by Daphné Leprince-Ringuet
Fashion blogger and Instagram ‘inspirer’ Tania Bunic is wearing an electric blue and red summer dress as she hurries in Mare Street Market, the hottest place to be in Hackney. Next to her, my leather jacket and Doc Martens look pretty plain.
After our interview, she is going to the Chelsea Flower Show- and she is photo-ready.
Tania is the creator of The London Thing, a blog about beauty, fashion and lifestyle that has more than 60,000 followers on Instagram. Sharing her life online as a “full-time wanderluster forever chasing light in cute outfits” is working well- in fact, it has become one of her main activities and a source of income.
“People think it’s easy,” she says. “They think I just snap myself, put it out there and get loads of followers. They don’t see how much hard work and dedication and passion go into it.”
First and foremost, she clarifies, The London Thing is about creating valuable content for her readers. She doesn’t think of herself as a journalist – instead, she posts information that is more personal: what it was like to stay at Apart’Hotel in Paris; what colours to pack for a trip to Switzerland; tips on how to look after your skin. All her posts are paired with carefully planned pictures of the writer herself.
In essence, she documents her life. In the virtual world that we have adopted, this constitutes a full-time job.
Tania starts to fidget. “I honestly really think people follow me for the content that I put out there,” she says, pausing before adding: “Well, and for myself. It is something I still find difficult to believe, because I still sometimes don’t really know why they are following me. I’m just taking pictures.”
Another pause. “But then I do really try to capture the moment, the location, the clothes, and myself within that moment. I try to go out of my way to document the things that I do, so it’s a constant flow of information and inspiration for them.”
It seems that Tania struggles to come to terms with the fact that her life inexplicably fascinates thousands of followers– to the point where she can make a living out of it.
And when your life is your job, do you ever stop thinking in Instagram squares?
Tania says: “You don’t have to share anything that you don’t want to. But it is true that everything I do is about creating content – each brunch I go to, I have to take photos, think about the light, think about the outfit.”
“Social media is pretty much my life, and I don’t get to take time off. If I did, people would unfollow me. It is constant pressure to have something fresh to deliver.”
I tell her about Australian ex-influencer Essena O’Neill, who in 2015 quit her social media empire of more than 700,000 followers because of the poisonous control it had over her life and the pressure of consistently sustaining an online image of perfection.
But Tania doesn’t think a nervous breakdown is on the cards for her. “I try to document my real self. So the reason I look happy online is because I am a happy person. I never want to do anything that will negatively impact my life and therefore show on my feed. Because your life will show on your feed.”
But Tania is adamant that the difference between Essena O’Neill and herself is that she is a blogger first: “Not an Instagram influencer. I am more of an inspirer.”
In the wide world of social media, there could be a difference between the two that I simply do not understand. But I am not the only one, according to Tania: “People don’t get the idea that I live off blogging, and I’m always so conscious to introduce myself as a blogger – so I just say I create content for brands, or for myself.
“I went on a date with this guy once, and as soon as he found out I was a blogger he said I was just an insecure Instagrammer. And then he told all his flatmates about the insecure Instagrammer he went on a date with.”
She laughs it off and gets up, ready to go. “I’ll just insecurely bike to the flower show now,” she says with a smile, and before I know it, she has given me two kisses on the cheek and is running out in an electric blue flurry. Instagram has not yet taken her sense of self-deprecation.
Featured Image supplied by Tania Bunic