As most of us know, one’s Instagram feed is about as accurate as a movie that's “based on actual events”.
Meaning that, unless you are one of the few who are granted access into your friend’s finsta account – everything you see as you scroll is consciously or subconsciously curated to show a professional, personal or creative highlight reel from that person’s perspective.
Now there’s nothing wrong with that. We do it too, (shout out to Emily for curating 333’s feed and making it good to look at!), but with the increase in studies showing the negative effects of social media on mental health, we wanted to do our part to show a fuller picture.
That’s why, throughout the month, we will be launching our #BehindTheFeed campaign to give readers a deeper insight into the journey, work ethic and mindset of the influencers they follow.
Our goal is to show you, that regardless of follower count, everyone is going or has gone through their own shit. That at 1 follower or 1B followers, no one has it all figured out – they’re just normal people who have dedicated themselves to something they feel passionate about and aligned their mindset with that goal.
Through their story, we also hope to show you a different perspective on mental health and illustrate how it’s more than just a diagnosis – it’s about your overall health and finding a way to forge past negative thoughts or differing opinions of others to find your own personally defined “success”.
Our first Q+A is by Jeremiah Davis, better known as @thatoneblondkid, who's interview touches on key points of mental wellness, such as, surrounding yourself with the right environment, creating something to be personally proud of (rather than creating for the approval of others) and how starting small, then working to stay positive throughout the process can get you to the place you want to be.
Where are you from?
I’m originally from a small town about an hour outside downtown Los Angeles called Claremont. Now I live in Venice, California about 5 properties away from the sand.
What do you do?
I think in short, a description for me would be called a maker, or digital maker – basically I make content online for anyone and everyone who I think is cool. I like to work with brands, influencers, music artists and create photo and video content for them.
Tell us a little more about how you got started.
I got into content creation in high school because my older brother was making a couple thousand dollars from his videos and I thought that it was pretty crazy. So, I tagged team with him and that escalated to me working with other talented photographers, doing video and understanding how to work with clients. Then in college, I worked at a traditional advertising firm which gave me cool insider experience that helped me network and pitch myself to small brands to let me do the cool things I wanted to do, but pay me to do it.
Fast forward a year later, I meet Rory Kramer, he starts putting me on smaller projects-- they turn into bigger projects and now I’m touring with the Chainsmokers for about 50% of the year and the other 50% of the year is working with brands that basically pay me to travel and shoot creative content that I either come up with or collaborate with their creative concepts. So, it’s kind of a crazy dream scenario for a 24-year-old. Now that I get to breath for a second, I’m just laughing to myself, like this is insane.
'In that moment, I just didn’t care. Like screw you guys, I’m gonna go do my thing, whether I was by myself or with a friend or two.'
Give us an example of how your environment has impacted you and your creativity.
When I went to college, I realized that I wanted to take my photo and video more seriously -- it was around this time when Instagram meet ups were happening.
The Instagram meet ups were like people showing up with their iPhone and taking photos with their friends jumping and kicking in the air. It was kind of weird, but if they were successful enough to get a ton of likes and a lot of followers, then it was like… that’s tight – Respect! But if you didn’t have a big following, it was like you’re an idiot. So, I was on the smaller side but had really cool content. I knew I did, but I was just like breaking through that awkward ground of trying to be very proactive in my craft and network.
At the start, I was heckled by my friends, but I don’t even think they knew they were doing it. They weren’t purposefully putting me down, but they definitely didn’t support it because nobody really wanted to support someone who was taking social media a little bit too seriously who wasn’t already successful at it -- and I was that guy.
I feel like a lot of people get pushed down from this scenario, even today. In that moment, I just didn’t care. Like screw you guys, I’m gonna go do my thing, whether I was by myself or with a friend or two.
I think that’s ultimately what led me to not living with the same guys I lived with in college after I graduated because I knew that I wanted to go and be surrounded by creatives and in an environment that pushed me to progress in all aspects of my life.
When I moved to Los Angeles, the community that I got was just insane. My 2 most valuable friendships for creative minds were 15 and 20 minutes away. I was just in this community that was waking up every day to go out and be artsy in this kooky Venice beach town -- it was exactly what I needed. A lot of people didn’t get it from the outside but I was okay with that because when I was an outsider, it didn’t make sense to me either. Now, I don’t really need other people to have it make sense to them; I just do what I have to do.
'Creating something solely to please others will either end very quickly or you’ll just be miserable.'
What inspires you?
This community that I’m in because I feel like I’m around people that really inspire me.
The people I work with most -- Drew Taggart and Alex Pall -- are the most hardworking guys I know, and they motivate me to work crazy hard. I think that’s so impactful in my life because I get to go on tours with them about once a month, but at the same time -- I’m not like 100% on the road with them. So, I get a dose of inspiration from them every time I’m with them. Same thing with Rory Kramer, I get his creativity when we hang out.
But, if I constantly watch their hustle and their grind -- then I would start comparing myself. I feel like that’s where a lot of people get into dangerous position.
I think when it comes to finding inspiration from people’s work on social media or online, it’s inspirational in the sense that you realize you want it – but it’s also discouraging in the sense that it doesn't always put you into action. It’s just makes you want something that you can’t really obtain immediately. So in a way, it’s healthy to be inspired by people, but it’s also important to not constantly look at those people that inspire you because in the long run, it’s going to bring you down.
It’s easier said than done, but I think the solution is to keep yourself busy. Like if your so focused on your own thing that you don’t get to look at social media that much – then that’s a beautiful thing.
Any tips to stay to take care of your mindset through the process?
This is something Rory told me, and I think it’s something I lived by before he told me but he spelled it out in a really blunt way. He was like, “Make edits for yourself”.
At the end of the day, if you are turning in edits that are just to satisfy someone else, you’re not in the right place. It’s not a sustainable creative process. Creating something solely to please others will either end very quickly or you’ll just be miserable.
And that’s scary – when you have to give someone your video for approval, you obviously want to do your best and give them something they’re going to be happy with, but you should also kind of push the limit; sit back and realize, “I think this is sick and I think they will too, but even if they doesn’t I feel like I can explain myself so that they can see my side of it”.
What do you think you struggle with?
My mental wellness journey is very immature in the sense that I have no awareness of it and I feel like a lot of people don’t.
This is why I was so excited about the project with 333, because you guys were like “mental health is more than just being depressed,” because I don’t see myself as being depressed – but caring about your mental wellness is ultimately about being healthy.
I think if we all start acknowledging mental health as both a positive and negative thing, we will have a greater awareness to the ups and downs and learn how to stay on top of it or take care of it when we need to.
I always thought mental wellness or health was like, “Oh it’s bad”, but health goes both ways – good and bad. Maybe I’m the only one, but I feel like a lot of people don’t process it as a good or bad thing.
It’s something that I’m starting to be aware of because I tend to have a positive mindset, but why and how do I keep this?
That’s something I’m going through -- and I think a lot of people younger than my age have also started going through and teaching themselves now for when down the road, things get rough, you know why you were in a positive mindset back in the day.