May 12, 2020
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra speaks with Elise Swopes, an Instagram superstar who currently boasts over 282,000 followers, has been featured on billboards and commercials, and has partnered with some of the world’s biggest brands, including Adidas, Adobe, and Apple. Recently, Swopes has become committed to sharing her methods with the world and encouraging other photographers through her SWOPES SO DOPE podcast, newsletter, and tutorial video channel.
Elise lives the “rags to riches” story, as this college dropout used her phone and some free apps to share her art through a relatively new medium at the time — Instagram. Fast forward to years later, and Elise is working with huge brands, vacationing with celebrities, speaking at Ted Talks, hosting podcasts, and so much more. On the podcast, Elise walks through her life and speaks to her art while sharing the many lessons that she’s learned along the way, including the value of even seeing the negative experiences in your life as positives.
“It’s interesting when you’re going through all of your struggles. You don’t realize that they’re there for a reason. Now, I get to do Ted Talks about my struggles. Now I get to share these with other people and have this triumphant story."
“There’s so much pressure to be the person that has a lot of followers and likes. But the difference that you can make is just by simply being yourself and being consistent with being yourself."
“It’s tough to put yourself out there. But I try to make friends with doubt, fear, the things that will consistently be coming up for me. Because they’re never going to go away. But that’s the fun part — we get to keep growing."
“It’s not about what you lack; it’s about what you have. And you have to be grateful for what you have… When it comes to social media, don’t think about what you lack. Think about what you have and what you can share."
“You have to come to terms with the question: ‘Am I in my own way?’ Maybe I should stop blaming everyone else for my problems and start being more in tune with my peace."
“When I have a limitation, I think to myself, ‘Okay, how can I try to work around that?’"
Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:
3:01: Elise describes her initial inspiration to bring so much movement into her photography.
4:30: Elise discusses how, when she first started her photography, she had no idea that Instagram would become what it is today.
8:56: Swopes, who started her first company at the age of 10, explains what drove her towards entrepreneurship from such a young age.
12:44: Elise speaks to overcoming fear in the new era of Instagram, which encourages photographers to put themselves in front of the camera.
14:42: Swopes shares about her experience delivering a Ted Talk and how, incredibly, all of her life’s experiences — even the negative ones — paved the way to that opportunity.
19:53: Swopes gives details on her recent vacation with Will and Jada Pinkett Smith to the Maldives.
27:16: Elise shares some advice on how young dancers should approach social media branding.
29:02: Swopes describes her podcast, where she spends time exploring a variety of topics like practicing mindfulness, having confidence, and enjoying Mondays.
34:36: Elise discusses what it’s like to work with big brands and her philosophy behind collaborating on these types of Instagram projects.
Bullet List of Resources –