Do you find the role of the influencer has evolved and in what ways?
Chrissy: I think there’s so many different types of influencers, but COVID and now the resurgence of BLM has really highlighted the need for influencers who are able to speak with sensitivity, empathy, and ones with real integrity. I think those are the influencers who will have real longevity.
Danielle: Yes and no. The entire economy is really dependent upon influencers and so it has evolved in the sense that they are an indispensable commodity, but they seem to constantly be alluding any kind of real responsibility. If I say the phrase "influencer apology video," you know exactly what that is. In any other industry, the things that people have gotten away with doing or saying would be a fireable offense. There is no system of checks and balances in place for influencers. The influencer paradox is really complicated but overall, I think our culture's tendency to hero worship is really problematic.
A couple years ago you wrote about giving up Instagram for Lent. How has your relationship with the platform changed since then?
Danielle: I really took stock of what I was giving attention to. I unfollowed anyone who edits their body in photos and just has an overall tone-deaf image. It was incredibly liberating. I now have a 15-minute daily limit to IG and most days I stick to it. It feels healthier.
You mentioned “Keeping up a charade of aspirational authenticity started to feel suffocating” in regards to responding to your followers and presenting yourself on the app as open and honest – In what ways have your feelings around this changed or stayed the same?
Danielle: When you have followers, people in a lot of ways, feel like they own a big piece of you. They have increased access to you and it's 24/7. This also invites people to place their opinions, judgments, hopes, and aspirations on you and it can be draining. I can only be me and do so much. Chrissy for example answers a lot of her DMs. I do not have the energy to do that and talk with strangers like that. I am trying to get better at it because I do really want to engage with people, but it's a lot. I am so grateful that people follow me and like what I say, but sometimes, if they are looking for help, I think the best thing to do would be to seek it professionally. I think everyone needs the space not to be perfect but I also think that as someone with "influence," there is an expectation that you will do more good than harm so I try my best to do that.
In light of COVID and not being able to see as many people in person, do you find the app can serve to connect people, or is there still pressure to perform? How is that balanced?
Danielle: Haha no I don't! I am a natural extrovert, and I miss people often. I miss the energy I get from interacting with people but how I am on social media is not a performance. It's not all of me, but it is a real version of me.
Chrissy: Ultimately social media is about connecting with others, and I use it a lot to stay in touch with friends, make new connections, and get inspiration. I think in the beginning of COVID I felt that there was a pressure to be creating more content because you're at home and what else is there to do? But I just didn't feel like actually putting on real clothes. It wasn't until I moved back to my parents’ house at the end of April that I started to enjoy getting dressed again and creating content. It's still a bit hard though because of everything going on in the world—and I want to be thoughtful about the content I'm creating. I don't want to just throw a post up for the sake of posting.
What does taking care of yourself mean to you and how does it impact your mental health advocacy?
Chrissy: It means being in tune with my body and emotions, listening to what I really need—whether that’s rest, to get my thoughts down in my journal, deep breaths, comforting food, a relaxing bath, or music that can transform my mood. Self-care has been a necessity for me since I had my first panic attack as a teenager, this was long before "self-care" was the trend. I want others to see and understand that we should be invested in our pleasure and doing things that bring us peace and comfort.
Do you have any pets?
Danielle: Yes, we have a family dog named Harry Potter.
If you could star in any movie/show, which one would it be?
Who is your favorite author?
Danielle: I think that first answer might reveal who, but in light of recent events, I will have to say something different. Many books by many different authors have had a profound effect on the way I think and express myself. Some of my favorite authors are Hanya Yanagihara, Tayari Jones, Jade Sharma, Lindy West, Kiese Laymon.
Chrissy: Alain de Botton
The best thing about NYC?
Danielle: Not needing a car.
What’s the best thing you found shopping vintage?
Danielle: I got some amazing dresses shopping vintage in Arizona two years ago. One has a very southwestern motif and is labelless. The other gives me Megan Draper vibes. I also got my senior prom dress shopping vintage.
Chrissy: Christian Dior suit, still had the tags on it!
What’s your favorite podcast right now?
Chrissy: Ask a Matchmaker
What are you bingeing right now?
Danielle: Indian Matchmaking on Netflix
Chrissy: Moesha on Netflix