Southern California is a hot spot for modern professions within the tech and entertainment industries. One of the most sought-after jobs in both industries is known by many names: “Social media influencer,” “Digital creator” and “Online personality.”
All those titles describe Miceylene Delgado of Wildomar and Mariah Leeanne of Lake Elsinore.
Mariah Leeanne has put her life and perspective in front of the camera on YouTube since 2013. Women between the ages of 25 and 34 make up a majority of her 41,000 subscribers who come for her beauty and motherhood videos.
“I started doing hair tutorials and makeup videos,” Leeanne said. “It changed when I got pregnant with Jayden.”
Her daughter Jayden is now 3 years old and is a fan favorite on her mother’s channel.
The YouTube personality’s most popular upload, with almost 700,000 views, is her 2018 “TODDLER FOOD IDEAS” video, where Jayden taste tests different homemade recipes for her mother.
Though Leeanne said the motherhood content has been a pleasant change, it hasn’t completely taken over her YouTube channel content.
Her second most popular video with almost half a million views is entitled “INSTAGRAM CURLY HAIRSTYLES,” which teaches viewers how to style natural spiral curls.
“Forty percent of my subscribers are women of color with curly hair (watching) for my hair videos,” she said.
Leeanne said despite her success, she has faced some adversity navigating life as a single mother.
“There were times I felt like I’d never find anybody. I feel like that was the challenging part. I could have been alone, raising a child,” she said.
With the help of her family and her boyfriend, however, Leeanne said she is optimistic about her future as a mother and a content creator.
“I’m taking it day by day, but I’m working on my brand.” Leeanne said.
While working to producing more consistent content on YouTube, she said she also hopes to immerse herself in her blog where she’ll post recipes, product recommendations and personal perspectives.
Leeanne can be found on YouTube, Instagram @_mariahleeanne and http://mariahleeanneblog.com.
Another social media influencer Mickylene Delgado got her start on Instagram @mickeylene_.
“It was just for fun and to share my creativity on a platform.” Delgado said.
Her colorful hair and stylish outfits caught the attention of over 65,000 followers.
Delgado’s following has grown gradually, and she once worked with several fast fashion brands.
“I did some big projects with some companies that helped me, but it eventually slowed down once I changed my perspective about fast fashion,” she said.
Brands often sent Delgado free clothes to show off to her audience, she said. Over time, however, she decided to look into the brands she was working with.
“I wanted to find out if what I’m doing is even sustainable.” Delgado said. “I’m just collecting all these clothes, and it seemed like a waste.”
Delgado said she discovered that some of the brands she worked with didn’t align with her personal ethics, she decided to make a change about the brands she was willing to represent.
“Making less of a carbon footprint would be ideal. I like brands that are fair trade or use materials that are organic cotton, hemp or recycled,” she said.
Delgado said she has since found many different ways to attain sustainable items aside from brand collaborations.
Thrift stores and online shops such as Depop and Poshmark are where she finds a majority of her clothing, she said.
“You’re getting an item that is really unique. It’s vintage; it’s special to you and it’s good for the environment,” Delgado said.
She said she believes that when it comes to the clothes someone wears, finding a piece that is comfortable to wear is what’s most important.
“If the person enjoys what they wear, it makes them fashionable,” Delgado said. “I wear things that make me happy.”
Although changing her own brand to make these environmentally conscious assertions across her social media platforms, Delgado said she doesn’t see herself as an influencer.
“I wouldn’t say that I am (an influencer). I’m still learning and noticing these mistakes that I could be doing. It’s a journey for me,” she said.
She hoped that in the future her platform would inspire people to consider the brands they’re using, wearing and promoting and work to to create a greener, more sustainable market.
Delgado can be found on YouTube, Instagram @mickylene_ and Depop @athousandchapters.
Jeremiah Tatola can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.