Ever wondered what influencers do all day? Every week we're going to be chatting to famous social media influencers to find out exactly what they do on an average day.
This week we spoke to the gorgeous Anna Vakili and she definitely spilled the tea. From the apps she uses to edit her photos to taking 600 pictures to get that Insta worthy snap...
Name: Anna Vakili
Age: 30 years old
Social media platforms: Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter
Anna Vakili reveals how she blew up on social media
You might know Anna from Love Island in 2019 but it turns out she kind of already had a massive following before her time in the villa.
"Before Love Island I would just go out on the weekends and take pictures and it kind of became just a natural thing," she explained.
However things changed during one night out and she managed to bag thousands of followers.
"I did end up being seen with an Iranian footballer and I suddenly got 30,000 followers just from that. It was crazy. So I was like [at] around 40k.
"Basically their fans kind of clocked that we were together because of the background of a photo or something like that. And then it just suddenly hit the Iranian news and then from there overnight I got 30k followers".
Of course, things really changed when she left Love Island - in fact, Anna admitted, "it’s like a whole other ball-game".
Luckily for Anna she admitted "I always naturally had it in me to do it" and it turns out even before she went onto the ITV2 show she would be "in the pharmacy taking pictures".
"Even being able to have built what I did while working six days a week, I've always been really into fashion, really glam... I've always been a bit of a show off," she joked.
"So you know, it kind of came naturally to me as well."
Anna Vakili reveals what she does on a day to day basis
If you've ever spent ages trying to get the perfect Instagram snap, then Anna can 100% relate because it's literally her job.
And she's been totally honest because when she first started her new social media job full-time she "wasn't the best influencer" - her words, not ours.
"I'd wake up late, I wouldn't do much good content because I wasn't used to it because I was used to my old job [as a pharmacist].
"I feel like as time goes, you start to learn the whole influencing world and really you do need to - especially in the winter - be up early and do whatever you need to do so that you can start getting ready for content.
"You've always got a battle against the light in the winter because it goes around 3pm. So you have to get it before then but now that the sun's out until later it's a bit easier," she explained.
And it's not just the timing of taking your pictures but also the actual photo itself.
"You've got to mix it up, you've got to plan content but at the same time it has to be very natural as well, because you can't just, every time you go out for dinner, take a picture. You have to plan.
"And then at the same time, a lot of natural content. So I like to mix," she added.
"Instagram's not even a fun thing anymore"
Although living your best life on social media may look like the dream job, it turns out for Anna it's actually difficult to 'switch off'.
"Oh my God, sometimes it's ridiculous. If you look at my screen time, it'll be like six hours. It's crazy.
"If I'm with anyone that doesn't get it they're like, 'Do you ever get sick of Instagram', I'm like, 'You don't even understand, Instagram's not even like a fun thing anymore'. For me, Instagram is work."
FYI 'work' on Instagram isn't just uploading INCRED pictures but Anna has said it also means "supporting other girls" on the 'gram by liking and commenting on their pictures too.
As for the advantages of being an influencer?
"I love getting glammed up, I love taking pictures, so it's something that I can enjoy doing. My work is fun, I love it.
"You get to go to events, meet other influences, get clothes gifted. If you love clothes, if you love make-up, you get all these things gifted. If you like fame – I don't really like the fame part – but if you like fame, then people know you when you go out and I mean, the money is good.
"I can't be beat around the bush, the money's good."
She also said that if you ever need help with something (she had a fly in her house and asked her followers for advice), then you've got lots of people who can give your advice.
"They're always down to help me and you help them, it's just a really nice relationship that you build with your followers."
So, how much money do influencers make?
Let's be honest, influencing sounds like the dream job. Taking pictures? Most of us already do that. Going to boujee restaurants? We do try (although we need to save).
One thing about influencing that we've always wondered is - how much do they actually get paid?
Before going on Love Island, Anna went to university, did a masters and was a pharmacist.
Despite her years of studying it turns out that being a social media influencer has earned her more money than her old job.
"It is the sad truth that going on Love Island, I'm able to make more money now than I did as a pharmacist.
"It's sad that you study for five years, study your arse off, you also get a master's and you don't even get paid, like even half that amount you'd get paid as an influencer, like as an influencer with my amount of following. I'm not going to speak for everyone but it is the truth."
Anna previously revealed that she was earning so much that her mum was able to retire but now she's clarified exactly what she meant.
"I really wasn't bragging, I was just trying to say I'm so happy and grateful that my mum, she's old you know, she's 65 and she has lots of conditions.
"And that's probably one of the biggest blessings for me is to be able to help my family and now that she doesn't have to come back from work every day and I have to see her like in that state is the best thing that happened."
We, of course, had to ask her about the most amount of money she's heard influencers get paid for content and she admitted, "Not me, but I know of people that can get paid like 20k for a few photos or for like two photos… I’ve heard.
"But that’s not me, not yet. Maybe one day," she joked.
Want to become an influencer? Anna Vakili gives her tips
"Honestly, me and my sister [Mandi] are probably not the best [to give advice] because we are very lazy," she begins.
Kind of obsessed with her honesty, tbh.
"But I think if you want to be a good influencer, you need to at least have five days a week where you just plan content.
"You know, if me and my sister were more on the game with our YouTube, our Instagram, we would be so much more successful, but we're just very lazy. So we're not the best people to compare to," Anna admitted.
Now one thing you might have learnt from TikTok or Instagram is that some influencers actually take a suitcase of clothes up to London for their 'content days' so they can get all their pictures in one day.
However Anna isn't keen on that idea, "I feel like you can tell [when influencers do that].
"It's nice to have different hairstyles, different makeup. I mean, it has to feel natural as well."
"I have seen some influencers take like 600 photos for one photo"
One things we've always wondered is how many pictures does it take to get that Insta worthy snap; luckily, Anna has been very open and honest about her pics.
"I thought I was bad. Then I've spoken to my other influencer friends, and now I feel like I'm not that bad.
"I will take about probably 80 pictures to get a great one and that isn't that much when you think about it.
"[Whereas] my sister Mandi, she's really good. She'll probably take 10-20 and look at them. And if she's got the one she doesn't even bother continuing, whereas I'll still try and see if I might get a better one."
Now 80 pictures might sound like a lot but for Anna, who is friends with other influencers, she's found out that just shy of 100 pictures doesn't even hit the dent for some people.
"Oh my God I have seen some influencers take like 600 photos for one photo. I'm not even joking."
She even went on to reveal that one of her friends (who she wouldn't name) spends two hours per outfit, trying to get the right photo.
Anna reveals how to make your Instagram stand out
As we know, Anna had a following before her Love Island stint and even though she's said every year "it's even harder to break into the influencing market", she still shared her Instagram tips.
"I'd say try and find something different, to stand out. If there's something about you that you know is different, bring that into your Instagram and mix it up on there.
"And stay consistent with posting. If you're starting out, it's always good to post every single day. If you're already an influencer you shouldn't really post every day."
She added, "If you've got people that you know support other girls because other girls and guys will support you."
Now for the disadvantages of influencing...
With all jobs there's pros and cons and on social media it can look like influencers are living their best lives but that's not always the case.
In fact Anna admitted, "The disadvantages are you can't basically do whatever the f--k you want to do. You always have to think before you do something.
"Also people have a judgment of you without really knowing you, because no matter how much you're on Instagram or TV, no one really ever knows you until they're your friend, acquaintance or spends actual time with you. "
She added, "You have to always be prepared for the trolling, negative comments, people always having an opinion. You just have to have a thick skin."
"Sometimes you feel like shit, because you feel like you're not good enough"
When we asked if influencing is harder than it looks, Anna admitted, "one million per cent.
"Like taking a photo, there’s planning, there's pressure, sometimes you feel like shit, because you feel like you're not good enough.
"There's so many different types of pressures that come with it. I mean, the way you start looking at your physical appearance, when your physical appearance becomes your job, you start analysing every little bit about you."
She continued, "The whole joy of Instagram, the way it was before for me, is gone. Instagram is work now.
"Whenever anything becomes work, it kind of becomes a bit more of a pressure, because you're constantly thinking about the next month, the year after, because with influencing, it's never set in stone.
"A year from now you don't know if you're going to be making this or a year from now if you're going to be getting these deals.
"These deals come in on a monthly, two monthly, maybe three monthly if you're lucky, basis. So you're constantly always going to have that worry, you're constantly going to be looking at other people and thinking, 'Oh, do I need to do this?'.
"It's a lot of pressure. And I never realised how much pressure would come with it."
Luckily, Anna has her family who is "so supportive" and that obviously includes her sister Mandi who "is probably the first sibling of a Love Islander that's managed to f--king make it.
"But that's how we roll," Anna added.
During her time in the villa some of her fellow Islanders began discussing management but Anna was unaware of that side of the business before going onto the show.
When she was dumped from the island she received messages from management companies and ITV gave her a list of managers too. During her first year post-Love Island she signed with one management company but after her contract ended she decided to cut ties with them.
"I am classy but at the same time, there's times when I'm ratchet as f--k and I need someone that will embrace the ratchet side of me and I feel like my new management do that.
"I'm just I'm so happy now. I was so scared to leave. That's one thing when you're an influencer, you can get so scared to leave management because you feel like, 'Oh my God, it's the end of the world', But you know what, I took that risk, and it was the best thing I've done."
When should you sign with management?
Well, Anna signed with one company after leaving the villa but her sister Mandi who also found fame from the show didn't have management for quite some time.
"If you don’t have management, you have to go through all your emails yourself and negotiate with companies yourself. So you have to be good at negotiating rates and stuff like that, but it’s a lot more time consuming.
"But then you don't have to pay a percentage to your management. If so, it just depends what works best," Anna added.
The future for Anna Vakili
In February 2021, Anna shared a photo of herself working in a pharmacy (during lockdown she returned to her former job) and a picture of herself in a bikini.
The Love Island star admitted that he aims to continue to show all areas of her life because "it's so important" to her.
"I used to suffer from that kind of stigma when I was in the pharmacy because I used to party and take the photos and then I'd be in the pharmacy and people would be like, 'That's not professional, you're meant to be a pharmacist. You can't be going out doing this. You can't be taking pictures with your boobs out'.
"I was like, 'You know what, f--ck you. Let me do whatever the f—k I want. It doesn't affect the way I am at work, it doesn't affect my knowledge. So why can't women be both?"
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And Anna also opened up about Instagram and admitted that she'd actually prefer to earn her money through property so that she can enjoy the social media app.
"My goal is to get on the property ladder in London, England. I would love to keep influencing but I would love it to be a bit less pressurised.
"There's a lot of pressure on me with my Instagram and I'm always thinking about what next, so I would love to be able to be making money elsewhere and use my Instagram as more fun, less pressurised environment for me and my followers.
"That's my aim in the future and to never take anything for granted again after this lockdown this last year. It's just I want to enjoy myself. And just have fun," she added.