HomeUrdu NewsLife & StyleBehind the Ring Light: What Instagram Influencers Won't Tell You | Vopbuzz.com

Behind the Ring Light: What Instagram Influencers Won’t Tell You | Vopbuzz.com

It’s not all about flawless skin and extravagant celebrations: Influencers also suffer from anxiety behind the scenes

KARACHI:

For many of us who spend hours aimlessly scrolling through social media, influencers seem like creatures of perfection. With every flawless selfie and envy-inducing travel post, they have become the style gurus, fitness trainers, wellness experts, and beauty experts of the internet.

Exotic vacations, designer wardrobes, glass skin, and toned bodies. Influencers often represent a lifestyle that is far beyond the reach of the average person. It’s easy to forget that these perfect moments are often just highlights, not the full story. They’re a carefully balanced mix of filters, photo editing, and professional makeup. For followers like you and me, it sets an unattainable standard of beauty.

A study published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture shows what increased exposure to unrealistic beauty standards on Instagram can really do. It confuses our social comparison radar because we’re constantly trying to figure out where we stand. Are we prettier, thinner, smarter than everyone else. The study’s author, Danielle Lee Wagstaff, told The Guardian: “With Instagram, we have access to all these idealised images that aren’t always an accurate representation of the world. People tend to only post their best images on Instagram, using filters. We have a false sense of what the average is, which makes us feel worse about ourselves.”

Picture this: You wake up, your hair is a mess, and you notice a pimple that wasn’t there the night before. Now you have to take a photo and make it look like you just left the spa. For influencers, this is a daily occurrence. The pressure to maintain a perfect image can be intense. Behind those carefully curated feeds, there’s a world of anxiety that can make even the calmest of us reach for a stress ball.

Constant comparison

Despite their apparent confidence, influencers are not immune to the comparison game. They scroll through their feeds, seeing others in the game with more followers, better engagement, or better brand deals. This usually ends with a paralyzing sense of inadequacy and impostor syndrome. It’s like participating in a never-ending popularity contest in high school, where the stakes are your earnings.

Brussels-based Pakistani fashionista Amal Sarwar (@amaltiverse on Instagram) is someone who feels the pain of the comparison game especially keenly as a South Asian expat in a predominantly Caucasian city. “When you see pictures of yourself next to pictures of people from Belgium, Russia, France, it’s not a good thing. Their body types are so different from ours; their skin is different. We are being propagandized to believe that this is the standard of beauty,” Amal says.

The comparison isn’t limited to looks alone, it’s also down to the technical level. Amal, whose page boasts over 25,000 followers, admits that she feels it’s impossible to compete with those who have unlimited resources dedicated to their brand. “Some people have professional photographers, editors, and content teams. When you don’t have any of that, there’s always the worry that the finished product won’t measure up.”

Obsession with engagement

Have you ever found yourself obsessively checking the likes on a post? Or the views on a story? Now multiply that by a thousand. Influencers live and die by their engagement levels. Every like, comment, and repost counts, and the numbers game quickly becomes an obsession. They refresh their feeds more often than most people can blink.

The troll pays

Every influencer has their share of internet trolls. These anonymous critics have a knack for finding and exploiting any perceived flaw. Imagine having thousands of people picking on every aspect of your appearance and personality. It’s enough to make anyone want to hide under a rock (or at least in a heavily filtered Instagram story).

Trolls don’t just come in the form of faceless comments under a post, they also come in the form of “aunties” and “uncles” who judge the way you dress. “I worry about the close-knit community at home. It’s so easy for someone to send my family a photo of me in a revealing outfit. I’m not too worried about the online audience, I’m more worried about people I know reacting badly,” says Amal.

Pakistani influencer-turned-actress Hania Aamir has a similar stance on how she deals with trolling. “When people close to me, be it my manager or my mom, tell me that I’m doing something wrong in life, I listen to them because they matter and have seen me grow up. Their opinions will matter,” she says. Mere Humsafar star.

Endless vanity

Being an influencer isn’t just about taking pretty photos. Many influencers work around the clock to stay on top of trends, come up with new content ideas, and strategize on how to stay relevant. The pressure to always be “in”

For Amal, being the “fashion thrill seeker” of @amaltiverse isn’t a full-time job — she already has two. While it may seem like influencers have plenty of time on their hands to test out different blush pigments in front of a ring light, most of them actually have to hustle from nine to five. “A lot of us are trying to make ends meet while working other jobs, which makes the hours in the day really tight and the deadlines even tighter,” Amal says. She also comments on her anxiety around balancing authenticity and finances: “You’re getting paid to promote content using products that aren’t necessarily your authentic selves, but you’re doing it for the money because you have to. And there’s always this fear that people will see that and label you as fake.”

Global Events

And there’s always that fine line to walk between maintaining a brand in the midst of global tragedies. This tension is especially acute when it comes to promoting consumer goods like fashion during a crisis. The stark contrast between carefully curated images of an idealized lifestyle amid tragic news is unsettling for everyone, not just influencers. Posting “must-have” resort wear when Rafah is being bombed for the 10th time this week feels incredibly tone-deaf.

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