Twenty two, attractive and full of beans. We’ve all been there. But few of us had social media fame, a book and rapidly-growing business under our belt by then. When we met influencer Steph Ellswood earlier this year, we were bowled over by her confidence and business smarts. And, immediately understood how she has amassed the 250K followers that tune into her Instagram daily. With a new sustainability empire getting ready for lift off, our rising star reveals how social media transformed her life.
How did your journey as a social media influencer start?
It happened by accident! I started my account @HealthyChefSteph in my final year of Dance College as an online diary. I was struggling with an eating disorder and part of my recovery was to document my food each day, I used Instagram to do this. As my following grew, I decided that I wanted to document my life as well. Brands began messaging me asking to collaborate and I started to become aware that social media could be a full time job.
Social media is a 24/7 business, how do you deal with the constant nature of it?
I try not to complain because I know that I am so lucky. But, it can be hard posting my entire life to the world. People are quick to criticise so I’ve definitely had to grow a thick skin. The main problem is finding a work-life balance as social media never switches off. Social media can be very overwhelming, so I make sure I only post things I’m passionate about and only follow accounts that make me feel happy and inspired!
What do you hope your audience take away from your posts?
I focus on fitness, recipes, sustainability and mental health awareness, so I hope that my posts inspire people to try something new. Whether that’s a workout, a yummy vegan recipe or a mindfulness exercise. I am very honest with my followers even on days when I’m feeling a little down. I want them to realise that life isn’t one big perfect fantasy world and to get a sense of reality when scrolling.
What’s the most rewarding thing about your Stay Sassy workshops?
I’ve been hosting my Stay Sassy female empowerment events for over two years now. The sessions consist of dance classes and talks from motivational speakers. It has been the most rewarding experience to watch people walk in shy and leave on a high. The confidence people find in only a few hours is so inspiring. I get to meet such amazing women with incredible stories to tell. Knowing that I may have played a part in their confidence journey fills me with so much gratitude.
What prompted you to go Vegan and have you noticed any benefits?
I find that my energy levels are a lot higher, my recovery from training is a lot faster, my hair is thicker and my nails are stronger. Also, previously struggling with an eating disorder, I was worried that this lifestyle choice would be a new form of restricting. However, I have the healthiest relationship with food that I’ve ever had. I participated in ‘Veganuary’ as a mini challenge and it fit into my lifestyle so easily that I haven't looked back!
What’s the best beauty tip you have ever been given?
I was once told that Coconut oil will solve all your problems. It’s true! I put it on dry skin, burns, use it as a hair mask and add sugar and ground coffee to it make it into a scrub. I always have a tub in my bathroom.
How do you unwind after a hectic day?
I find cooking very therapeutic. Also swimming is such a release! I often go to Champneys for the day, take my laptop to work and then do some lengths in the pool after smashing my to-do list.
What does wellbeing mean to you?
I think wellbeing is the balance of happiness with mental and physical health. It’s seeing that you can be fit and active without punishing your body with exercise. Eating wholesome, nutrient-dense food without restricting yourself. It’s accepting that not every day will be perfect and that sometimes you need time to rest and recover.
Fancy joining Steph Ellswood on her first ever overnight retreat at Eastswell Manor Champneys Hotel and Spa on 13th September 2019. Reserve your place here.