Is ‘Influencer Privilege’ a Thing?

Lucy Fitz

Last Thursday was a huge day for the lives of many students across the UK and Ireland as they received their A Level and Leaving Cert results. I remember clearly the morning that I received my own results, now four years ago.

I was able to receive all of my final grades online and I remember waking up feeling nonplussed about finding out what I had gotten. At this point of the summer, I was in two minds about moving to Liverpool – somewhere I had never been before, and somewhere that would be very far away from all my friends and family. But I was leaving it in the hands of fate as my second choice on UCAS was Belfast, a lot closer to home.

I checked my results at around 8am and received the grades I expected (not what I should have received, but did due to minimal effort on my behalf and my mind being focused on everything else but exams that year) and just needed to get into my course at LJMU. All that mattered at the time was that I got into my chosen course, not that I hadn’t achieved all A’s and A*’s.

However, last Thursday, an Irish influencer’s results and pleas for help caused a bit of a fuss on Instagram and Twitter. Before Thursday, I had never actually heard of Lucy Fitz (@lucyyfitz) but was intrigued by a tweet that appeared on my Twitter timeline. The tweet can be seen below. I did a little investigating and understood where this tweeter was coming from, but also I could see the influencer’s side of things.

So, what happened?

Lucy Fitz, an Irish beauty influencer opened her Leaving Cert results live on Instagram. Whether that was her first mistake, only she knows the answer to that. Upon opening, she realised she didn’t get the results she had hoped for and soon after, she received the email to tell her that she wasn’t offered any of her ten choices for university or college.

Understandably, this is a difficult situation to be in, made even more so because she had shared the news with all 72,000 of her followers. After posting to her Instagram stories that she now had no option to go to university, she would now seek out a Marketing job to help fund her investment into her own influencer brand. However, all the Marketing jobs that seemed to exist around her home of Limerick needed a Marketing degree or years of experience – both of which she didn’t have.

And so, Lucy reached out to her followers for help. Did anyone know of a position suitable for her? Was there anyone watching that would be willing to give her a chance to gain some experience? After all, being an influencer would have some transferable Marketing skills, surely.

Only a few hours later, Lucy Fitz’s pleas were answered. Nathan Adams, owner of RMPR in Cork City who manages clients such as Ellie Kelly (another Irish beauty influencer) and Sinead Hegarty (an influencer I’ve referred to many times) took to his own Instagram stories to offer Lucy Fitz a job within his Marketing team at RMPR. How wonderful the world of social media can be, right?

The debate incited a question in my mind as to whether influencers have too much privilege. What about us normal people that just don’t happen to have thousands of followers? But then again, if you did have thousands of followers, wouldn’t you use this clout to your advantage?

The perks of being an influencer

If you were to go into a primary school today and ask the question, ‘What would you all like to be when you are older?’ instead of being met with answers like ‘fireman,’ ‘pop star,’ or ‘doctor,’ you are most likely to hear answers along the lines of ‘YouTuber,’ ‘Instagrammer,’ or even ‘famous on social media.’ Odd isn’t it? Especially to think that when I was asked this question over ten years ago (I wanted to be a pop star – obvs) none of these social media platforms existed.

But now it seems that the future generations are spending all of their time scrolling through social media feeds, watching YouTube videos and at a young age, starting their own social media careers in the hopes to acquire millions of followers and live a life of free clothes, free holidays and paid partnerships to promote products on their feed. Easy life, right?

The life of an influencer does appear very lucrative. I mean, wouldn’t you want to work for yourself, on your own hours, getting flown to luxurious destinations, staying in 5* hotels, travel the world, be gifted designer clothes, accessories and treatments? And what if I told you there were influencers living in mansions paid for by investors so that they had ample space to create content for YouTube? (Where did I leave that video camera again?)

So why even bother going to university or college when you can create your own life through social media instead? This appeared to be the thought process of Lucy Fitz who admitted on her Instagram stories that she wasn’t really bothered about going onto university or college, but once the option of actually going was taken away from her, she realised that maybe she should have cared a little more about her future in education.

Should Lucy Fitz have been offered the job?

Something I will commend Lucy for doing is posting the video of her opening her results live on camera. We are so used to seeing everyone’s good times and their highlights that we can become obsessed with everyone living their ‘best lives’ and how ours don’t compare. We’re always made to feel worse about ourselves when we log on to Instagram that it is refreshing to see something more ‘real’.

I’m sure everyone that was delighted with their results were first to post about their good fortune, but those who didn’t get what they wanted probably spent the day scrolling through their friends’ acceptance offers while they waited to hear back from Clearing or thinking about what to do next.

Lucy Fitz

To me, I could understand why people would be upset that Lucy was offered a job just like that. With no university degree, no experience working in an office or even within Marketing, I’m sure someone that was watching her Instagram stories probably did have a degree and was actively searching for a job themselves. Understandably, you would be a little angry too.

However, Lucy collaborated with the makeup brand Inglot to create her own eyeshadow palette which she worked on from start to finish, marketing the product until it sold out. That’s got to be some very hands-on experience, right? And what about her own events that she runs and promotes? And her Instagram and YouTube accounts that she manages and creates content for on a daily basis? There are so many skills that are being developed and learned in a very practical way that would transfer to a role in a Marketing team.

Should she have been offered the job by Nathan? Probably not in the way that it was done. Had Nathan ever met Lucy in person before? Was he offering a job to a girl who felt stuck in a corner and was making a rash decision to work in Marketing? And what about the CVs and emails that Nathan had in his inbox begging for a job from people that actually wanted to work for his agency? Was he just looking to promote himself and his business by doing a ‘good thing’?

What about the ‘normal’ folk?

The people that are up to their eyes in student loan debt because they spent four years at university getting a first class degree in Business or Marketing, working part-time jobs to get by at the same time and dedicating a lot of time to eventually following a career in their chosen field. What about them?

Why would they go through all of this when they could just take to their Instagram stories and ask for a job straight out of school? If only life was that easy.

For us ‘normal’ folk, those that don’t have thousands of followers on Instagram, we have to work a little harder, do things a little differently and maybe at times, take the longer route to our destination. But that’s ok. Hard work always pays off and think, would you want to give up all of those memories and friends you made from university to just walk into a full-time job straight out of school? I know I wouldn’t.

Life’s what you make it

Life isn’t fair, everyone knows that. Shit happens. An Irish influencer asked for a job and she got one. Why should that make us mad? Yes, I can see that it could appear unfair to those that have worked hard, but if you were in her position, you too would probably use your audience to your advantage. After all, we all know it’s more about who you know rather than what you know.

Maybe a while ago, something like this would have made me angry. But now, I just accept it and move on. What’s the use in getting heated up about somebody getting ahead a little easier? How would that benefit me in any way? Instead, I say fair play to her. She’s grown an audience of 72,000 people, has her own brand, has sold out an eyeshadow palette with Inglot and creates content for social media on a daily basis, all at 19 years of age.

The bad thing to come out of this is all the nasty comments that she has received online because of it. Lucy has been offered many Marketing positions since posting her videos, not just at RMPR, but has declined all of them because she feels she would get too much negative attention if she was to accept.

Lucy Fitz

But, what I would say to Lucy is, it’s your life. You’ve been offered opportunities to gain Marketing experience, so take them. Don’t put your life on hold and throw away the offers because someone on Twitter is jealous that you’ve been able to get a job through social media.

We all know people who use what they have, who they know and who they are to their advantage. That’s just the way the world works. If you’re in that lucky position, why not benefit from it? If anything, it makes the rest of us work harder.

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