Influencer Culture

Nov 22 2021.

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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 such as the United Nations, 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 Tiktok, creating new trends and changing the world of marketing.


Tackling both her Law degree and modelling, Senuri Rupasinghe is an all-rounder in the influencer world. She talks to us about how influencers are more susceptible to scrutiny as there are multiple misconceptions held by the Sri Lankan community about influencers. Maintaining an optimistic view, she also presents a guide to dealing with public attention.

Q How did you start the journey of being an influencer on social media platforms?
I began my content creation journey this year. As a normal follower once upon a time, I used to follow a handful of influencers who are now well known. What caused me to enter this side of the field was the way that I came across specific content of certain bloggers who gave biased reviews and I had to go through genuinely terrible food encounters due to aimlessly trusting in specific content.

Q How has social media impacted your life?
It’s another branch in my life now and to realize that there are individuals out there who are getting encouraged, motivated by you, and really looking up to you. Once in a while, it feels overwhelming and furthermore an obligation on occasion.

Q Tell us a bit about the process of creating content.
From my angle, I keep my content creation as unbiased as possible, regardless of a paid promotion or not I have specific set standards when working with a company or a small business. Content creation sets aside time from my end as I give my 100% with regard to reliable information with a blend of creativity. Additionally, it’s important that I must work with brands that I can relate to and don’t need to fabricate any factors about the product/brand.

Q What is your favourite aspect of being an influencer?
The audience!! 90% of my followers are absolutely amazing, there are no words to express how loving and supporting these humans are.

Q Sri Lanka is still quite 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?
From my point of view, some of the misconceptions are ‘The bigger the influencer audience, the better the influencer.’ This isn’t really accurate as certain products require niche communities and skills in a specific field. Brands should focus on important matches that convey inventive and consistent content. This will better empower them to impact their crowds, instead of aimlessly settling on the influencers with the most followers which will promote biased ideologies. Influencer marketing is only for millennial and Gen Z crowds. Influencers only care about money above all else - bitter to hear but highly inaccurate. Yes, it is true for some influencers, this field has become their monthly bread and butter but this marketing aspect is far more than promotions and collaborations. Influencers are much closer to their audience and also play a major role especially for the uplifting of local small businesses among many other things.

Q You’ve shared snippets of your life online. How do you deal with keeping your personal life private from the public?
Keeping your personal life hidden isn’t simple. It’s complimenting that my audience really cares how I do my days and when I will make our next career or relationship move. Yet that also carries me to a place that zeroes my privacy. Regardless of whether you think things you say or do will just remain in a close circle, with regards to online media best is “Not to over-share.”

“Know your limits" - I always determine the things about my life that I’m willing to share with others. As long as you set the foundation, you will not feel fooled into accidentally giving up information about yourself than you initially planned. You don’t have to tell everybody each little detail that you do, save a “few mysteries for yourself”. It feels ideal to know things that others don’t, particularly my private life when it comes to family, close-knitted friends, loved ones, etc.

Q What are some of the challenges you have faced during your journey of being an influencer?
The constant change of the Instagram algorithm right when I started off was an absolute challenge as the importance of liking content was no more. Understanding my audience and the correct timing to post content while building a relationship with the individuals took a lot of patience.

Q You are also a Law undergraduate. Tell us a bit about what that’s like and how you balance between your work in Law and being an influencer?
I’m a 4th-year Law undergraduate at present and I am in my last semester. It is sure to be intense as I already began working in the field of law apart from the degree this year. However, I have been in the fashion industry working as a model since 2018 while pursuing my degree, hence using time effectively has been something I was sharp about. I guess, holding my two professions within proper limits truly assisted me with creating time to turn into a content creator as well in 2021.

Q Lastly, what piece of advice would you give to aspiring social media influencers?
Be authentic, true to yourself and your audience while being a decent human being. Do not go with the swaying trends just because the majority do, as trends tend to fall every season and you will shift back to square one.



Q How did you start the journey of being an influencer on social media platforms?
I was originally on the app called ‘’ but rejoined it (now known as Tik Tok) when the first lockdown happened in March 2019. I never expected to gather a following as I have now. I just had fun learning and posting popular dances on the app and it just took off from there!

Q How has social media impacted your life?
Being active on social media has definitely encouraged me to be more outgoing and confident in myself. I’m actually a pretty shy person, but being on social media has enabled me to engage more with others, be it with my followers or other creators. Social media has also opened up other opportunities to me like modelling for many well-known brands.

Q Tell us a bit about the process of creating content.
There is a fair amount of effort that goes on behind the scenes of making content and it really depends on the type of video I want to put out. I try to come up with content that is creative and unique, especially if it’s a very popular trend that many people worldwide follow. Some videos require choreography which I learn just by watching a few times over. Longer or more complicated choreography takes more time and a few more tries to get right. If it's fashion content, it takes longer to make the videos because I want to make sure my transitions from one clip to the other are as smooth as possible. Changing outfits and reshooting can take up a lot of time! Not to mention the editing that takes place afterward, but I really enjoy the whole process and don’t even realise how much time it actually takes!

Q Sri Lanka is still quite 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?
There are so many misconceptions about social media influencers and a big one is that they have super perfect and extraordinary lives and have everything figured out. We are all constantly growing and learning and we all make mistakes. I do not post content for any reason other than it makes me happy and can hopefully put a smile on someone else’s face too. I share parts of my life, some things people will relate to and find normal, other things they won’t which is only natural!

Q You’ve shared snippets of your life online. How do you deal with keeping your personal life private from the public?
It is super important to me to keep a healthy balance between my personal and public life. Currently, Tik Tok is the only social media platform on which I have a public account for this reason. It’s actually not very difficult to separate between public and personal life because I get to decide what I do and do not want to share with people and with whom I want to share it.

Q What do you want your followers/audience to take away from watching your content?
I want people to enjoy my content and hope it encourages them to share their passions and positive vibes. With everything going on in the world right now it’s important to remind ourselves to do things to make ourselves happy and if it’s possible to do the same for others, do it!

Q Other than being a content creator, what are some of your other passions?
Apart from dancing, I love baking! I’ve been learning how to bake with my mum since I was very young and I find the whole process of taking simple ingredients and turning them into something both yummy and pretty, super therapeutic. I’ve also recently been learning how to cook and I feel like I enjoy it more and more each time! I also love spending time with my family, friends, and two dogs!

Q Any tips for getting popular on tik tok?
Make content that you enjoy creating! The more passionate you are about what you’re making, the better the quality and content of your videos will be. The way you feel when making your content is usually pretty easy for your audience to see and can affect how they receive it too. Viewers really engage when your content is also relatable to them, so being as authentic as possible is super important!

Q What is next for you?
I’m currently coming to the end of my first year studying Psychology at the University of Melbourne. Unfortunately, because the borders were shut due to COVID I couldn’t go there to study this year but hopefully will be able to next semester! My plan right now is to finish my Bachelor’s degree and then complete my Masters to qualify as a Clinical Psychologist.

Q Lastly, what piece of advice would you give to aspiring social media influencers?
Never get discouraged! Don’t give up if your content sometimes doesn’t do as well as you hoped it would, especially if you put in a lot of effort. Make sure whatever you do truly makes you happy because, at the end of the day, it’s impossible to please everyone. What really matters is that you stay happy and true to yourself and remember why you started in the first place! 

by Tiranya Ranasinghe


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