Balancing real and virtual life | Q&A with influencer and dentist Ilirida Krasniqi
Studies show that as many as three-quarters of 14-year-old girls who suffer from depression also have low self-esteem, are unhappy with how they look and sleep for seven hours or less each night. If you google girls and social media, titles like: “Girls’ much-higher rate of depression than boys closely linked to the greater time they spend on social media,” will most likely show up on your screen.
Researchers have found that using social media obsessively causes more than just anxiety. Testing has found that using too much internet can cause depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), impulsive disorder, problems with mental functioning, paranoia, and loneliness.
But what about college-students who spend more time reading than being on social media? A 2018 World Health Organization survey of 14,000 students across the globe found that one in three college freshmen reported dealing with mental health disorders in the years leading up to college.
OurLūmen has met up with 150k followers fashionista and dentist grad. Ilirida Krasniqi for a round of Q&A. The 26-year-old Albanian-Danish SoMe star and academic doesn’t understand why people take social media so seriously – for her, it’s just a platform full of artsy self-expression.
“Being an influencer is kind of my side-hustle. It’s hard to describe it, but I love my way of marketing products, and it’s a shame that some people take it so serious.”
From Iliridas Instagram
What was it like to go full-time university while being all over the place as an influencer?
Well, it was pretty hard in the beginning. I was a blogger, then an Instagrammer/influencer before I became a student at the Copenhagen University. Upgrading to higher education while working on my career as an influencer was all-consuming. I had to extend my study by a year to keep up with my image on Instagram. It takes a lot more effort than people think, and I would love to work part-time as a dentist and part-time as an influencer. I love both parts, and I am still figuring out how to make them go hand-in-hand with each other.
What is the most personal thing you have posted yet?
My acne journey. It took me a long time before gathering the courage to open up about my skin-struggle. People who have had, or still have acne know how vulnerable a topic this is. But sharing it actually helped me get closer to my followers. They somehow realized that I am also just a normal human being with flaws. I have shown people my bare red face – that was… I felt naked; let ’s just say that [laughs].
What about your relationship with your boyfriend?
I am a sensitive person, so I keep all the private aspects of my life to myself.
Do you limit your self-expression because of people’s judgment?
I don’t think about it that much, no. I am aware of the fact that a bad post can have consequences for the brands I am advertising, so I try to make every post as good as possible. So, in that case, I do think about people’s reaction towards my post before even posting it. But that is a part of my job when it comes to good marketing; I need to know what people like and provide just that in other for me to be a successful influencer. Sometimes I do post things that are out of context. And I feel okay with that. It is my account, after all.
Now that I think about it, I have only become more confident while working through social media. I think it helps seeing yourself on so many pictures. You somehow learn to love yourself and the way you look. I know that this isn’t true for everybody, but it is for me. I have never been discriminated for being an influencer. Maybe because I have always been so confident about it, I embrace who I have become through social media, and so should everyone else; as long as the transformation is positive.
“You will always be enough, and social media shouldn’t decide whether or not you are perfect or not.”
Studies show that influencers have an impact on their follower’s mental health to a certain extent. Do you feel like you have a responsibility towards your follower’s well-being?
In a way, yes, but also no. I would never post anything discriminating or start a conflict with any of my followers. But if my posts make them uncomfortable about themselves, then they really should try to understand that Instagram is just for fun. I decided to get an education because that was more serious and reliable for me. People should focus on what’s really important. You will always be enough, and social media shouldn’t decide whether or not you are perfect.
How did you manage to go through university without failing one single class with a mind split in half by two worlds?
I just decided not to worry anymore. I knew that I would be done with uni sooner or later, and so I set some rules for myself that helped. Everyone learns and works differently, but these steps got me through uni:
1) Don’t stress over your grades – they only show how much time you have spent on studying, not how smart you are.
2) Ask your fellow students to share their notes with you. This will get you a long way, I promise! I stopped buying books after 3. semester because the notes that I gathered were more than enough.
3) Find a study-group that suits you. Going through the curriculum with others will give you a better perspective on the topics. And this is linked to sharing notes as well – share your studies with others!
4) You don’t need to be at every lecture. If you know that a specific lecture won’t soak in as well as others, then just drop it. Read from home instead and spare yourself the exhaustion. I didn’t go to any lectures the last to years and studied from home instead. It ended up being an advantage for me because I was happier and had more time to immerse myself into my readings.