This week we caught up with Social Club influencer Sophia Doak. Sophia runs the fashion-forward blog Sonder and models for Unique Model Management. Here’s 5 minutes with Sophia:
For people who are just being introduced to you, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Sophia and I’m the content curator of sonderingg.com here in New Zealand! It’s largely a platform for my photographic work. I work with brands and agencies to produce cool content both for them and myself. I also upload funky features and interviews with cool people and brands located nationally and internationally. Amongst all of that, I model with Unique Model Management as well.
What made you decide to enter the blogosphere?
I started blogging when I was around 14. One of my friends was doing it and I thought I would jump on the band wagon! I just thought it was a cool way to share your thoughts and communicate with like minded people (admittedly, I find my old blog so cringe). The online magazine “Zeum” was what ultimately gave me the inspiration to create what is now sonderingg.com. I created it around the age of 16 and from there have continued to grow and develop it.
What interests you the most about in what you do?
The people I get to meet is undoubtedly my favourite part. I have become close to some of the most inspiring and unique people through this and that’s what keeps me motivated. In terms of shooting, the ability to capture a person in a single frame is a kind of magic that will never become dull to me.
Would you say your work has a particular style?
I like to keep my photography work very natural. Anyone who has shot with me will know it’s quite different to what they might be use too. I like to keep my shoots relaxed and they usually only take around an hour. The most important part for me is making sure everyone has fun. I always aim to capture people in a way that truly represents who they are. If you create a relaxed shooting environment, I think that is reflected in the end result.
Is there a particular highlight from what you have done so far?
Something I’m insanely proud of was getting the opportunity to write for Remix Magazine when I was 16. Being invited to the Tiffany and Co launch last year also can’t go unsaid. More recently I’ve been working alongside Revolve and Minkpink, plus one of my photos is going into Vogue Italia which is super exciting for me.
Is there a particular photographer you look up too?
There’s no way I could choose just the one. I take inspiration from so many people, on so many different platforms and each person inspires me in a different ways.
If you could pass on any advice to an aspiring blogger, what would it be?
Be nice to everyone, always. I think people really underestimate how far being a genuinely nice person can get you in the fashion industry. Remember networking is everything.
What can we expect to see from you in the near future?
Lots of exciting things in motion but you’ll have to wait and see!
What would you say is more important, good knowledge or good equipment?
Knowledge! Anyone can pick up a camera, take a photo, create a blog and post some articles but not everyone has that special something. Passion is everything. I’m not saying I have that special something, but you can certainly tell when someone does. It shows in the work they produce and just how they are as a person in general. I think these things are so much more important than the material aspects of creativity.
And finally, what has been your favourite part about working with The Social Club?
Opportunities! There are so many opportunities you might never have known about, making it super exciting to have a platform like it in New Zealand.
This week we caught up with Mitch James, a musician who has put social platforms to use to really make waves in the NZ music scene. Here is 5 mins with Mitch:
What inspired you to create and perform music?
I felt disillusioned with the social norm of getting a 9-5 job and slaving away for someone else, coupled with the fact that I was a bit of a loner growing up, it seemed like music was the perfect outlet and avenue to chase. Eventually I grew tired of playing other peoples songs, and started to dabble in writing my own stuff, it sucked at first but creating music is like unclogging dirty pipes, just keep pushing through and eventually clean water will flow.
Are there composers or performers that do a similar thing that have influenced you to get your particular style and content?
I listened to all types of music growing up, from folk, to hip hop, to drum and bass. However the artist I took most inspiration from would have to be Ed Sheeran, not only for his sound musically, but because of his path to success, which was forged through hard graft and perseverance.
Any other idols or role models that have influenced you to make your hobby into a life long career?
Conor McGregor, the Mixed Martial Arts fighter would have to be my number one inspiration. His philosophies, more specifically his focus on the Law of Attraction have been huge for me in finding my path to success. A positive outlook and having a firm belief something will happen are the 2 key points that I have taken from him, that have helped me turn music from a hobby into a career.
Do you have preferences on the type of music or the type of crowd you would perform to?
I truly don’t. Every crowd is a different challenge that by the end of the set, I hope to have conquered.
Have you set any goals for the future?
I have accomplished 2 of my life long goals this year, signing a major record deal and playing the main stage at Rhythm and Vines on New Years Eve. After achieving these in 1 year, I decided on a couple new life goals. To sell 1,000,000 records and to play at Madison Square Garden.
How would you go about portraying your music online?
I want to portray my music online the same way I hope to portray my image and music in person, with messages of positivity, unity and generally promoting a good time.
Have you got any new and exciting projects we can expect to see from you soon?
My first single ‘Wave’ is coming out through Sony Music, closely followed by my debut EP, ‘The Calm’!
This week we caught up with Molawin Evangelista, a man with a stunning array of photos on Instagram and a personal style unlike many others. Here is 5 mins with Mo:
Have you always had an ambition to be a photographer?
Photography has always a big part of my life. I started out at quite a young age and had always done it for fun and concentrated on making things that I enjoy. I’ve always had my mind set on becoming a nurse (which I am currently studying for) but as I grew older, my passion for photography grew and had a bit of a cross roads after high school trying to decide what I wanted to pursue: should I go with my life long dream of becoming a nurse or solely concentrate on my photography? I ended up deciding to do a good balance of both and study as a nurse while continuing to progress as a photographer.
It has been tough studying and doing a lot of photography jobs at the same time but I love doing both so much that I can’t imagine not doing one or the other. Today I am thankful for all the clients who have given me a chance and believed in my work enough to be confident in having me take creative reigns on how I photograph their products.
Even on your DSLR do you shoot with Instagram in mind?
In all honesty, when I’m out shooting I don’t really focus on whether or not it will look good on Instagram or whether people will like it or not. I think that photographers should always focus on creating imagery that is up their own standards and work on things that they are truly passionate about. I believe that your passion for whatever you are shooting really shows in the work that you create.
Are there any brands out there you’re dying to work with?
Definitely would love to expand my horizons and work with some international labels. The dream would definitely be able to do work with large scale companies like Nike or Adidas. Within the local scene, I would definitely love to do some work for I Love Ugly. I have always admired their vision, the work they’ve put in to become as established as they are today and they just seem like a bunch of good lads to do work with!
Where are you next shooting, what’s in the works?!
I have a few things in the works at the moment and a potential shoot coming up with an awesome New Zealand clothing label that I will be working with for the first time but that’s a secret for now haha. I will also be travelling to Japan soon so I am looking forward to be taking some photos over there!
Finally, who within the New Zealand photography and Instagram community has challenged and influenced the style in which you post?
Some of the young guns that have been killing it in the scene lately have been really inspiring me and it is so awesome seeing young people really getting out there and creating dope content.
A few to mention would be Jaycee Mentoor (@jayceementoor) who I have had the pleasure of working with in the past and is an incredible photographer, Jamie Wesley-Brown (@jamiewb) who’s photos continue to always impress me and my good friend Cyrus Chow who has got to be one of the most motivated, talented and inspiring people I’ve met who can do everything from creating amazing videos to running his own clothing label The Norm (@thenormltd).
A photo posted by Molawin Evangelista (@itsmolawin) on
Last week we caught up with Jane and William, two up and coming foodies with an Instagram account that will definitely please the eyes, here’s 5 minutes with @thenextmeal:
What inspired the idea to create @thenextmeal?
We’ve both always loved cooking and both had our own journeys with food, so it seemed only natural to create a space where we could bring together what we’re doing and share it with people. We used to make big Snapchat stories of our creations or post food images on our own Instagram accounts and our friends would always message us demanding for more, so now they have more!
As for the name – we are genuinely always thinking about the next meal…
Do you have preferences on all the ingredients and the brands you use?
With ingredients and brands, we try and buy things that were produced as close to home as possible and in the most sustainable way possible. It’s becoming easier and easier to do this. We try to stick to using products that we feel good about using and supporting.
Are there any other people that have influenced the food you create and the style in which you post?
Heaps! We’re constantly being inspired and motivated by others on their own food journeys. Whether its more established international names like Ottolenghi, Nigel Slater, Rachel Roddy and David Chang or any of the clever New Zealanders doing their thing like Delaney Mes, The Cult Project boys, Miss Changy and the team at Stone Soup Syndicate. Everyone has their own style of creating the food they do and writing about it – we’re still figuring ours out.
What’s in store for the future, apart from continuing to create beautiful dishes?
We might sound a bit bland with this answer, but we really do just want to keep having fun. Ideally we will be able to educate people on a few food related topics that mean a lot to us: wasting less food, using lesser known or liked ingredients/techniques, and getting people excited about cooking for themselves.
We are by no means professionals, but we’ve experienced first hand the massive disconnection most people have with their food, so if we can help change that even a small amount then we’d be happy!
We’re building a website at the moment, and we’d love to branch into doing some pop-ups and other food adventures in the future.
Finally, with @thenextmeal growing a loyal following, do you have any advice for other creators wanting to do something similar?
The Next Meal is still a toddler really, but a few things we’ve already learnt:
– Work out what it is that you feel excited and passionate about, and go for it. It should be a pleasurable project!
– Don’t change what you believe in for the sake of a hashtag or a few followers
– Even if you just spent 4 hours trying to cook something and plate it up like you’re at The French Café, if it doesn’t feel good then don’t post it. (Not that that’s happened to us or anything…)
– Read cookbooks, go on Pinterest, watch food shows, write lists of things you want to try to make – do what you need to do to keep the creative juices flowing!
We managed to sneak a quick catch up with @shesaidyes, Bridal & Lifestyle influencer, in between her busy schedule of events! We love Megans’ enthusiasm and drive to inspire girls through weddings and events. We look forward to seeing where she ends up next!
What made you want to become a bridal and lifestyle blogger?
Though I absolutely love what I do now, I didn’t set out to be a “blogger”, I just wanted to help other girls organise engagement and hens parties, plan their wedding and enjoy the process. From there it developed into beauty, health and wellbeing, entertaining, and more.
Now that I am a bridal and lifestyle blogger though, I love the creativity it allows me via photography and styling for Instagram, and as cliche as it may sound, I love the opportunity to inspire and help other people (whether that’s with make-up reviews, fitness ideas or the wedding planning guides themselves).
Happy Birthday to the love of my life. This is my husband Blair, and he is an amazing person, even when he is seriously hungover and pretty grumpy. On top of everything else, if it wasn’t for him, there’d be no “She Said Yes” and all the happiness it’s brought me. www.shesaidyes.co.nz #nzwedding #newzealandwedding #nzbride #nzigers #nzblogger #coromandel #aucklandwedding
Now that you’re married, do you think you’ll move away from the bridal side of things? We see events have become quite a common theme on your account?
When a girl gets engaged, she doesn’t lose interest in everything else in her life, so for me it’s a very natural development to the brand to include the lifestyle posts. Similarly, it’s not just brides-to-be who get inspired and excited by couture gowns and beautiful bouquets, so the variety to She Said Yes means there’s something for everyone, I hope.
Personally though, I love weddings, and since my own that’s probably increased! Many of my friends are engaged now and it’s the best feeling to be able to help them plan. After all, a wedding is basically the biggest and best party people ever throw, and I love parties!
What would be one tip you would give to someone looking to grow their blog?
As you’ve identified, I’m very social. I love meeting new people and I’m constantly learning something from them. My blog has grown through the words of encouragement and advice of others. I started off by reading lots of other blogs and asking other bloggers, writers, influencers and business-people for advice. So my tip to existing bloggers would be to network with others.
This is probably a tough one, but if you had to pick the ideal place to get married, where would that be?
Wherever you know you and your guests will feel welcome, comfortable and relaxed. A venue should feel like a natural fit, so if silver service and black-tie dress code won’t suit you and your guests, don’t force it. The choice of venue will be a key factor to how much involvement (and flexibility) you have. If you have the time to be very hands-on, then a bare venue allows total control. If you’d rather have someone else take car of details, then a venue with a planner could save your hours of time and stress.
A beautiful new blog post for all those bride-to-be’s out there – Do you really need a makeup artist? . This was a decision I really toyed with in planning my own wedding, I felt that I had pretty good makeup skills, as did my bridesmaids, and wondered if it was just another line to add to the budget? . What do you think? www.shesaidyes.co.nz/do-you-need-to-Book-a-makeup-artist (in bio) ❤️ . If you do choose to use a makeup artist, where would you to book them? Word of Mouth? Google? @beautybooknz is about to launch in NZ, so if you do think it’s necessary to book a makeup artist, they are definitely worth a look. . Photo by The Official Photographers @official_photographers on the morning of my wedding. . #nzweddingplanning #nzblogger #nzweddingblog #nzweddingblog #nzbloggers #nzweddingplanner #nzwedding #nzweddings #nzbride #nzbrides #nzsnapchatter #snapchatnz #kiwisnapchat #nzgirl
Exploring the beautiful Redwood Treewalk in Rotorua . . . . . . . #nz #newzealand #newzealandfinds #newzealandfinds #nzmustdo #destinationnz #purenewzealand #purenz #aotearoa #travelnz #newzealandvacations #newzealandphotography #newzealandguide #newzealandnatural #newzealandgirl #nzgirl #kiwis #ignz #nzig #rotorua #rotoruanz #kiwis #nzblogger
A photo posted by Megan, Newlywed – She Said Yes (@shesaidyes) on
Any new and exciting projects we can expect from you again soon?
Yes! (and not just because She Said Yes) I have so many things I want to talk about, but all I can say is Watch This Space.
What makes you enjoy working with The Social Club?
The people behind the scenes at The Social Club are as enthusiastic about my brand and my business as they are about their own. The projects I’m approached to work on are always on brand, and TSC has been really supportive as my brand has moved a little away from 100% bridal-niche to incorporate the lifestyle brand too.
During the week we caught up with Social Club influencer Matiu Walters of Six60. Matiu is a well known figure within the New Zealand music industry and runs a slick Instagram account, here’s 5 minutes with Matiu:
When TSC approached you for the Jim Beam campaign, what was it that inspired you to collaborate with them?
I’m a massive fan of Jim Beam! The band and I have it when we’re away on tour. So being a part of the campaign seemed like a good fit for me and my account.
Why is it important for you to align with brands you believe in?
It is very important. By aligning with brands that have similar ideas and visions, it helps improve your own as well as create authentic campaigns. I want to make sure that my account is still genuine when I post for a brand, whatever the reward of the campaign may be. What is the point in representing a brand that you don’t believe in? That’s not being true to my fans.
What other brands would you want to work alongside?
One company that I would really love to work with is Adidas. Another being I love ugly, they both do some seriously cool stuff.
How do you go about approaching new brands that you want to work with?
Through The Social Club, that is what their platform is for. I go through the brands and favourite the ones that I want to work with with, then I take a look at their content and see if my content and style aligns with their brand.
How was your experience working with The Social Club and Jim Beam?
Easy and good fun, the Instagram post did really well too. The Social Club is great, and even though it is an online platform, you are always talking to people. Overall I think all the content came out great and the campaign did really well. Stoked to have been a part of it!
We were so lucky to be able to catch @tastefullytash for a quick Q&A before she made the move across the ditch. We wish you all the best Tash and look forward to working with you from Aus!
From your profile it is obvious that you are a food lover, what inspired you to take that extra step and create a food blog?
Haha –yes, quite the food lover ☺ I had been studying Consumer Food Science and was always stalking healthy food blogs and Instagram accounts in my free time so I just began thinking – I could do this! I have always been really into art and photography so saw it as a way to merge my passion for healthy food with my creativity skills.
Your accounts are getting some seriously good heat! How much work does it take to run accounts of your size?
Thanks! The response to my accounts has been amazing and I love how fast they are constantly changing and growing! People are often surprised by how much time it takes to create content and post daily. Since there are so many Instagrammers and blogs doing a similar thing, my main priority is to make every one of my posts top quality so I’m proud of everything on my account. I usually spend at least two hours a day on everything from shooting to editing to posting and then engaging with people on my social media accounts. Although the time does add up I love it and would be scrolling Instagram in my free time anyway so it doesn’t feel like work.
If you had one tip for someone looking to grow their social accounts, what would it be?
To post high quality content and to engage with a like-minded audience (I know – that was two tips but they are equally important and I couldn’t choose). Engagement is essential when generating awareness for your social media account, as no one is going to follow you if they have never discovered you. High quality content is important as no one will follow you if they don’t get benefit from your account – even if the benefit is purely finding your content aesthetically pleasing.
I’ve noticed you have some pretty slick looking photos! Did we spot a little bit of VSCO cam in there?
Haha yes there is a cheeky dose of VSCO cam in most of my photos. I love VSCO as it keeps the photos looking vibrant but semi filter-free – very important when making food look appetizing.
We love how creatively you present your food. How vital do you feel your creativity is to your blog?
Thanks! My favourite thing about the work I do on my accounts is getting to use my creativity to produce dynamic and pretty photos. I feel the creativity of food photography and making my content creative is central to my blog as it’s what I love doing and what I can do for other people. I am extending into commission work and working on campaigns to produce creative content for like-minded businesses so it’s very important I showcase my creativity in my own content.
How have you enjoyed your experience working with The Social Club so far?
I have loved it! Getting the opportunity to work with a company whose vision is in line with my healthy living philosophies is awesome. Also working with you guys; you are other young kiwis who are in the same industry – seeing the opportunities that social media can create has been motivating and inspirational too.
We were lucky enough to catch up with beautiful lifestyle influencer @libbykayy to get to know a little bit more about her day to day life. Her followers love the bohemian-esque content she produces on a daily basis and enjoy following her adventures from the beach to the forest and everywhere in between.
1.What inspired you to create your lifestyle related social accounts?
From a young age I was always the kid with a camera in hand. I loved taking photos and being creative. When I discovered social media I couldn’t wait to share my content and I haven’t looked back.
2. At what stage did you realise that people were really rating your content?
I think I realised that people were enjoying my posts when I was out one night 2 years ago and had someone I had never met before approach me and say how much they loved my posts. That was a cool moment!
3. Has becoming a social media influencer impacted your life or helped you grow personally?
100%. I have connected with so many amazing people and I am continuously learning new things about myself everyday. Being a social media influencer has been very eye opening and has helped me to gain so much more confidence.
4. Do you have any tips for keeping a healthy balance between uni, social media and your friends & family?
When I am with friends and family I try to not go on my phone so I can be 100% present with them. I think that’s very important.
5. Where do you get your inspiration for your content from?
Other influencers definitely, also just everyday life. Whether it’s seeing a painting with certain colours that I like, or if I’m on a walk and see a beautiful spot I would want to shoot at. I find inspiration for content everywhere.
6. Do you usually shoot on iPhone or camera?
A bit of both but mainly on my iPhone.
7. Any advice for aspiring influencers?
Upload content that is important to you, don’t try to be someone you are not. It’s an amazing feeling connecting with people who have similar thoughts to you and truly appreciate your work.
8. We noticed you use quotes in your captions a lot, do you have a favourite quote?
“Walk outside on a clear night and just look up into the sky. Take a moment to realise you are sitting on a planet spinning in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Sometimes it takes a bit of perspective to remember what’s really important. You are alive and you are here. You have the potential to be anything. So let go of what’s holding you back and dream, believe, breathe.”
-Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul.
9. What has been your favourite part about working with The Social Club?
It’s exciting being a part of something that is bringing together people who are in the same industry as me. Working with awesome people and awesome brands, what’s not to like!
We were super lucky to catch @ramboestrada in between surfs and shoots to find out a little bit about where he came from, and where he is going. This dude is one to watch if you’re into surfing, adventure, travel or photography. He sure knows how to work a lens!
What is your favourite Instagram account right now?
There’s an Australian ocean photographer Lloyd Meudell who is not actually that well known, but he shoots using some really interesting techniques creating some unique and beautiful ocean images. His work is really inspiring.
What made you get into photography?
My favourite thing to do growing up was to go on surf adventures with friends. Searching for waves we’d drive all over the country visiting these amazing out of the way places that folks wouldn’t usually get to experience. It was always such a good time and I really just wanted to document those adventures.
What is your most used piece of camera gear?
Hmmmm that’s tough. I have a lot of gear. Possibly the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. It’s definitely my favourite for shooting surf from the land as I like a pulled back perspective to include more of the environment. I also like my landscapes to have a fair bit of compression so I use it a fair bit for scenic shots too. And it’s not my number 1 lens for portraits, but the longer focal length is good for snipering off candid portraits without the subject being camera aware.
Where is your favourite place you have shot so far?
Probably Sri Lanka. It’s a beautiful country with an interesting culture and a lot of cool colours. I don’t know if I even did anything with the photos from that trip, other than print some to put on the wall at home, but there’s more of Sri Lanka on the wall than any other country so for me personally it was my favourite place to shoot.
What country to plan to travel to next?
Next week I’m heading to South East Asia for the winter. So far I have a month booked in Indonesia and then a month in the Philippines. I haven’t worked out where I’m going after that, but I have a few more months to fill before I need to be back home in NZ and I haven’t been to Myanmar or Cambodia so maybe there?
Other than your camera gear, is there anything you can’t travel without?
A pool float. Nothing quite like relaxing in a tropical ocean on a pool float and it’s pretty hard to come by a cool one when you’re in out of the way places. Last time we took a giant donut, this trip we’re taking a giant pretzel.
Any camera technology coming out in the next while that you’re particularly excited about?
Sony are leading the way with mirrorless cameras, and mirrorless is the future! I’ve just ordered a Sony A7R II. It’s significantly smaller & lighter than the Canon DSLRs that I’m currently shooting with but with the same size sensor, twice as many megapixels (42MP!) and an electronic viewfinder so you can basically see your photo before you’ve taken it. And it has some exciting new technology like autofocus that will lock onto your eye etc. Pretty pumped for that!
We scored some time with creative influencer @andrewj.steel, Auckland based creative influencer. We don’t imagine there is anyone who stumbles across his account, leaves without feeling inspired!
You have some seriously cool work on your Instagram! Do you have a main source of inspiration that normally sparks your creativity?
Thanks! I try my best. I read a lot, listen to music and podcasts all day & I geek out a lot on social media for daily doses of what’s happening. Like everyone, I’m a product of the world I live in and surround myself by clever people and beautiful things that inspire me.
There seems to be a theme of simplicity on your account. Where do you think that stems from?
I aspire to produce fun, relevant and simplistic work. Clever & clean is my moto. My artwork is this way, so naturally I try to present it in the same way. How you do something, is how you do everything right?
Any other artist or designer accounts that you are particularly enjoying right now?
I got a strong list of talented bastards. Locally, Ken Griffen, George & Willy, Blake Dunlop, I Love Ugly are all doing cool stuff. Globally; Nike, Juxtapose & americasgotnotalent (for my meme fix). Steve Powers, Rone & Cleon Peterson and Amber Ibarreche are all people I follow closely in the arts.
What are the tools that you use regularly that you value the most?
Toothbrush, blender/juicer & bic pens.
What inspired you to create an account for your work?
Having a voice is curial. Can you imagine if someone bit your tongue off and couldn’t talk? As an artist its pivotal to be able to connect & communicate to the world and social is a two way street to show your work, see others work and listen to what people want.
To check out his profile or contact him, login to TSC!