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Influencer events – What are they really like?

Photo by Ivan Samkov. Image taken from Pexels.

Staff Writer Isabelle Nash visits an “e.l.f Cosmetics” influencer event, giving us a peek into the offline lives of social media socialites.

A person getting their makeup done at the e.l.f. Good Vibes Only influencer eventMakeup brand “e.l.f. Cosmetics” hosted an event for the general public on 11 and 12 March 2023. This was to celebrate the release of their new 70s-inspired “Good Vibes Only” collection. However, what most people didn’t know is that there was also a private influencer event for makeup artists.

We are usually only able to reach influencers by viewing their content. The closest that most of you will ever come to interacting with one will be getting a like or even a reply to your comment on their post (aren’t you lucky?). Anyhow, I attended this exclusive influencer event myself, so you don’t have to. Here are all the details:

WHAT DID INFLUENCERS GET UP TO?

Sorry to disappoint, but it was not as dramatic and as high-profile as the Oscars. Unfortunately, they forgot to send me an invitation this year.

I found that, mostly, people mingle, engage in the activities provided, and drink… a fair amount. It is free after all.

Caity Baser, English singer-songwriter performing at the e.l.f. Cosmetics Good Vibes Only influencer event

There was bracelet-making, a couple of games, and you could get your makeup done with the new “e.l.f. Cosmetics” collection’s products.

At one point during the night, UK artist Caity Baser performed some of her very upbeat music. Her confident stage presence and smooth vocals did a good job adding to the cheerful atmosphere. She was an excellent choice for a guest artist.

The conversation was refreshingly casual. Work-related issues were a common topic. It appears that having problems with your boss is a largely universal experience, even for influencers.

WHAT WAS THE EVENT LIKE?

Upon arriving at this influencer event, the first things I noticed were the cameras. Phone cameras, digital cameras, professional cameras, you name it. Even phones with tripod attachments and ring lights. Anything for the perfect photos and videos.

'e.l.f. Cosmetics' makeup products displayed at their Good Vibes Only influencer event

It was daunting knowing I could have accidentally been in someone’s video, broadcast to thousands of followers. But I am sure if that did happen, they would swiftly edit me out due to my awkward posture and my nail-biting habit. We can’t let that ruin the aesthetic of the video! Although, the decorations were so incredible, I eventually joined the others in the photography action.

The rooms had consistent orange, blue, and yellow colour schemes. There were lava lamps, neon signs, velvet sofas, magazines and a disco ball – all staples of our Gen Z perception of the 70s. It all had to be perfectly ‘Instagrammable’, and it definitely was.

WERE THE INFLUENCERS TRULY GOOD VIBES ONLY?

Decor at the e.l.f. Cosmetics Good Vibes Only influencer event

As a non-socialite, I felt quite out of place. Most people knew each other and had so much to talk about. It’s like being an intern at a business meeting. Your job is to just linger silently and awkwardly, listening to conversations you can’t really be a part of.

I did have some nice chats with people in groups, while others were joining and leaving. Admittedly, there was a small minority who didn’t really acknowledge my presence. I gave them the benefit of the doubt and assumed they were just waiting for me to introduce myself. It was still quite discouraging though.

DO INFLUENCERS FIT OUR STEREOTYPES?

Many influencers at this event have thousands of followers. Some have millions. We tend to associate this level of fame with vanity and arrogance. And worse, we stop seeing famous people as human beings with personal lives and emotions. They stop existing when they are not making content.

Of course, some do get absorbed in their fame, creating shallow personality traits. That is inevitable in such a capitalist-driven job, as outlined in Roar writer India Dunkley’s article on the negative effects of influencer culture. For example, we are seeing more influencers, like Mikayla Nogueira, coming under fire for supposedly tricking fans in paid promotion adverts.

Obviously, it’s not ethical for influencers to get paid to lie, but it is still problematic to assume this lack of morality of all influencers, since it can be used to justify online abuse. So, contrary to common prejudices, the influencers I met were just as ordinary as I am, or anyone else.

The people I spoke to involved me as much as possible. They even asked me polite questions about my boring old life, regardless of how interesting theirs are.

I left in a great mood with an “e.l.f Cosmetics” goodie bag. I was very impressed with the event itself. The lively atmosphere definitely made socialising easier. It can be intimidating to meet new people, particularly when you feel you don’t belong. I am thankful to have been welcomed so openly by people I would usually only see through a screen.

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