You’ve seen this person on Instagram: a perfectly-styled shot of big, dry-shampooed hair parked at a cafe table sipping a foamy latte, while rocking a perfectly casual pair of joggers, strappy sandals, and a tank.
The caption is always something like, “Dirty hair, don’t care! Not every day can be styled. Some days it’s all about the dry shampoo, yo! I have to be true to myself, and this is the real me. #authentic #beyou #unstyled #sorrynotsorry #vsco” etc.
Here’s the thing: You might be someone who rocks days-old hair and drinks lattes and wears joggers, and that’s awesome. If that’s who you are, that is truly awesome!
Styling a shot to create that appearance is anything but authentic.
You might be someone who’s genuinely casual, or you might be someone who’s genuinely glammed-up. It doesn’t matter. What matters is calling something “authentic” when it’s a million percent styled.
Why does this matter?
It’s created a legion of gals who struggle to feel happy, comfortable, and confident because they look at these perfectly-curated images of “livin’ my life!” that are anything but. Honestly, who truly sits at the top of a cliff overlooking gorgeous surf in a tiny bikini and… works on their laptop? That image is so overdone and yet so wildly inauthentic.
Here’s the other thing: Posed images are fantastic. Truly. A perfectly-styled shot is ahhhhmazing. It keeps your feed on point. It solidifies your brand’s look and feel. It delivers your brand messaging.
It’s just… calling that “authenticity” undervalues content that is truly authentic.
Authenticity is about being true to you and being truthful in your messaging.
If you spend hours doing your hair and makeup, selecting an outfit, and styling a shot, then you spend more time at your computer editing the shot to perfection, you do a disservice to your audience and to yourself if you then slap up a caption that’s like “Just doin’ what I do all causal! Will fix those flyaways before I go out tonight–lol.”
Be proud of your hard work and focus on your message. That’s the only way to be truly authentic is a hyper-curated space. Do you, boo, but do it with integrity.