Who’s shaping pop culture?

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CARLA BIANCA RAVANES-HIGHAM

It was in the year 2004 that I was first introduced to the world of “blogging.” Back then, it was an escape—a different world where people can be who they wanted to be without the fear of being found out.

Blogging was private and intimate, a safe world. But of course, just with anything in life, blogging has evolved and today, bloggers and influencers hold more power than any other media practitioner.

Influencers are powerful because they are individuals who wouldn’t have had a voice have it not been for the power of the internet and social media. They are relatable, honest and opinionated.

Unlike mega endorsers of the past, influencers feel like your best friend, not an unreachable star. You can relate to what they have to say and brands have recognized that.


Since it is fairly new, the learning curve for bloggers and influencers is quite steep. Thankfully, we have thought leaders like Martha Sta. Barbara, also known as “The Beauty Junkee,” who can guide us through it. Martha, whose numbers grow every day across all social media portals, doesn’t hold back to share what she knows about an industry she loves.

“My journey started in 2009. I was bored in class and using free internet that my smartphone was able to pick up from a nearby lab. I was browsing online and was searching for a particular blush shade that I was keen on buying. Google suggested a few blogs. I have been blogging for as long as I can remember but I never realized they existed beyond Multiply,” she related.

Life is beautiful for ‘Beauty Junkie’ blogger Martha Sta. Barbara here on her wedding day to Randy Villarama

“My search led me to a review of the blush and what inspired me was the woman I was reading about talked about make up with the same passion I would have discussed it. It’s like I found a community with a similar passion. When I got home from class, I started The Beauty Junkee, and eight years after, it has grown from a humble personal blog into a beauty resource for many people,” she continued.

Since then, people have been visiting Martha’s blog for advice on beauty products to try to life advice. Her audience has grown with her, including watching her get married to the love of her life last year.

When asked how the landscape has changed since she started, she answered, “It has definitely changed in good and bad ways. Good because majority of the brands finally realized the power of influencers and bloggers. We’re now getting better treatment and people actually consider it a profession nowadays.”

Martha noted that this is a far cry from when she was faced with raised eyebrows when she shared with people what she used to do years ago.

“It’s also easier to sustain a blog nowadays, thanks to product reviews and features because brands are more willing to work with bloggers,” she said.

However with the good also comes the bad.

“Online content creation has become one of the biggest channels in marketing and because of this there is now an influx of bloggers, influencers, and vloggers. The competition has gotten stiffer and it’s double the work to get your brand and platform out there. I can say that it is a bit congested already,” she expressed.

“Also, since there is an influx, there is also an infiltration of ‘freebie’ bloggers who are only in it for the free stuff which in turn taints the reputation of the community, including legit content creators. Another thing, because online content creation is seen as an instant pass to success, fame, and fortune, a lot of aspirants will do everything just to get a piece of the pie even if it means doctoring statistics—this also hurts the community of online content creators – both old and new,” she further explained.

“Lastly, there is the notion that success in this industry will and should happen overnight, thus important virtues like hard work and professionalism get lost in the process; as someone who has been doing it for quite a while now, I can say that even if everything is ‘fast’ online, success will always take time.”

She explained as well what she does especially to those who don’t understand.

“I create content because I want to educate, inspire, entertain, and meet new people, and at the simplest level, at least improve myself one step at a time. Why is what I’m doing important in today’s digital landscape? It’s simply because the way consumers consume content has changed; they want to consume information in a more personal manner and in the fastest and most convenient way possible.”

As to what keeps her going, despite the sometimes negative feedback, she said, “Myself, the fans who continue supporting The Beauty Junkee, and the brands who keep on supporting my brand. I don’t want to let these three down. There are a lot of things that will make you want to quit this industry, but what got me through is this: I choose the battles I fight and wage.”

She clarified that there could be a lot of people and companies who will ignore, criticize, and judge a blogger, and things that cause stress but it behooves not to pay importance to each and every one of it.

“Choose the battles that will make you grow and move on from those that will not contribute anything but stress. You can’t control everyone and your standards won’t always be met. Just focus on your goal and your mission because after all, that’s why you started what you started; the rest is noise,” she ended, leaving a sensible piece of advice.

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www.carlabiancaravanes.com

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