“We all have something unique and different that we’ve learned and we can give to others. Personal branding is about leveraging that. It’s about offering what you have as value for others.”
Social media can often be a source of inspiration or a spiral into lost time and negativity. But since re-connecting with Catalina after high school through her Instagram, her videos and snapshots of growth have re-affirmed the need for more vulnerability and empowerment on the platform. Her courageous calls to action and reminders on self love have simply been refreshing. To scroll through thousands of pieces of content on a daily basis and to be bombarded with information through the increasing digitalization of the world we live in, it can be too easy to be swept away by meaningless or harmful messages. Catalina’s content often brings a smile to my face or questions to ponder over… and it’s been great to delve a bit further into what inspired her to share from places of vulnerability regarding self esteem and health.
C: Since following along your journey since high school, you’ve been putting out content on the importance of fitness and how it’s changed your life. I love the empowering and honest content you put out there to instigate people to be more reflective within their physical and mental health journeys. What does fitness mean to you? What’s your fitness journey been like and how has it impacted your life? And how has the theme of well-being that you advocate for, ring true within fitness itself?
Cat: What fitness meant for me in the past was very different to how I view fitness now. But previously, fitness was solely extrinsic. It came from a place of insecurity. At 13-14 years old, I was going through high school and unhappy with how I looked. Physical appearance at that time was incredibly important to me and I had this desire to fit in. Generally, a lot of girls can understand this but it was intensified from some of the insecurities that my dad would point out. However, as I got older, I saw how I was the only girl in the weight room and it gave me a confidence boost. In my senior years of high school, the gym became a place of building community where it was social and fun to spend a lot of time with friends through working out together.
The biggest difference now, is that fitness is rooted within me. It was a pivot point of recognizing this shift from fitness being motivated externally to something much more internal, intrinsic. It was an outlet and stress reliever. Working out allowed me to feel happier, to push myself, and to develop confidence. The reason I work out is I found a new way to care for myself; dedicating time to prioritize my emotional and mental health, and most importantly, loving myself. The physical, emotional, and mental well-being are all inter-connected.
“What you have out there and can be seen by others represents your own brand. The importance then, of valuable content is putting stuff out there that tells people what you stand for or what you work for… which will end up attracting people with similar passions. You get to build your own community and that is powerful.”
C: I love that you point to the essence of motivation and how powerful it was within the context of your journey, to look from external motivators and focus within. I’m so glad that you found such a beautiful way to interact with people and to extend upon your own growth both physically, mentally, and emotionally. On to this point of putting out content, you’ve always been very vocal in this journey and striving to share thoughts or ideas with others. You recently, launched Uncover Your Brand, which I wanted to congratulate you for, especially with the successful panel event that occurred a few months ago. What inspired you to start Uncover Your Brand and what do you think the importance of having a personal brand is in this day and age?
Cat: The story of starting Uncover Your Brand has a lot to do with Instagram actually! I was in second year living in a basement suite by myself when I began to post fitness content on Instagram. Originally, the target audience for my content was for girls where I wanted to motivate them and instill a desire for them to go to the gym.
I remember when someone reached out to me and asked me to share about my overall health routine and fitness lifestyle. She mostly felt super self-conscious of how she looked like. Especially, when she went to the gym, she would feel fat and ugly. And when she had shared that, I was like “Wow, I know how that feels, I know exactly how that feels like.” It’s this journey that I take on everyday, that many young women take on everyday. There’s no easy solution to alleviating feelings like that. But in the days that followed, I would keep in touch with her. Her vulnerability through her sharing was eye opening; how she placed her trust in me and believed in me enough to listen and to want to hear my advice.
I feel like that is the power of valuable content. This is the power of a personal brand. Everyone has something to offer to someone else. That moment changed me. I realized that she only was able to reach out to me because she saw my content. Content that came from a place of vulnerability and honesty.
So I wanted to teach people the power of social media and to help even more people and support girls in real life. I reached out to someone I very much admire and look up to, Yzobel, to pitch out this idea. We met up, talked, and came up with this event that was meant for girls to overcome their obstacles and feel confident as well as supported. Our first event was women focused. And that was how UYB started out and began gaining momentum.
As for the importance of having a personal brand in this day and age is that:
First, everyone has a different story. We all have something unique and different that we’ve learned and we can give to others. Personal branding is about leveraging that. It’s about offering what you have as value for others.
Second, the direction that society is heading in is something like a public resume on scale. There’s a lot of traction on Instagram. What you have out there and can be seen by others represents your own brand. The importance then, of valuable content is putting stuff out there that tells people what you stand for or what you work for… which will end up attracting people with similar passions. You get to build your own community and that is powerful. Being consistent on what you stand for will end up attracting the right people.
C: Wow, I love that part about building community. I never thought about it that way. I completely identify with the part you talk about the power in story telling and creating value. But, you’re absolutely right because putting out content is a catalyst for driving people who are interested in the same things or have the same values. That in itself is beyond relationship building but creating a community hub. I think one thing I have to ask is that putting out content isn’t easy as you’re putting yourself out there. What are some of the challenges you’ve faced with social media and how do you tackle them? For the readers out there perhaps, who want to get started with content creation for instance, what would you like to share with them?
Cat: My biggest challenge in the beginning was putting out good content. Last year, I always had great creative ideas but I felt at times I was forcing it because I wanted to be consistent. If I didn’t post for a few days, I had these self perceived notions that people would think that I wasn’t consistent so essentially it was my perception of people’s expectations that I had placed on myself. I would then apologize. I would apologize to the point that many people reached out to me to tell me that it was okay and I didn’t have to apologize. I had to ask myself, so why did I put so much pressure on myself? Even though a lot of people were supportive, when you begin to put yourself out there, you naturally expect negative comments. That really can stop you before you even start.
What I would say is that from the start, my philosophy was: I can either focus on the “x amount” of people who unfollowed me or I can focus on the “x amount” of people who stayed with me and continue to support my work. If people judge me, I think it’s a great filter for finding the people who really matter. It’s a blessing in disguise for anyone looking to create content and to put themselves out there because you don’t need that in your life. You’ll be able to filter out negative people and end up with the supportive people. I really believe that sometimes people need to leave and that there are people who won’t stay in your life. But it’s always about not taking it personally.
The last tip I would share is that social media can be so distracting. Algorithms favour constant engagement and it can be very difficult to dissociate from my phone. There were times I would be checking my phone every few minutes and I felt glued to my phone. But I’ve learned to take some time and to not respond right away. I’ve begun to train myself to not be reactive and I’ve found that it’s helpful to set aside chunks of time to answer things especially for productivity purposes.
Leave a Reply