By Áine Kenny
Brianna Barry is a 21-year-old Limerick girl taking the blogosphere by storm. Brianna focuses on travel, beauty and body positivity on her blog. SIN caught up with Brianna to talk about the highs and lows of blogging, starting your own business, and the pressure social media puts on young people.
“I first got into blogging by reading other people’s blogs! I loved Suzanne Jackson’s and Faces By Grace’s blogs and reading their posts. I have always loved reading other people’s blog posts and gaining insight into their thoughts and life,” Brianna says.
“I then began writing about my own personal experiences and opinions and saving them in my notes on my phone. I mainly wrote on topics I felt strongly about or was interested in, but had no one to talk to about. I started my blog then just as a way to express those thoughts and have them in one place.”
Brianna says there are many good things about blogging. “I feel so comfortable and confident being myself as I have put myself out there so much, now I just think ‘oh well, be yourself and own it’. I have made some lifelong friends through social media who have similar interests.”
The beauty blogger also says she is quite open on her social media accounts. “I have shared some of my best and worst days on social media with people, and the response you get is crazy. There are a lot of amazing, supportive, positive, funny people out in the world.”
“I’ve gotten to go to events and talked to people that inspired me to start blogging and I never could have dreamed of being at that stage in less than a year of blogging. Being recognised in public in my hometown especially on nights out is mad but I love it.”
“The best thing though would have to be knowing that I’ve actually helped someone feel better about themselves by something I posted,” she reveals.
However, there are some negative aspects of the digital world. “Sometimes you do feel pressured to be perfect when you see so much of perfection on your feed. Also, [there is] pressure to post to stay relevant. The pressure associated with it is the worst, but I try not to overthink those things and just do things as they come naturally,” Brianna says.
Bloggers often come under a lot of scrutiny for being too image focused, and promoting products such as weight loss tea and appetite suppressant lollipops. Brianna says this is more of problem with modern society than bloggers themselves.
“I do believe society today, especially among young people who are active users of social media, are way too image focused. It really makes me sad when I think about it, because a large portion of people’s time in the day is spent on their phone, taking in all sorts of images that distract them from real life, their surroundings and what is right in front of them.”
“It also greatly impacts people’s self esteem and mental health as it sets unrealistic standards of how people should look, act and live. I don’t think bloggers help to promote this though, I feel like bloggers are often all painted with the same brush of wanting to promote weight loss tea, teeth whitening strips or tan,” she says.
“I think when people on social media or influencers are followed by thousands of people for being young, good-looking, rich or famous, people idolise that and then become image focused because they want that life or are jealous of something in that person’s lifestyle.”
“It’s like being one of those Instagram models is the modern day version of ‘The Hollywood Star’. Not every blogger is the same, but with the masses following and tuning in to the aesthetic influencers’ lifestyle pages, filled with materialistic things or tanned muscular bodies and no real life content, it is easy to follow the herd and become image focused.”
Brianna says this is why it is “super important” to promote body positivity. “Photos are easily edited and photoshopped nowadays and people believe that because that body type in magazines, fashion shows and clothing ads is everywhere, that they should look like the ads do.”
“I believe everyone is different and we should all embrace our individuality as a person and also embrace the body we have. We should all feel comfortable in our own skin and not ashamed of our bodies because of societal opinions and social media standards,” the Limerick native says.
Brianna also highlights how it can be tough to have good mental health nowadays. “I think it can be difficult if you don’t know what may trigger you. Some people become too consumed in social media and that can definitely impact your mental health.”
“I personally unfollow or mute notifications from anyone I think affects me negatively or doesn’t bring inspiration or a smile to my face. I think the way to best manage your social media for good mental health is to only follow people who make you laugh, or inspire, educate or better your life in some way,” she advises.
Brianna also has her own beauty business, where she does makeup, and provides nails and eyelash extensions. She says the challenges that came with getting a small business up and running were tough.
“Not going to lie, it was so difficult at the start. I was naive about how much work you actually have to put into running a business and all of the associated costs. Especially because I never did business in school or anything remotely business like,” she admits.
“Now though I’m very much aware of the effort it takes. If anything, it has made me more motivated to expand the business bit by bit, starting off with learning all the skills I can use within the beauty industry.”