Emma Kotos: The Longtime Instagram Favorite On Avoiding the Pitfalls of Online Culture (2024)

Emma Kotos: The Longtime Instagram Favorite On Avoiding the Pitfalls of Online Culture (1)

If you are an Instagram fan and are interested in beauty, fashion, modeling, or mindfulness topics, you probably already follow Emma Kotos. The monumentally successful model and influencer have racked up avid supporters across a wide array of topics that can, under less skillful hands, alienate and even tribalize people. The Emma Kotos approach to sensitive subjects and the internet is unique for its emphasis on unifying and uplifting people while simultaneously providing aspirational motivation.

Emma Kotos enjoyed a homeschooled upbringing in Connecticut that instilled in her self-reliant values, curiosity, and a determined attitude toward any and all undertaking. Describing her early life as being full of travel and a "spirited bustle," Kotos derived a deep sense of internal adventure that was next visible in her bold drive across the country from Connecticut to California when she decided to make that cross-national jump to pursue her dream of becoming a model. Struggling for a bit before she hit her social media stride, Kotos quickly found footing as the creator of playful, life-affirming content that allowed for and even celebrated the beauty in imperfection and the joy in individuality. Having endured a spell of difficult middle school bullying, she reached adulthood with a clear idea of what she wanted- using her name and image to be about in the public sphere: positive vibes only.

The trouble with online culture is that it is often designed to be quite the opposite of supportive and positive, aimed at being purely destructive. Kotos has been vocal about showing younger aspiring models how to avoid internet pitfalls that can damage their careers and self-esteem. She offers experience-tested advice to young women about how to get ahead in establishing themselves on their terms: "My first and most important tip for anyone wanting to build their social media is consistency. It is not something you can start with little effort and maintain and grow over time. Posting good quality content consistently will ensure you get your name and brand out there."

Most of Kotos' brand is built on the belief that mindfulness and the creation of judgment-free zones are integral to not just the popularity of her pages but should be the cornerstone of how we measure the success of the internet itself. She is routinely applauded for her persistence in showing herself in a wide array of scenarios that underscore different aspects of her character, refusing to be pigeonholed by what predecessors have done or be limited in any way by catering to the expectations of others. While many may rightly see Instagram as a haven of hom*ogeneity and plasticine filters, Kotos has leapt that narrative by writing a more reality-based story that she hopes will provide entertainment, joy, and inspiration to others.

Another key component of Kotos' realism-based brand is a refusal to paint rosy pictures of life even after Instagram's success. She has spoken candidly about the dark sides of being a prominent Instagram model and how these challenges can range from stolen copyrighted material to hateful, damaging comments. "I believe there can be a dark side to any industry," she shares, "but especially when you open yourself up to speculation on the internet, you can witness the worst side of people." From rude messages to unsolicited images, Kotos warns aspiring influencers to understand that a thick skin is needed for managing this aspect of the job. She also cites a need for patience when dealing with the many fake pages that tend to crop up with unauthorized usage of one's photos and videos.

Kotos likewise stresses the importance of being proactive in making connections. She encourages young people to directly reach out to other influencers, photographers, videographers, and content creators. "Working with others who are well known in the industry is a necessary step to getting yourself out there and building relationships that can help you in the future." True to her optimistic form, she is adamant that avoiding discouragement is always the way forward in any internet-based career. She is vehement that the worst thing anyone looking to make a mark in a social media market can do is compare themselves to someone else. "It is important to remember that everyone's journey is different, and your success is yours."

Emma Kotos: The Longtime Instagram Favorite On Avoiding the Pitfalls of Online Culture (2024)


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