It all started when 26-year-old Mayam Lillard was tagged in a tweet by Ray Polanco Jr. who tweeted that he was looking for a “stylish LA woman.” Polanco Jr. is a photographer, content director, and IG manager at nicekicks.com, a website focused on sneaker news, release dates, culture, and more. Lillard is a marketing coordinator at The Walking Company with an impressive IG feed and unique style of her own. Lillard was tagged by a friend in Polanco’s tweet, Polanco then favorited the tweet, followed Lillard, and messaged her to discuss the opportunity. A few candidates stood out to Polanco, but ultimately Lillard was the stylish LA woman Polanco and NiceKicks were interested in. Two days after the original tweet, Lillard was gifted with Air Force Ones and a Lakers Jersey at the Nordstrom x Nike boutique in Century City then wrote about her experience for nicekicks.com. Since then, she’s been invited to a Lakers game by Nike and has formed great connections with other women. Lillard is on a fast track to the influencer world of enjoying amazing perks by numerous brands in the hopes that they get positive publicity out of inviting “regular” people to help spread the word. We caught up with Lillard to talk about how to authentically be yourself on IG, how to turn posts into business opportunities, and her next big moves.
What are some things to consider when posting to Instagram?
Mayam: The biggest thing to keep in mind when posting on Ig is to make sure you’re staying true to yourself. I’m a firm believer that people can smell a phony from a mile away. Authenticity is beautiful and rare in a world of perfect shots and photo ops. I get we all have these moments and the posed photos are necessary BUT I think what brands and consumers really look for is a real story. There is only one you out there so hype yourself up! Are you a funny gal? Post a witty caption! Are you good with Photoshop? Post some cool graphics! Are you proud of your six-pack? Give us some abssss and show us how you got them (seriously, I’m always looking for new fitness routines to try!)
What are absolute no-no’s?
Mayam: I think everyone would probably have a different no-no, but for me it’s “don’t post something you’d be embarrassed to show your family.” My entire family is following me on IG so if I have to think twice about whether I’d want them seeing it, I’m probably not posting it.
Have any other business opportunities come your way?
Mayam: Other business opportunities have come up! I’ve been in touch with some really talented photographers and some brands that want to collab so we’re currently in the works of figuring something out. I’m exited for what 2018 has in store.
What would your ultimate goal with social media be?
Mayam: My ultimate social media goal is to just use it as a platform for women, especially women of color. There’s so much beauty that, in my opinion, isn’t showcased in mainstream media that I think Instagram has now become a platform for. Nike has recently done an amazing job with their #TheForceIsFemale campaign that really highlights women from all walks of life. I also would love to be able to use social media to showcase that women are multidimensional beings. You can be the “girly girl” and “the tomboy.” You can like “The Bachelor” and still keep up with your local basketball team. You can be the “bookworm” and the “fashionista.” We can do whatever we want and it doesn’t make us less of something or the other.
What are you looking forward to next/what’s your big goal?
Mayam: I’m looking forward to being able to work with more of the brands I love directly. I’m currently working on getting a website up and running where I plan on blogging about some of the stuff I use, music I’m listening to, places I eat (fun fact: I’ve always secretly wanted to become a food critic), clothes I’m wearing, what workouts I’m doing etc. So if anyone’s crazy enough to want to keep up with me, they’ll have a place to do it at. My next big goal would be to work with Nike directly. As I’m sure you can already tell, I love the brand but specifically what they’re doing with and for women. It would be a dream come true to work with a brand that has been so present in my entire life. *puts it out into the universe*
You can keep up with Mayam Lillard on Instagram @mayamvictoria