“A little to the left...that’s it...okay a little higher...where should I put my leg? Okay perfect”, Gwendolyn quipped as she gazed into the mirror of her home gym. Sweating from the direct sunlight of the apartment’s floor to ceiling windows, the girls had been at it for almost an hour. Jas had yet again been sucked into a yoga invite from Gwendolyn turned photoshoot for “Nikki B.” For the usually soft-spoken and studious Gwendolyn, “Nikki B.” was her alter ego, the public persona that got her in the VIP section while Gwendolyn’s expertise earned her a seat in the boardroom. Soft-spoken and studious, Gwendolyn created Nikki B. to be her alter-ego, a public persona to get her into the VIP section, while Gwendolyn’s expertise earned her a seat in the boardroom
Jas still chuckled anytime some girl gushed to her about how they perfected their contour and learned to take better selfies by watching “Nikki B.” tutorials on YouTube. Jas was far from jealous,she knew Nikki B. from way back, when she was just Gwendolyn-from-women-and-gender-studies-who-actually-did-the-assigned-reading. Since those days, Gwendolyn created an app, turned it into a business, sold it to a multinational corporation and was now something like a big deal. The whip smart girl Jas studied with for 4 years basically became Mark Zuckerberg in an IG Vixen body, who could make a latte go viral. Knowing the late nights and dedication it took to build the success that birthed “Nikki B.”, Jas couldn’t be more proud.
But on a Saturday morning standing on Gwendolyn/Nikki B’s ottoman to capture the perfect “candid” picture of Nikki B. doing yoga at dawn, dressed head-to-toe in IVY PARK, Jas was losing her patience.
“Um, what the hell Gwenny, do you want me just to use your tripod, and set it to auto-shoot so we can actually do yoga this morning?”, Jas snapped. Raising a freshly waxed eyebrow, Nikki B. replied with equal fire, “No. If it doesn’t come out right I’m going to be pissed and I won’t get any of those Saturday morning likes on my IG. Besides I already tweetedthat I was getting dressed for yoga, so I need the footage for my other social media accounts”
That was it. Jas lost it. Slipping into her Nike slides and grabbing her gym bag Jas bounded to the door to leave. The apartment wasn’t that big but Nikki B. was out of breath by the time she caught up with Jas at her apartment door. “Hey wait! I didn’t mean to be rude...my personal brand depends on...” Through gritted teeth, Jas cut Nikki B. off before she could finish: “I know the world knows you as Nikki B. but the Gwendolyn I know needs to check her tone. And while you’re at it, ask yourself if no one knew every move you made, would you even bother to do it?”
Jas’ words stung, but they were honest. Nikki B., known in the vlogger world as being sassy and quick witted had no clever counter to Jas’ challenge. Embarrassed, Nikki B. thought to herself, -when was the last time she did anything that she actually liked, without posting it on social media?
In a half hearted attempt to prove Jas wrong, Gwendolyn grabbed her iPhone and scrolled her various apps. There wasn’t a single meal, outfit or workout from the last 30 days that hadn’t been posted. Looking through last week’s “candid” sunrise yoga pictures, she let out a sarcastic chuckle. Gwendolyn didn’t even like yoga. She just did it because it was most popular among her targeted demographic. “Here I go again, doing it for the gram instead of for me.” Gwendolyn’s conscience admonished.
Over the next few days, Jas’ question turned into personal goal for Gwendolyn: Do what I love without “likes”. Starting with taking 10 minute breaks from social media, Gwendolyn began to “detox” from her social media image as Nikki B. The turning point in her break from social media came almost 2 weeks after the infamous “yoga incident”.
Gwendolyn had started keeping her phone on airplane mode while out with friends or working out. Between shopping with her parents and a kickboxing class with her neighbor, Gwendolyn had missed almost a full day of texts and notifications. Peacefully, Gwendolyn ignored the buzzing phone as all of her missed messages rolled in. When she finally glanced at her phone, one message took her by surprise, it was Jas. “Work out at 4? Yoga maybe, since the Nikki B. hive seems to be so fond of it?” read the message.
Gwendolyn laughed. Jas knew Gwendolyn hated when her followers were referred to as the Nikki B.-hive. “So unoriginal”, she thought. “No, meet me at Druid Canyon at 3.” Gwendolyn quickly responded. Jas was shocked, and used 6 different emojis and .gif just show it.
In came a flurry of messages from Jas:
“Druid Canyon!? What happened to Ms. “If my bars don’t show, then I don’t go?” Everyone knows Druid Canyon has no reception and is for people who actually wanna workout. Definitely not ideal for a periscope session or live tweeting every step”
Gwendolyn was glad her friend still had a sense of humor after putting up with “Nikki B.” Stepping into her running shoes, Gwendolyn was more than excited to trade the dream life she built online as Nikki B. for a real life. “Yep. See ya at 3.” Gwendolyn responded.