations but they would keep my name on file, but after a couple months, they were like, ‘Hey, we’re opening up a pop-up in Vancouver and we’d love to send you some products in exchange for posts and mentioning we’re doing the pop-up.’”
And the rest is happily-branded-ever-after. To Mozzaffarian, that collaboration was a key highlight of her life as an influencer so far. Just trying to describe the feeling makes her stop short and make a noise that sounds both like a laugh and gasp of excitement.
Mozaffarian mentioned that ever since that first collaboration, Mejuri still sends her products on a monthly basis.
Enderica, on the other hand, was more cautious. And more to the point.
“I’ve been a little apprehensive in trying to collaborate with brands because a lot of them, there’s a lot of companies out there that will fish you like, ‘Oh, why don’t you become an influencer for us?’” she said.
“One tip I have that I learned the hard way, there’s a lot of brands that comment under your photos, asking to do ambassador work and things like that,” Mozzaffarian said with a sheepish smile. “Those ones are those kinds of ones that are fishing to, like, get you to pay for their product.”
Their solution to suspicious brands? Reach out to brands via email for serious inquiries.
influencer + international studies = Rafaella and Yasmin
Mozaffarian mentioned that she’s currently a fourth-year student, but being a content creator is only
a part time gig for her. “I don’t see myself doing content creation full time, I do see it as a hobby, but I don’t know where that’ll go,” she reasoned.
On average, the girls estimate they both spend several hours a week working their side hustle. Their tools are plentiful: iPhones, VSCO, Snapseed, Planoli, and FaceTune (Enderica defended her choice of the FaceTune app because of its Paint Tool alone).
A regular day of shooting was made of the following: planned outfits, a location, and little patience for parking.
“Downtown [Vancouver] would be really nice, but parking is really tough there and it just takes a lot of time sometimes we will do that, but usually North Shore, I feel has some pretty good shots. So we find our spot, we change into our outfits—”
Enderica cuts in with, “Oh, guys — changing into your outfits is so annoying,” and the two dissolve into a fit of laughter.
Mozaffarian, giggling, nodded along and confirmed the problem with changing, “In the back of the car, pretty sure we flashed people before.”
The two estimate that once they start snapping photos, 200 to 1000 photos are taken until either one is satisfied. Post-shoot rituals vary between the two girls (“Edit and eat,” Enderica says). But both ultimately end up at home, editing through pictures and agonizing over captions together.
Success in the era of smartphones
Enderica addressed some of the harder truths around collaboration deals with brands.
“Like with any sort of start-up or any business, you’re probably going to lose money the first year, you’re probably going to lose money in the first three years, it’s something you have to dedicate yourself to and grow your followers, grow your community. And that’s sort of how you get compensated, is you get more exposure.”
I then asked both girls what they believed were key pieces of success for up-and-coming influencers.
Enderica was candid. Before answering my question, she asked if she could swear. Caught off guard, I told her yes.
“Not give a fuck!” she exclaimed with a bright grin. “That’s my thing: if I like something, I’m gonna post it. And it might be weird, it might not look cool as some people think. I might make a lame joke, but literally, don’t give a fuck. Just do you.”
Check out The Peak’s Student Spotlight on Rafaella Enderica and Yasmin Mozaffarian: