Welcome to another Student Spotlight! If you’re wondering how to build a business online as a blogger or social media influencer, read on. In this series, I’m handing the microphone over to my students to tell their stories, share their missions, and give their best advice for working online.
Introducing: Stevie Blaine
In the spotlight today is UK based student Stevie Blaine, AKA Bo-Po Boy. Stevie draws back the curtains into his life as a LGBTQIA and body confidence advocate, influencer and blogger…
Tell me your story. Why did you start your business and your Instagram?
Originally, Instagram was the tool I used to change the way I look. I followed as many diet accounts, fitness accounts and celebs as possible. For years I struggled with body image. I spent all my teens and early 20’s yo-yo dieting and jumping on every fitness trend to try and change my body into what I thought society wanted.
I thought if I looked like the men on magazines and in movies I’d be happy, popular and successful. Of course when I lost the weight none of those things happened. I lost more than just weight I lost a part of myself. Coming off the back as another diet, I went onto the Instagram explore page and saw a plus size girl on the beach living her life unapologetically. It hit me that I have spent so much of my life trying to change who I am that I had been missing out on living. So I started my page bopo.boy as a journal to document my journey to self-love.
It grew pretty quickly and I went viral a month after starting the account.
I was featured in magazines, on chat shows and in newspapers around the world. This is when my page began to shift more from just being my journey but to a community for people to come and talk about their body image worries without fear of persecution. I talk quite frankly about body image in a way we often shy away from. I think by being so authentic and raw online allows others to feel comfortable enough to share their journey and what it is they’re going through too.
My account today has grown into all areas of body confidence and self love. I post daily to help inspire others to start embracing their bodies and not feel that because they don’t see their body represented in the media, it doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with their body. It’s society’s narrow view of beauty thats the problem. I’ve taken my message to schools and colleges throughout the UK to help children grow up with a positive relationship with their body. My content has changed as my life has. Since learning to love myself I found the confidence to come out as gay. I met my husband and since we have travelled the world, showing my followers that its ok to be exactly as you are. You are perfect!
Tell me about your business and your “why.”
I promote body positivity, body confidence and coach individuals to beat diet culture. To realise their beauty and live their lives unapologetically. Sharing my own journey and talking in depth about lots of body image woes that are often hidden away e.g. stretch marks, cellulite, excess skin. I also post daily coffee breaks, where I go into detail about particular questions my community have asked, covering all areas of self love!
How did you discover Christina?
I found her podcast originally through a friend who shared it on her story.
Which of Christina’s courses have you taken and what inspired you to enroll?
The Influencer Bootcamp. I’m currently still working a 9 – 5 whilst trying to grow my business and take my personal brand to the next level. Whilst I have had collaborations and some paid work I wanted to invest in me. To gain the skills that allow me to take this full time and live my dream of inspiring others daily!
What “lightbulb moments” did you have while taking the course?
Firstly I didn’t realise how much I’d been undercharging myself! No wonder brands were snapping my hand off when I suggested my fee. I also can’t believe how the small changes are the ones which make the biggest difference. I also learned to hone in on my branding to help me become distinctive online, which I think has worked 100%.
What are the most exciting things that have happened since completing the course?
I’ve grown by 800 followers in the 2 months since doing the course. That’s huge for me as I was stuck at 17,1k for over a year! I have also landed a press trip with the Japanese tourism board which is my favourite country in the world!
What do you love most about the work you do?
I love that I get to turn up daily and be authentically me. To share my story and hope that it inspires others to stop thinking they need to change in order to be happy and successful. Our differences are what make us beautiful.
What’s next for you? What’s your next big goal or project?
Next I want to be able to go full time and start speaking at more events and schools. I would love to set up my own digital workshops to help build body confidence.
What is your number one piece of advice for aspiring influencers or bloggers?
Find what inspires you and make content around that. Who cares if there are thousands more posting about the same thing. The way you do it, your style and who you are is what will set you apart from the rest.
What are your favorite accounts to follow on Instagram?
@bodyposipanda my absolute queen and has always supported me since day one.
Where can people find you?