Amy Hardy of Alt_Amy: Working in a Hyper-Competitive Industry while Struggling with Chronic Illnesses
Amy Hardy of Alt_Amy is an alternative fashion model sharing positive, authentic content online. Recently, Amy signed with Sintillate Talent, a multi-award-winning international influencer and talent agency with talent in 18 countries. Today, Amy shares how she keeps up in a hypercompetitive industry while wor
About Amy Hardy
Amy Hardy is a fashion model and PCS and BPD warrior, living a plant-based lifestyle. From a young age, she struggled with body dysmorphic disorder, which was aggravated by constant comments about how thin she was as a child.
As a teen, she began modeling, which she thought might help her fit in more with her peers. However, it had the opposite effect and made her stick out more. Eventually, she decided to use her ability to stand out to her advantage and started posting on social media.
Photo credit: WholesaleBodyJewellery
Amy shares, “I was always playing Minecraft online with my friends, making online friends, and [participating in] fandoms, community forums, and stuff. I was quite used to it as I became a teenager, and so I was kind of savvy with hashtags. I picked up learning about the algorithm at quite an early age.”
In 2018, Amy decided to take social media seriously and made it her career. She notes that out of her friend group, she is the only one who works solely online, which can be isolating at times.
“It has its isolating aspects because there are parts within the job that you want to just talk about and vent your frustrations about … It’s very hard to talk about work-related stress.”
She adds that many people see being an influencer as easy, and it can be, but it’s also hard to find people in person to relate to who understand the challenges that come with the job.
Sharing Authentic, Positive Content Online
Amy keeps things real on her social media by sharing good and bad times with her followers.
“It’s hard not to sugarcoat things at first because you don’t want to be completely negative, but at the same time, since I have an emotionally unstable personality disorder, something that could be quite small to another person can be monumental for me.”
However, she promotes the message that we all have things we wish we could change or do differently and that everyone goes through tough times.
“If I can make other people a bit happier, even in my darkest moments, and I’m sharing that to make people feel a bit like okay, there are other people [experiencing tough times], that’s all the more reason to keep doing it.”
Signing with Sintillate Talent
Amy signed with Sintillate Talent around the time of the first lockdown in the UK. She shares that she was initially shocked to learn they wanted someone like herself.
One of the biggest benefits of working with Sintillate Talent for Amy has been how supportive they’ve been of her mental health and chronic health issues.
“I’m not ashamed to admit [to the Sintallate team] when I’m not doing well. I can be completely open and honest and be like, look. I’m not doing too great at the moment. I’m struggling with this. I don’t think I”m going to be able to finish this.”
She adds that she’s never received negative feedback, only complete understanding from the Sintallate Talent team.
“We’re kind of like a big family or a huge group of friends. The WhatsApp is going off multiple times a day.”
In the Sintallate group chats, creators frequently help each other with app recommendations, inspiration, and much more. They also post about what they’re up to and their goals to help keep each other accountable and inspired.
Talking to others in the industry has significantly benefited Amy, who previously felt isolated.
In the future, Amy would like to create content for YouTube.
“I’m looking into YouTube. I’m thinking about it because I’m quite a local history buff, which doesn’t really go with being a social influencer, but, you know, being weird is what makes people like me. I want to post on YouTube and start doing short documentary-style things on places of local interest that you can’t really find information on.”
Currently, her Instagram and TikTok content primarily focuses on alternative fashion and makeup. She hopes to expand this into more artsy forms of photography in the future.
In terms of engagement, she notes that her most popular content is often less edited photos against a plain background.
“It’s the ones I put less effort into that seem to do best, and that’s kind of a nice thing, really. It means the people that follow me, they don’t really want me to try too hard to be something I’m not.”
Working with Brands
Amy typically only applies to brand partnerships through the Sintillate Talent application system every one to two weeks.
“I try to keep my workload quite low, especially when I’m having a bitter, turbulent time… I do get approached a lot, but I turn quite a few down.”
If a brand approaches her that she’d like to work with, Amy will let them know that she isn’t up for the partnership at the moment but will get back to them when she is doing better. This setup allows her to take time when needed and still work with brands she’s excited about.
Keeping Up in a Hypercompetitive Industry
Amy shares that the most challenging part of being an influencer is keeping up with the constant changes within the industry.
At times, it can be difficult to predict what kind of content will do well and if she should sacrifice one thing for another. Her health also affects her ability to keep up at times.
“Keeping up is a huge thing because most days I struggle with getting out of bed. The medication I’m on is a muscle relaxant. It knocks me out at night, so I sleep through most of the morning, but then the condition I have gets worse the longer the day it goes… so I have a very, very small window in the day where I’m able to get up, do my makeup, do my hair.”
She adds that her health conditions make keeping up overwhelming at times, and she frequently struggles to balance different aspects of her life.
In the future, a trend she expects to see is the modeling industry reverting to the 90s style of different tiers of models, but with huge influencers. She notes that virtual catwalks are another interesting trend in the modeling industry.
Amy is currently working on a podcast with her husband. In particular, she is working on the management, PR, and production side of the podcast.
In closing, she adds, “If you are chronically ill yourself and debating giving it a go online, definitely try it because I was near killing myself trying to do normal jobs when I was 15 and my [health] issues were just starting… If you have that drive and want to do something, an easy job can be a lifeline. Definitely go for it.”