Georgia-Rae Thompson is a 27-year-old influencer, fashion model, and Miss Social Media UK 2022 winner.
Her career as an influencer transformed her life and helped her discover more about herself and her health on a much deeper level.
She shares, “I stand by the statement that I possibly would not have survived the last three to four years if it was not for social media. I know that’s a massive contradiction to what a lot of people would say, but for me, it has been the foundation of finding confidence, a community, a diagnosis, and a lot of other things.”
Fashion Model And Influencer Georgia-Rae On Finding Herself Online & Being An Advocate
Rising Above a Difficult Past and Health Challenges
For Georgia, social media has been critical in helping her find her path. Growing up, she struggled with her mental health and was transferred between 20 foster homes, which created an unstable environment for her.
However, she was determined to rise above her complicated past and earned a scholarship to university, leading to her working as a teacher for children struggling with autism or trauma.
Her start as a teacher wasn’t an easy one because, during her training, Georgia began throwing up daily, with her symptoms worsening over the years. She also realized that she had some of the mental health symptoms that she was learning about on the job.
Georgia took a step back from everything to start therapy to improve her mental health and become a better teacher for the kids she worked with. She took a year and a half off work to receive medical help but ended up losing her job due to NHS wait time and receiving a diagnosis of cyclic vomiting syndrome.
Georgia decided to post hula-hooping videos online to distract herself from these scary realities.
Georgia shares, “It was mainly based on our hobby of hula-hooping, but at the same time, we were speaking, connecting, and learning about each other’s stories from around the world. People in different communities are going through different stuff and learning that took away the loneliness.”
Some of her videos started taking off, and she found a community online. After two months of posting, she received a message with a sponsorship offer, which opened her eyes to the possibility of earning money as an influencer from her passions.
After discovering the chronic illness community online, Georgia found a diagnosis that fit her unusual symptoms and was able to get these symptoms addressed, transforming her life for the better.
Georgia’s Unique Niche Journey
Initially, Georgia posted about hula-hooping, but after becoming a model, she transitioned into more lifestyle and fashion content. She still highlights hula-hooping when she can, often combining it with pictures of her modeling simultaneously.
Her mental health diagnosis of ADHD also impacts her content and niche.
She explains, “I struggle with ADHD, and I’m all over the place. I’m just going to say lifestyle [niche]. It’s me. My followers are people who are following the journey, and every day is different.”
Because Georgia had a strong connection with the hula-hooping community, she retained many of these followers even during her transition into fashion and lifestyle content.
One of the biggest challenges as a creator is putting a lot of time and effort into content, only for it to flop online.
Georgia shares, “It’s one of the hardest things – being able to maintain that constant level of engagement, especially if you feel like you’re posting consistently.”
Another challenge is maintaining authenticity online.
As a model, Georgia isn’t always in control of brands or photographers who may edit her photos. However, she makes it a priority to state if she has retouched an image or if it’s a photo from the brand to stay transparent.
Another way she stays authentic is by making on-the-spot video reviews where she gives her honest opinion on skincare or makeup products.
Changes in the Influencer Marketing Industry
In addition to a huge pivot to influencer marketing over traditional marketing formats, like TV ads, Georgia notes that many brands are now looking for influencers who actually use their products.
Social media users are becoming increasingly savvy and will notice when an influencer says one thing about a brand or product, but it doesn’t quite add up. As a result, finding brands and creators that authentically connect is critical for influencer marketing going forward.
Some of the changes Georgia is most excited about in the industry include how women and men are portrayed and how people with mental health issues are represented.
She explains, “I’m expecting gender-neutral products. I’m expecting no price change between women’s and men’s [products], and I’m expecting men to be able to wear whatever they want.”
Worrying Changes in the Beauty Industry
Unfortunately, Georgia recently noticed the addition of filter presets automatically set on newer phones creating a false self-image, this has led to meaningful conversations about the differences between social media and reality.
AI is also completely transforming the modeling industry as AI “real-life” models are already being designed.
She shares, “I feel like the reason models will exist is because we are natural. We are real. We are not going to be as perfect as these AI-generated scenarios that people want… We need a consumer focus to stop striving for perfection and being told to strive for perfection, but to see the beauty within each other.”
Imperfection makes us human, and Georgia hopes this message will spread among others, especially as “perfect” AI models and influencers become popular.
Miss Swimsuit UK 2022
Georgia entered and won the title of Miss Social Media UK at the Miss Swimsuit UK event in 2022, a campaign focused on body confidence and positivity.
This is one of Georgia’s favorite campaigns because she raised awareness about different issues, especially causes close to her heart, like mental health struggles and chronic illnesses.
Sintillate Talent Agency
Georgia is represented by Sintillate Talent, an award-winning influencer and talent agency representing talent in 18 countries worldwide.
She shares, “It’s good to have a community. We can speak together. We can work together. It takes a lot of pressure off me to reach out to campaigns. I used to send out about 150 emails a day and only get six responses a week… It takes a lot of the pressure off, especially now that I’m modeling.”
Georgia loves the community aspect within the agency because she can check in daily with other influencers and ask questions. Collab opportunities with other talent are also available, especially through Sintillate Talent’s community network events.
In addition, Sintillate Talent does awareness campaigns like the autoimmune disease awareness campaign, smear testing to drive awareness of cervical cancer because they want influencers to use their voice to make a difference on key topics to real factors that affect their audience. For them, it’s not about just selling products but using influence to make change and encourage audiences to take steps to help themselves if they feel their influencers have gone through similar challenges.
Georgia’s Future Plans
Georgia hopes to continue growing her confidence and telling her story about her mental health struggles to inspire others and spread awareness. Eventually, she hopes to influence the UK foster care system through her work and story.
Her final piece of advice for aspiring creators?
“Be truly authentic. Share your stories. Be confident from the get-go… Find that community and lock into and engage with that community.”