There’s never been a weirder time to be aspirational, and suddenly, influencers feel more tone-deaf than relevant.
Influencers were exciting and relevant when they first plunged onto the scene in the early 2000s with their skin-tight activewear and clean-eating schemes.
It was actually nice to stare at their perfectly-curated lives on Instagram while the rest of us lived our messy, ordinary lives.
They posed in their $100 leggings, looking like supermodels, while we sweated in our $10 Kmart leggings, and it was fun to see how people pretend to live.
They became like the reality television of the internet; sure, they weren’t good for us, but they felt harmless enough.
They taught us weird ways to curl our hair, made it their life’s mission to normalise activewear for every occasion and added the word “routine” to the end of anything they did more than once.
Their most significant crime was the amount they promoted juices. So many influencers introduced us to juice recipes that I believe they all secretly stole straight from a Boost Juice menu but renamed it ‘energy fixer’ and claimed it as their unique mix.
Besides that, influencers were fine. They’d post about their clothing hauls, relish in their free stuff and miss the irony of begging for privacy while filming themselves.
It was ridiculous, but most of us liked it.
Until the cost of living crisis happened and then everything became so bloody expensive and influencers became annoying.
Inflation is at 7 per cent. New data also shows rental prices in some suburbs have increased by almost 50 per cent in the past year, and the cash rate is the worst it’s been in 11 years.
Suddenly watching people promote their luxury lifestyle that involves fast fashion, expensive brands, and various overseas holidays just felt wrong.
Seeing influencers like Olivia Molly Rogers, Nadia Bartel and Anna Paul globe-trotting is hard to swallow when most of us going through our bills and wondering how we can possibly cut back yet again.
It isn’t just that they’re overseas, it is how they are overseas. They aren’t staying in cheap motels and making the best of it.
They are posing in expensive outfits, heading to fancy restaurants and living like, well, influencers.
Meanwhile I’m heading off to Aldi to try and save $20.
The culture has shifted, and influencers don’t make sense now.
I remember at the beginning of the pandemic, a bunch of famous people including Gal Gadot and Amy Adams, got together and sang John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’.
It was an effort to spread hope, but they were all in their mansions, and the rest of us were crammed into our sharehouses and wondering if we could keep our jobs. The gesture was innocent enough, but it just felt off.
I get the same feeling now when I see an influencer post about a luxury escape to Bali, and I’m at home trying to put my outrageous electricity bill on a payment plan.
I know the influencers don’t mean any harm. They are just doing their best, prancing around in their tanned skin, and showing us how we all should be living. Yet right now, it feels off and weird and not even a sexy bikini selfie can win me back.