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A snapshot of our ‘Disruptors’ issue cover story, with Sarah Langa

I vaguely remember the launch of the Instagram app back in 2010. The excitement of sharing images online that can be viewed by people from around the world introduced me to so many talented creatives.

I also remember the rise of Instagram influencers or digital content creators globally, individuals that perfected the Instagram aesthetic from the word go with beautiful images and poses.They had us mesmerised with their perfect posts and cool outfits.

The digital creator’s scene has rapidly taken shape around the world and the ‘cool kids,’ as we fondly refer to them, are now a powerful movement, with influencer marketing a growing phenomenon that is currently worth billions.

I will never forget my first international influencer trip to London with a beauty brand. Several local influencers were on the trip with me, including Sarah Langa. Tasked with creating content around the new products being launched, our two-night stay in London was exhausting, packed with activities, and memorable.

As a young lifestyle journalist, I observed with awe the dedication and attention to detail Sarah and the others poured into their images. Using professional cameras and other gadgets, they meant business, while all I wanted to do was just take in London’s tourist attractions.

It’s no surprise that Sarah is now celebrating a decade as a digital content creator. She has been focused and consistent from the beginning and has carved out a spot for herself in a luxury industry that’s quickly becoming saturated.

Sarah shares with GLAMOUR her journey and life in general.

GLAMOUR: Tell us about your earliest childhood fashion memory?

SARAH: Growing up, I loved dress-up parties, and I was so fortunate to always be in environments that allowed me to really explore my passion for fashion. My grandmother was a wedding dress designer, and my mother would help with all the beading and the more intricate aspects of her pieces. I learned how to sew before I could even write, and I remember going to dress-up parties draped in metres of my favourite fabrics and safety pins.

I would imagine myself getting dressed up for a red-carpet event and walking around the house posing for my family as if they were the paparazzi.

What inspired your love for digital content creation?

I love connecting with like-minded people and finding a platform that allows me to express myself and explore my passion points while connecting with an audience that values and appreciates the topics that inspire makes me feel like I have a voice.

Content creation became a big part of my life in university. I found a platform that allowed me to express myself when it came to fashion in an environment of academics. I would get dressed up for lectures and post my campus looks every day with Wits’s great hall as my backdrop. I walked the corridors in between my BSc lectures like I was walking the runway at a fashion show. Eventually, I built a solid community of young academics with a passion for fashion but felt restricted in how they could express themselves because they studied very conventional degrees.

While I knew I had this creative side, the thought of following a career that was creative would have been di cult for my family to accept, given my academic background and the scholarship opportunities that I had. I was so good at maths and science that I grew up believing I would be an actuary or even a biomedical engineer.

Creating content online slowly became an outlet for me; a space where I could freely express myself through fashion while in an academic environment.

Photogrpahy by ZANDER OPPERMAN

You have an exceptional sense of style, where does that come from, and where do you get your inspiration?

I draw inspiration from everything around me; from conversations, culture, people and even spaces. Beautiful spaces make me feel beautiful. Sometimes, if I’ve had a bad week, I’ll go to a restaurant or coffee shop with an amazing interior, because I know I’ll take a picture for socials. The next thing you know, just the thought of stopping by a coffee shop has inspired me to get out of the house looking my best, and when I look my best, I feel my best.

My Instagram feed is really a visual board of things that move me and if at any point I lack inspiration, moving to spaces where everything feels fresh just continues to generate new inspiration.

Congratulations on your 10-year anniversary as a luxury digital content creator. What have been some of your career highlights?

OMG! Thank you, it's so major! A whole decade doing what I love...I’m so blessed and grateful.

Working with incredible brands that believe in me and invest in my dreams has been a big highlight.

As a South African, getting to attend fashion weeks globally across New York, London, Paris and Portugal feels like a big responsibility. I would have moments where I’m sitting in the front row with big content creators, and quickly realised how privileged I was because there wasn’t anyone else like me there.

Tell us about your relationship with TRESemmé and what it means to you?

TRESemmé has believed in me from early on in my career. Hair has always been such a huge part of my life because of how it intertwines with fashion, and because hair is such a major part of one’s identity.

Until recently I really didn’t know how I wanted to represent my style and power in that way. It’s been a long and challenging journey discovering and learning about that part of myself.

I always felt so unsettled when it came to my career and hair because I realised how one impacted the other. I would get to a shoot with fresh braids and had to cut them off because it wasn’t part of the brief.

Working with a brand like TRESemmé was such a relief because I knew I had a family that always allowed me to show up as I am and accepted the constantly evolving version of myself.

Photogrpahy by ZANDER OPPERMAN

The social media and digital marketing landscape is constantly evolving, so what do you think will be the most important future trends in those areas and how will they affect influencers going forwards?

The future of the influencer space will be quite interesting to watch. We now have AI (Artificial Intelligence) influencers, which is an introduction to a technology-based influencer mechanism and strategy.

It’s important for influencers to explore more research-based approaches in identifying key sector trends to ensure what they pitch and execute fits our modern times.

Considering the global recession, it is also important for content to be relatable and accessible. I believe the time for unattainable motivation has passed and content needs to be more realistic and authentic.

We also find ourselves at the mercy of ever-changing social media algorithms, so a multi-faceted approach to developing competencies in photography, videography and spoken dialogue ensures that content reaches the right target market.

The future of influencer marketing will be focused on quality over quantity. I see brands focusing less on numbers and more on content. This will force a shift from people who are just popular being successful online to having real creatives push the infl uencer space through endorsements with multi-dimensional alignment.

Do you see yourself as a marketer?

I see myself more as a digital media entrepreneur, as marketing is just one of the many aspects of digital media influencing. Yes, we do approach brands in swaying public opinion, but over and above that, it is a platform that highlights pertinent socio-economic issues affecting the public and youth. So yes, I am a part-marketer but above that, there is more that my job and career entails.

What is the best life advice (or lesson learned in business) that you’ve ever received?

One of my closest friends, and now my life and wellness coach, Adrienne Everett has imparted inspiration in our daily conversations through this daily GBB quote that she lives by: “Good Better Best - never let it rest until your good is better and your better is best which aligns with my daily affirmation and my own values that drives me in business and generally in life.”

Read the full cover story in our June/July ‘Disruptor’ issue at the link here or pick up a physical copy in stores from Monday 12 June 2023.

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