Vogue CS in English
Gili Biegun on Becoming an Influencer: With a Large Following Comes Great Responsibility
Kristýna Jandová21. 4. 2023
The life of an influencer may look like a fabulous dream: exotic countries, designer clothes, parties, and fun. That image is, however, a far cry from the reality. "Being an influencer and actually influencing other people's lives is a tough and demanding job of nonstop relevant content creation," says Gili Biegun, who started her Instagram account in 2011 and soon gained thousands of followers. What's her secret to this industry and what are her goals for this year?
Denim trousers and ‘’faux fur’’ denim coat, KSENIASCHNAIDER; Black bag, Virag Kerenyi, Sandals, Fendi.
Oversized denim trousers and denim jacket, Off-White (VIA LUISA VIA ROMA); cropped-top mint, Christopher Esber (VIA LUISA VIA ROMA); Bag, Boyy; Shoes, Jimmy Choo
Gili Biegun has a keen fashion sense that resonates with people all around the world. Instagram became a platform where she started to share her photography. "It's a platform that balances substance and visual aesthetics in a way that reflects my personal taste the most," she says. Shortly after leaving Tel Aviv and moving to Florence, she decided to establish JOY'S, an online fashion magazine, which she still runs.
A lot of people want to become an influencer now more than ever. Would you be able to share any secrets on how to "make it"?
These days people want to gain influencer status to get gifts, trips, fashion show invites, and pay checks. Only some people are interested in doing the hard work needed to get the rewards.
Before social media came into our lives, many of us wanted to be movie stars. Still, only a few wanted to do the work of an actor: going to auditions, taking acting classes, suffering through the long hours on set, losing or gaining weight for some parts, undergoing nonstop interviews, and so on.
Being an influencer and actually influencing other people's lives is a tough and demanding job of nonstop relevant content creation. My advice is to be honest with yourself and with your audience and explore creative ways to share your message.
What is the most positive and negative thing about this career?
I love being my own boss and having the freedom to own my own business. I am fortunate to be able to travel for work and meet incredible people from around the world, and create genuine friendships with extraordinary men and women who inspire my work daily.
In my line of work, the distinction between one’s personal life and professional life almost doesn’t exist. My co-workers are my friends, my home is my studio, and my clothes are my work uniform. It's challenging to detect who is truly a friend and who just wants to be close to me for personal gain. I always try to balance being professional while expressing my true feelings, being honest yet polite and respectful to my co-workers. People can confuse ‘’being fake’’ and being appropriate in the working space. In any case, I try to avoid this negativity.
With the changing landscape of social media, what are the risks that you face as an influencer?
Bag, Anna Loch; Oversized trousers, corset and jacket, Mugler (VIA LUISA VIA ROMA); Shoes, Jimmy Choo.
Being self-employed in an unregulated, unstable, and unforgiving industry is a considerable risk. As TikTok is being banned in Montana (US), I wonder if the rest of the country will follow suit, and if Italy will be the next country on the list.
I always do my best to remain relevant while balancing my true self and authenticity.
One of the biggest risks I took was film photography. A risk that has so far paid off, as 35-mm film has become extremely popular and highly requested by clients and followers.
Is social media a blessing or a curse?
Like everything in life, it's a little bit of both.
The knowledge to use social media to my advantage, the timing in which Instagram gained popularity, and the support I give and receive from my colleagues are a blessing.
That being said, I am so grateful that my teenage years were social media free, that I did not have to worry about embarrassing photos or mean tweets.
What are your 2023 goals as a social media influencer?
This year I am focusing on team building and interesting collaborations with other creators and emphasizing women’s empowerment through all my media outlets. I am researching new ways to express my creativity through street-style fashion and to combine social media and traditional media to reach a wider audience.
Dress, Missoni; Bag, Boyy; Shoes, Valentino.
Why is what you do important?
It's important to me to show the positive side of the fashion industry: even though some of my closest friends are technically my competitors, we have found a way to lift and strengthen one another. We are more valuable when we work together than apart, and this sisterhood vibe is an important message I want to influence others with.
With a large following comes great responsibility. Minimizing the fashion industry's impact on the environment is an important goal for me: I am focusing on promoting sustainability, teaching others to avoid buying fast-fashion, and encouraging my followers to purchase only high-quality clothes that they genuinely love.
What does your normal day look like?
The best thing about doing what I do is that I don’t really have a ‘’normal day’’. I mean, sure, some days I wake up, take my dog for a long morning walk, go to the gym, cook, clean my house, answer my emails, and go to sleep, but in some months of the year, usually during Fashion Week periods, I can have days of nonstop work, from the minute I wake up until the very late hours of the night.
These days include 5-6 outfit changes, hours in a car stuck in traffic between events, and not really eating much. When I do have a few minutes to spare, I use them to answer emails and edit and post photos and videos.
I do my best to balance everything and keep a clear head.
Denim trousers and jacket, Area (VIA LUISA VIA ROMA); shoes, Santoni.
What inspires you?
I take inspiration from my friends, colleagues, and people that surround me. I am very inspired by strong women who are successful in their fields, such as leading fashion editors, content creators with great stories to tell, as well as my 5-year-old niece, who has already developed a unique sense of style.
How would you describe your fashion style?
I avoid definitions that prevent me from wearing whatever I feel like, so I would never describe my style as minimal, preppy, street, business, and so on.
Off-camera, I am usually pretty casual but always wear one unique item. I try to keep only items I adore in my closet and to wear on my day-to-day, off-camera time only those clothes I feel comfortable in. I have a good denim collection with unique pieces from Margiela, Ksenia Schnaider, Y project, Sportmax, Agold, and others, which I usually pair with a white shirt and a blazer.
I usually mix big brands like Prada, Bottega Veneta and Valentino with unique designers like Virag Kerenyi, The Moire and MUNTHE, to keep my style unique.
When I work and go to events or have to style something special, I’ll definitely do something more feminine, daring, and sexy. But a white shirt almost always plays a part in what I wear.