“The most lasting way to feel beautiful, though, is to change the voices in your head.” With Ming Zhao & Brynn Tweeddale

We as a collective society spend very little time reflecting on how we feel — what makes us happy and what doesn’t. I want to inspire people to take leaps in their lives, even when those leaps go different directions than the norm. Too many of us are stuck in jobs we don’t love, living […]

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We as a collective society spend very little time reflecting on how we feel — what makes us happy and what doesn’t. I want to inspire people to take leaps in their lives, even when those leaps go different directions than the norm. Too many of us are stuck in jobs we don’t love, living lives that stress us out, with too much fear to make a change. I want others to know you can get more out of life by living as authentically you.

Attimes it feels like wellness or elevating one’s wellbeing, is diametrically opposed to high achievement and high performance in one’s career. The stress, mental energy, long hours, lack of restful sleep and preoccupation that result from a high-achievement life seem to directly inhibit wellness. And yet, in order to sustain the creativity, flexibility, mental acuity and resilience that are necessary for high performance, wellness and wellbeing of the mind, body and soul are also mandatory. So how do we achieve both? This is the question I’m hoping to answer through conversations with high-achieving leaders and influencers who are practicing their own philosophies about how to maintain their wellbeing.

As a part of our series about “Social Media Influencers Share Their Top Self Care, Wellness, and Beauty Tips, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brynn Tweeddale.

Creator, developer, entrepreneur, and adventurer, Brynn Tweeddale is always trying to outdo herself when it comes to enjoying life. A Seattle native with a drive to explore, learn, and eat good food, Brynn is passionate about creating content that highlights her adventures, however big or small they may be, to fulfill her creative drive and inspire others to live their best lives. She has had the opportunity to work with brands such as Movado, Lulus, Zappos, and rue21 as a content creator. Her core belief is to never stop seeking happiness. After recently summiting Kilimanjaro (all 19,341ft!), she’s currently planning her next move, so stay tuned.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory of how you came upon this career path and to where you are today?

I started my content creator career more on the photography side than the modeling or influencer side. I didn’t use Instagram prior to starting my account that I run today, and my first content was documenting a two-month trip to the Philippines. Then, two things happened. First, I got a full-time job that made traveling more difficult, so I wasn’t shooting as much travel content anymore. I also got more comfortable being in front of the camera and transitioned from being the behind-the-scenes photographer to the in-front-of-the-camera persona. I started in June 2016, so it’s been a little more than 3 years now. I generally take on at least 5 collaborations if not more a month, mostly in the fashion and beauty spaces. That’s one source of my income, but I also work a full-time job and co-founded BXE Creative, a marketing and design agency for small businesses, with my boyfriend during college.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’m definitely grateful for my boyfriend, Esteban Parreno. He pushed me into getting started on Instagram and is my creative partner, main photographer, and support system. I’ve struggled with insecurities for all of my life, and it’s an ongoing struggle. I can easily say I would have never started this Instagram journey without his push and belief in me. For my very first post on Instagram (it’s still there if you enjoy cyberstalking), he set up a photo studio in a warehouse and took hundreds of photos of me. I actually cried because I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I’ve come a long way since then.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

You know, I wouldn’t necessarily say I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way. I’ve tested different strategies and methods both for marketing myself and my brand on Instagram and also during the creative process itself, but I’ve been lucky that nothing has blown up in my face — yet. My first collaboration is a little funny to me. It was a hammock, and they contacted me in my DMs from a very illegitimate looking account. It all ended up working out, and we still use the hammock today, but I’m definitely not proud of the content I made back then. I find the whole thing a little bit cringy. I learned since then that the best collaborations are with brands that fit into your current lifestyle, and I’ve gotten better at choosing brands to work with since then.

As an influencer, you have been blessed with great success in a career path that many have attempted, but eventually gave up on. In fact, perhaps most people who tried to follow a career path like yours did not succeed. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path but know that their dreams might be dashed?

I think relying on being an influencer as a full-time career is a pipe dream for most people. Even though I do earn income through content creation, I’m still supplementing that income with my full-time job and my business. The biggest issue I see with relying on being an influencer as a career is that your income is usually coming from brand collaborations. When all of your income is coming through these collaborations, it can be hard to stick to your morals and choose collaborations that truly represent you, your brand, and your audience. I don’t want to have to make the choice between paying my living expenses and representing a brand I don’t believe in. I think it’s more realistic for people interested in this career path to think about how being an influencer or content creator can help them achieve their other career goals.

Can you share with our readers some of your strategies you’ve used to build an engaged, loyal, and large online community?

I try to be present with my community as much as I can. I definitely have boundaries with social media, though. I would say I probably spend less time on social media than you might think. It’s easy to start to build a fake persona or to try to be someone you’re not when you feel the pressure of competing against all the other influencers out there. But being someone that you’re not is exhausting and not sustainable in the long run. So, I try to stay as authentically me on the platform, and I think that’s something that my followers pick up on.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview. In my work, I focus on how one can thrive and care for oneself in three areas: body, mind, and heart.

You are a busy person with a demanding schedule, can you share with our readers two self-care routines, practices or treatments that help your body thrive? (Kindly share a story or an example for each.)

My first self-care practice is dance. I grew up dancing since I was 3, and the routine of a ballet class is something that is very calming and reflective for me. When things get stressful, I tend to drop commitments, but I’ve realized that keeping up with my dance classes even when they seem to take up so much time is an important part of staying in a positive and healthy mindset. I also signed up for a heels class that provides a different sort of energy than ballet and helps boost my confidence and self-image when I’m feeling low.

The other way I care for my body is by getting outside. When I’m at my full-time job, that means sometimes picking up lunch a mile away just so I can take some time outside by myself. When I get home, it means taking my dog out to the park near my house or walking down to the waterfront. Even a small walk is a way to recenter not only my body but my mind, too.

Can you share with us two routines that you use to help your mind or heart to thrive? (Kindly share a story or example for each.)

I’ve noticed that if I don’t keep my mind busy learning something new, it’s easy to fall in a rut. I’m a person who always feels like I’m running out of time to do all the things I want to do. To help me keep up with my long-term goals, I try to set at least one small, achievable goal that aligns with how I want to grow as a person per day. It could be as simple as spending 30 minutes cleaning, or it could be something like looking up classes for a new skill I want to learn. Either way, I think breaking down goals and habits into smaller steps each day makes it easier to stay focused and keeps my mind busy.

Another routine I try to do daily to help my mind out is spending time reading (and not on social media). I like to read the Ask Polly column on The Cut and also occasionally world news that I would otherwise miss. Sometimes I read articles about issues I care about such as women’s rights. Other times, I’ll read a fiction book via Scribd or Kindle. Reading is a great way to open your mind to new concepts and theories, and it’s a good distraction from what we normally spend our time reading — social media.

Can you share 3 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)

Everyone is different, but the biggest transformative beauty moment I had was when I stayed in the Philippines for two months during the summer. The humidity and heat made it practically impossible to keep makeup on, so after a few days I pretty much gave up on makeup. Getting used to going out with an au naturel face made me more comfortable in my own skin and appreciative of my natural beauty. I think taking a break from makeup and beauty treatments every once in a while can be rewarding. Plus, facing those imperfections that we normally use makeup to hide gives the opportunity to learn tricks to caring for your skin and face better. Now, I’m a lot more confident in my skincare, and I use less makeup on a daily basis.

Another thing that makes me feel beautiful is taking the time to pamper myself, just for me. Whether that’s doing my favorite skin mask or getting dressed up to the nines for no reason at all, I’m always in a better mood when I spend some time taking care of me. Even wearing that new dress around the house can lift up my mood compared to old PJs and a t-shirt (though nothing’s wrong with lazy days!). My favorite cheap fix is the elf Bubble Mask — the bubbles feel amazing on my skin. Getting my nails done has the same effect. I always feel more put together and ready to go after!

The most lasting way to feel beautiful, though, is to change the voices in your head. A lot of us have such critical inner voices that tell us all our flaws and insecurities all day long. The more that you work on fighting that inner dialogue and changing it to be more positive, the more you can let your inner beauty shine. Thoughts such as, “My hair looks so bad today” can be reframed to be “This would be a great day to wear a hat!” It sounds cheesy but finding positives in negative thoughts can help form a healthier, happier self-image overall.

Is there a particular resource, a practitioner, expert, book, or podcast that made a significant impact on you and helped you to thrive? Can you share a story about that with us?

I started this journey while I was in college, so schoolbooks came before influencer books if that makes sense. My biggest inspirations as an influencer have always been other influencers. I personally am addicted to @daniaustin’s stories — her quirky personality always shines through, and I appreciate that she vets the products that she recommends. I also love how open @emmasedition is about her business techniques for collaborations as an influencer. Her transparency is always appreciated and helps other influencers like me make smarter choices with our own careers.

Do you have a story about the strangest, most bizarre or funniest wellness treatment that you’ve ever experienced?

I personally really enjoy microneedling/dermarolling at home. It’s basically where you take a sanitized roller that has lots of tiny needles and rolls it across your face to create microabrasions under the skin. The idea is that your skin will produce more collagen to heal these invisible abrasions, leading to younger and healthier skin. Some benefits that have been scientifically backed include a reduction in scarring (especially deep scars from acne or chickenpox) and in fine lines or wrinkles. It sounds a bit painful and your next facial specialist will look at you in horror if you tell them you do it at home, but I find the whole process to be safe if you are sanitizing correctly and also great for my skin.

As an influencer, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

The thing I find is missing the most in this world right now is happiness. We as a collective society spend very little time reflecting on how we feel — what makes us happy and what doesn’t. I want to inspire people to take leaps in their lives, even when those leaps go different directions than the norm. Too many of us are stuck in jobs we don’t love, living lives that stress us out, with too much fear to make a change. I want others to know you can get more out of life by living as authentically you.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂

Honestly, I would love to have a private chat with other successful content creators or bloggers. I feel like I have so much to learn in the space, and there’s no one better to learn from than the source themselves.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

My main platform is as @br.yy on Instagram, and I also have a small blog called Between Smiles (https://www.betweensmiles.co/). You can also find me on Pinterest (@betweensmiles).

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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