Our Editor-in-Chief sits down with Izabella Miko to talk about influencer trends, her CodeRed campaign, and the gig economy.
JENNY: Let’s start off with some influencer questions. If a brand wants to hire you, what would it take to make you a brand ambassador?
IZZY: Well, I am very selective about who I work with, because there are a lot of things - that I, as myself, because since I’m not really…I don’t want to consider myself an influencer, I consider myself a person that maybe influences people? (laughs). I’m an actress first, and I think most of my followers find me because of my films and my TV shows - and also I think a lot of the content I create people do share - so then, it kind of goes back and forth, right - so someone discovers me, then they’re like, oh wait, she’s an actress, let me check out her work - but i think the majority of people follow me because they first see me in my films and TV shows.So, I’m not a typical influencer per se. And because of it, I have to be extra careful with who I partner up with and for me, what’s really super important, it’s what the brand stands for and what the message is, and if it aligns with what my message to my fans and my followers is.For me personally that is, happiness is an inside job; natural health vs. pharmaceutical help. People sometimes laugh at that; nowadays, it’s very natural for people to go, ‘I’m going to take a pill for this’ rather than, let me drink a lot of juice and see if I get better’. I’m all about natural ways, mind over matter. Obviously, that’s not always a solution to everything, but that’s how I look at problems and it’s very important that the brand is aligned with that as well. I’ve gotten offers to work with campaigns for McDonalds - I’m never going to work with these people because that’s not who I am. That’s not what I want to convey in my message and my conversation because I like to call it a conversation with my followers.
JENNY: Do you think celebrities are natural social media influencers?
IZZY: I think so. I believe that’s the case just because they already have a platform - they are already known and they don’t have to build their name - they are already known from something else. Whether they choose to go that route and actually have a social media presence, that’s a different story. A lot of actors don’t want to do that and they want to be as private as possible, which is becoming impossible these days because people want to know about private lives. That’s kind of been always the case in the 1950s, the 1940s in Hollywood. But now, people want to know how [celebrities] spend their day and their morning. Not every actor wants to share that, which is ok, which is fine. But it is important that they know that it is being closely watched.
JENNY: What keeps you up at night about your own social media?
IZZY: (laughs) I don’t think my own social media keeps me up at night. One thing I am not happy about is that a lot of important subjects, topics are being silenced - a lot of people are saying a lot of important things, and these things are being pushed to the back, blocked. That’s something that bothers me - I am all about freedom of speech - we have an amazing opportunity to share experiences and independent thinking. Unfortunately, it’s been proven that say with Twitter - they are meddling in what we see, what gets through to us.
It is important for people to realize that it is a lot harder for people who are maybe not following the common narrative, and what the mainstream media wants you to see. It’s lot harder for these people to have a great presence on social media because those things are blocked, which I don’t agree with. I’m really hoping that’s going to change. I want to talk about natural ways of getting healthy, and those posts NEVER get the traction that other posts do - and that makes me post less because I feel wow, like I am being censored.
JENNY: Do you feel like the gig economy and influencer marketing are here to stay?
IZZY: I think so, unless something new comes out, which I don’t know what that is. I have a different perspective because of my industry - some things cross over.
At some point, actors had to deal with reality tv celebrities taking their jobs - they were trying to get [reality tv] stars into films and tv and it didn’t work, because it didn’t translate. Someone watching a reality star doing what they are doing does not translate into them wanting to pay for a ticket or see their show.
The same thing happens to influencers - they tried to make influencers into movie stars and TV stars, YouTube really tried hard - it didn’t translate. Influencers work really hard, and if they give credibility to who they are - they will have the ears of the audience. There’s certain people that I follow and whatever they say - if I listen to their podcast and recommend a supplement, I know this person has done their research, I trust them. I think that it is here to stay, but with certain adjustments.
If you remember pre-Covid, any influencer was like, look at this cream, it’s so great! And brands thought that was great because that person has a lot of followers and engagement, but quickly they realize that it doesn’t necessarily translate into sales. Just because someone wants to look at their pretty pictures doesn’t mean they are going to trust them with a skin care product.
There are a lot of adjustments to be made, and I see a lot less of those ads and forced Instagram posts. People are spending a crazy lot of time on their phones, so that’s here to stay. It will change the way brands market and promote themselves through influencers.
“At some point, actors had to deal with reality tv celebrities taking their jobs - they were trying to get [reality tv] stars into films and tv and it didn’t work, because it didn’t translate. Someone watching a reality star doing what they are doing does not translate into them wanting to pay for a ticket or see their show.”
JENNY: What will happen to your social media account when you die? Do you consider them as part of your legacy? Would you want them say, in a social media archive museum? Would you want your kids to see them?
IZZY: There are certain posts that I am proud of that bring me a lot of joy, that I would want them to stay around. I want to have a positive, impactful message with each of the posts. And I really do my best to say something important.
JENNY: What is Izzy’s legacy?
IZZY: I feel like I am very much in the beginning of what I was meant to be doing here on this planet, in this life. That question will be answered in years to come. My main message is empowering people to define their true happiness and not depend on outside circumstances to make them feel happy, powerful.
JENNY: Please tell us what your CODE BLUE program is about, and how it is helping people during the holidays season.
IZZY: There are so many people who are not allowed to travel; or the holiday reminds them that their kids aren’t talking to them. Holidays are so triggering and I thought, what about those people? They are feeling horrible!
I made a post that said, if you are feeling really down, DM me and put “code blue” and I will communicate and make you smile. If you really need help and have no one to talk to, just DM me code red and I will call you and talk to you and make you feel better. And I was so surprised because so many people reached out to me! I connected with so many amazing souls from all over the world.
I did video chats; I tried to do all video and voice messages to really find out what the issue was. I would say, I’m not a professional but those were the things I would do. There were three people that were in a bad place - I was really scared, I really had to remove myself because - I gave them the resources anyone else would - and I’m happy to say they all reached out, I’ve been in touch with all of them and they are doing great.
One guy literally started a new business - it makes me so happy, and just proves that sometimes just reaching out to and making sure someone knows that “hey, I am here to listen - I don’t know if I can help, but I am here to listen. Let me listen to you and let me just let you sit with that pain.”
We’re so often taught you have to get rid of it, you have to be positive - but you have to feel it all the way. Things just shift. But just numbing yourself with alcohol, pill, weed, sex - we’ve been taught to do that in our society, and that just prolongs it. I was so moved that people were vulnerable with me.
JENNY: What are your most favorite social media platforms?
IZZY: Instagram is my favorite. Maybe Twitter will be? We’ll see, there are a lot of changes. Not a big fan of TikTok, i think it’s too much of a thief of time. I do love Telegram I have to say!