Meredith College is known for many things. From our quirky traditions to the academic opportunities we offer, our reputation often precedes us, but what outsiders may not know is that there are emerging content creators among us: Stephanie “Stevie” Melvin, Lauren-Taylor Carrillo and Andrea Gallegos — all members of the Class of 2024 — are making their mark within the next generation of social media influencers.
The term “micro influencer” is often used to describe content creators with small followings like Melvin, Carrillo, and Gallegos. Carrillo elaborated on this, saying that the term was “a broad label,” but defined it as “anyone who is making daily content within a certain niche…to create content that appeals to their demographic.”
All three of them are lifestyle and fashion influencers on their respective platforms (Carrillo on Instagram, Melvin on YouTube and Gallegos on YouTube and Spotify for her podcast), with Gallegos incorporating her hobby of running. Their niches have opened the door to a wide array of opportunities. Both Melvin and Carrillo have secured brand deals with PuraVida, a company that sells bracelets to support artisans from several countries. Carrillo has also collaborated with Saints Eyewear and Lottie London, and recently received a paid collaboration with Storyjewellery.
When it comes to making content, each of them has their own process. With most of their content being videos or podcasts, Melvin and Gallegos like to write their ideas out before recording anything. Carrillo’s focus on visual content (i.e. Instagram posts and stories) requires her to plan out photoshoots with 2-3 outfits. She allocates a couple of hours for each shoot to ensure that she has enough content to pull from.
All three creators are in their sophomore year of college. They attested to the difficulties of finding the right balance between school, social life and creating content. Melvin explained how it can be difficult to find free time to come up with concepts and edit her videos. For Carrillo, finding time to create branded content — posts that a person is paid to make for a brand — can be a struggle because of the tight deadlines that brands expect influencers to make.
Despite these challenges, this group of content creators has found a way to successfully integrate their college lives with their content. Melvin, Carrillo and Gallegos make YouTube videos that talk about their experiences at Meredith and provide advice for viewers in similar situations. Gallegos mentioned one encounter in particular with a former high school classmate who told her how much her podcast had helped him. The creators find ways to collaborate frequently, as Carrillo and Melvin are roommates, and Gallegos is friends with Carrillo.
Melvin, Carrillo and Gallegos all had their own reasons for starting their content creator journeys. “I just want to be able to look back at my life when I'm old,” Gallegos said. They encourage others to create their own content and find their own reasons for doing so. With frequent posts and sincere dedication to their crafts, it’s safe to say these creators live up to the hype.
By Aminah Jenkins, Associate Editor