Influencer Culture: Amandha & Tesara

Oct 12 2021. views 830


Influencer culture has taken the world by storm, with many eventually evolving into celebrities and famous figures in pop culture. From endorsing big brands on social media platforms to attending Fashion Week in big cities to even collaborating with organizations, the impact of social media Influencers is boundless. Despite being a relatively new concept in Sri Lanka, influencer culture is slowly making its mark, gaining traction as many Sri Lankan businesses utilise this concept to promote their products.  Many Sri Lankan Influencers have garnered a large following on social media platforms such as Instagram and Tik Tok, creating new trends and changing the world of marketing.

Amandha

Amandha Amarasekara is a social media influencer who has also become the new face of many Sri Lankan menswear brands. He is also a model who has walked on the runways of Colombo Fashion Week. He talks to us about his love for fashion and how social media has opened many doors for him.

Q How did you start the journey of being a social media Influencer?
Honestly, a friend of mine got me into it while we were doing a (fashion) show and after being on Instagram for a while, I started understanding that fashion in general, has thin boundaries with lazy security so what you can mix and match is completely up to you and that idea of possibility is what first drew me in. Later on, I had the privilege of working with some brands I’ve always admired and just kept going. Tik Tok was more like a ‘pandemic thing’ that offered a lot of versatility and fun and it just stuck.

Q How has social media impacted your life?
Social media has been one of the greatest teachers of life in all aspects. I’ve met strangers who went on to become my closest friends, found love, lost love, lost myself, found myself, understood people better, and overcame my own insecurities.

Q Tell us a bit about the process of creating content. 
Oh this one’s easy! Find what I like to do and just do it. There are some skills like editing and lighting that get polished the more you do it so keeping that in mind, whatever makes me ‘feel’ something; anything, I will try to add my own flavour to and just do.

Q Sri Lanka is still relatively new to the concept of social media influencers. What do you think are the biggest misconceptions that are out there within the Sri Lankan community about influencers?
Perhaps the idea that doing this, makes any of us (content creators) something more or something less. In that, the notion of having a following makes you impervious to ‘shade’ or ‘hate’. That there’s a certain level of perfection and cultural obedience expected and failing to meet these arbitrary guidelines makes you anything less than human and you are judged for it.

Q What is the most fulfilling thing you’ve learned about creating content and being an online personality?
The most fulfilling aspect of content creation is knowing that I get paid to do what I love doing. That I wake up each day and I can’t wait to get to work. As for the online personality part, the fact that I get to connect with so many people and maybe be the reason that, after a long hard day of work, driving through irritating traffic, finally coming back home to some other irksome complications, that for 15 seconds, I can help them forget about all that and make them smile or laugh. THAT, to me, is everything.

Q You’ve shared snippets of your life online. How do you deal with keeping your personal life private from the public?
While I do wholeheartedly believe that sharing and talking about problems on a larger platform helps wipe off the stains of the stigma away, my Uncle Mangala taught me that work should be left at work and not brought back home. So whatever I do consider intimate, I might share a sliver on social media but beyond that, is just mine to know.

Q What do you want your followers/audience to take away from watching your content?
One is that life is whatever YOU want it to be. Two is despite all the hype that I’m just a random, normal guy and the most important one simply being, if I can do this, you can too.

Q You are also a fashion model? How different is it from being a social media influencer?
So as it is now, the fashion world and social media are becoming the perfect arranged marriage in that, they are finding they have similar tastes in music and style and presentation and even food. So as their love child and being avidly interested in all the above, it’s not that different from what I generally do.

Q Other than being a content creator, what are some of your other passions?
There are a few things I want to be known for but my next target is being a well-known musician. It was a passion and a form of catharsis that is blooming into something bigger and I love it. Hopefully, by December, I should be out there.

Q Which social media platform do you prefer?
For its versatility, I’d say Tik Tok for now.

Q Any tips for becoming a social media influencer?
Honestly, just find something you like doing and do that. Record it. Post it. Get better at it. Post that. Pretty soon people with similar interests and tastes will know who you are and love you for it and that’s pretty much all there is to it.

Q Lastly, what piece of advice would you give to aspiring social media influencers?
If you love what you’re doing and you’re doing it for you, don’t ever stop. People will come and go and take their sayings with them. You keep going.

 

Tesara

Tesara Iddamalgoda is at the forefront of the influencer sphere in Sri Lanka. Considered an icon of positivity in the Sri Lankan community, she remains true to herself while being an Influencer on social media. She talks to us about the challenges of being an Influencer and her coping mechanisms, giving us a peek into the dark side of being a social media Influencer.


Q How did you start the journey of being a social media Influencer?
I would not call myself an Influencer, I’d rather say creator. There’s really nothing special about this sadly, but by nature, I’m an over-sharer and I’ve always been, so when I was allowed to have a public social media account after school, I posted a lot, and it just kind of happened. I was also very carefree so posting consistently and being transparent on social media kind of came naturally to me. Even though I didn’t do it with the intention of growing, that’s pretty much what you can do to attract an audience.

Q Sri Lanka is still relatively new to the concept of social media influencers. What do you think are the biggest misconceptions that are out there within the Sri Lankan community about Influencers?
The conception is that Influencers are meant to be influential, extraordinary, or faultless. I would not want anyone to be influenced by my actions because I’m still figuring things out too, so I’d say there’s a lot of misconception around the term “Influencer.” Influencers just share their lives, whether ordinary or extravagant, or interesting, it’s just another form of content for entertainment.

Q What is the most fulfilling thing you’ve learned about creating content and being an online personality?
The amazing personalities I meet online. I wouldn’t say ‘followers’, they are my friends. Also, a lot of the other creators I know are such amazing people, and so deserving of their platform, I’m grateful to have got to know them.

Q You’ve shared snippets of your life online. How do you deal with keeping your personal life private from the public?
I try to be real online. So I’ll just open my camera and say random stuff and post it on my stories. If you think about it really, there’s only so much you can tell people about you in 15 seconds or in a picture. I do love that I get to be real, but I also know there is so much more to me than what my followers see, which they will never know. I chose what details I share, and because of that control, I am not really scared, only because it’s such a small fraction of who I am.

Q Social media has been a vital tool in getting across messages such as awareness on mental health and body positivity. What kind of a role do you think Influencers play in making such topics impactful on their audience?
A pretty big role I’d say. If all the Influencers got their nails done, everybody would feel like getting their nails done. Recently, I found myself booking a hair appointment, and even though I already had plans to do so, I realized later I pushed those plans up, all because of 3 Influencers I follow. Similarly, if we share life for how it really is, mental health struggles, real body image and all, it’ll all seem much more normal.

Q Other than Instagram, you are also very popular on platforms such as Tik Tok. Which media platform do you prefer to post content on and why?
Tik Tok, a 1000%. Only because people post their best lives and snippets of the special parts of their day on Instagram which is not ideal because you will naturally keep comparing yourself or your day to that. With Tik Tok, you see what you interact with. If you like workout videos, dances, cooking videos, self-improvement tips, or comedy, that will be your entire For You page. It’s so much information, and entertainment curated just for me. If you’re trying to understand your anxiety, and you keep sharing and saving videos that help, you will see more videos that are similar, and less about what your friend is doing, like on Instagram.

Q Preserving their mental health is one of the biggest challenges Influencers face. What are some of the methods you have incorporated into making sure that your mental health is protected?
I get off my phone, cook, work out and spend time with friends. When someone makes a hurtful remark, I address it and I think about how to take it as criticism if it’s true, and if it’s an untrue assumption (which is often the case), I remind myself, it’s NOT true, and that whoever commented it is probably lashing out at me because they themselves are struggling in some way.

Q What are some of the other challenges you have faced during your journey of being an influencer?
I always say that by the end of this I will either be my strongest self or depressed. I don’t think it’s healthy to have to interact with this many people a day. If you think about the unpleasant, mean things people have said to you per week, you could typically count them right. With being an Influencer people will get on their phones and project what they are feeling on people they see online, and we have to deal with the hurt. When you lash out at your sibling or a significant other because you’re feeling some type of way, at least that’s a part of your relationship and there are repercussions to your actions. We have to deal with hate from strangers all by ourselves, and too many I’d say.

Q What is next for you?
I just graduated in Finance and Management, so hopefully, I can figure out what I want to do and get a job soon.

Q Lastly, what piece of advice would you give to aspiring social media influencers?
Be yourself, and be true to yourself, despite what anyone else says or thinks. Not everything will be received how you meant it, and that’s okay. 

 

By Tiranya Ranasinghe

 



0 Comments

Post your comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Instagram