Content creators, digital entrepreneurs, influencers – whatever you choose to call them, your hourly Instagram scroll is never without them. And while we continue to revisit the platform that can make us feel so below par, the truth is simple: they’re just winning the social-media game, and we’re all still trying to pass GO (or at the desks of our real jobs). One woman, however, is standing in the face of influencer-types and laughing – loudly.
Meet Sara Zaetir, otherwise known as Jenn Zee, the ingenious brain behind Instagram account @BloggerWanabe. Before you shudder at her account handle and hit the back button, wait. This isn’t your usual situation – in fact, it’s the ultimate eye-roll. Zaetir’s satirical account is dedicated purely to throwing shade at the influencer craze. Her sarcastic photos and videos are brutally honest, but endearingly light-hearted, and use this balance to highlight the transparency and narcissistic truth behind the posed photos we’re all so accustomed to seeing (and double-tapping).
Branded by her nearest and dearest as the ultimate funny girl, Zaetir started her account as a practical joke between friends, but it has unintentionally grown into a comedic social-media phenomenon. The result? 18,000 fans demanding more of the funny, always-sarcastic stuff. Savoir Flair sat down with the Lebanese blogger wannabe to discuss her alter ego and how she keeps up with her content.
Let’s start from the beginning. Where did the idea come from?
It was another regular lazy day, and a girlfriend was over. I started getting ready to go out, and after I had put my outfit on, she started making fun of me, saying “You look like such a blogger right now.” We then continued to make fun and shared my outfit photo in a girls’ group, and they all thought it was pretty funny. It’s always been in my character to be a joker.
That’s who I am in my group of friends – I’m the one who always finds something to mock or the one to make everyone laugh, so they begged me to start a private Instagram account called @BloggerWanabe and post there as a joke. I did, but I did not expect all these people to react the way they did. I continued with the blogger joke and posted my first Instagram story saying, “Hi guys! I just came back from a long day of shooting.” The amount of views and comments I started getting were like never before! Everyone was sending me so much encouragement to do more of it, so I continued.
What message are you trying to communicate? What is your ultimate goal in the creation of this alter ego?
I’m trying to communicate that the lives you see these bloggers and influencers lead are not real. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the influencers are my friends, and I know how they live. I’m sitting right next to them when they put up a post. It’s all acting. They are professionals, and they’re doing their job. They get paid to look great and post what they post. I don’t blame them. This is what they do for a living, and they support their families doing it. In reality, these girls are like you and me. They live regular lives – they just happen to pose and take photos of every occasion.
Are there any specific issues you have with the blogging/influencer community?
As I said, half of my friends are influencers. They’re so supportive of what I am doing, and they are taking it in such a light-hearted way. I’m not trying to make fun of them. It’s not personal at all, and they know that. They even make fun of themselves sometimes.
Could you ever have imagined you’d get such a response?
Not at all! I thought only my friends would’ve enjoyed it. It exploded, but I really am who you see on Instagram. I always make fun of things and keep it light-hearted, which is why I didn’t think it would be such a big deal.
What was the response from actual influencers? Have you received any backlash?
Not at all – if anything, I got words of encouragement!
Do you think it’s fair to stereotype all bloggers and influencers?
I have a lot of friends in this industry, and they do it to make good money. It’s a job at the end of the day. They will need to do whatever it takes to look more appealing and gain traction, although they are just like us.
What’s your day job?
Blogger! No, seriously, I work for a family business. My dad owns a phone distribution company in Dubai.
If you could swap lives with one influencer for the day, who would it be?
No one. It takes me five minutes to do the entire video-editing process, but I’m still tired of going to different places to actually shoot and then respond to all the comments. Their lives are hectic – your phone becomes your life, and that just doesn’t interest me.
In your opinion, is the hype around influencers a temporary phase or something that is here to stay?
When Facebook came out, we all went crazy. We couldn’t believe that we were talking to people that we hadn’t talked to nor heard about in years. Then came Instagram, and we kind of forgot about Facebook. It took over the world, took over all media outlets. We live in a social-media era, so who knows what’s coming soon? Something new will come out and potentially change the way we see influencers today.
What is your most and least favorite aspect of inhabiting this character?
I love that people enjoy my posts. It’s so much fun, especially when they look forward to me posting new things. The ugly part is that, at the end of the day, I feel like I’m a “clown” to people. I am here to entertain. I can no longer be serious in public – now, people actually have expectations of me to constantly be funny. People stop me all the time, and I have to always have my funny mode on. Yes, I am the joker, but not all the time! I’m like Mr. Bean now. But hey, it’s all part of the show. Enjoy it. P.S. I love my tan.