The fashion influencer gives tips on business, social media, and homemade tipples.
“An influencer is someone who has accumulated a lot of experience, knows how to identify a niche, and has a message that is unique, powerful, and in my opinion, empowering,” says fashion influencer Simonetta Lien.” In 2020, we truly need inspiration. Its why people will follow that special person to get those tips, those ideas, that inspiration that they otherwise would not have.”
Calling Lein a social media influencer is like calling Jeff Bezos rich; the term is all but a gross understatement. CEO, entrepreneur, actress, TV host, author, columnist, model, one of the top 100 fashion influencers on the planet, and the brains behind The Wishwall Foundation, an initiative to addressing social issues such as literacy, poverty, women’s issues, and medical outreach—Lein is a walking, talking dynamo. With almost four thousand YouTube subscribers, 194,000 followers on Twitter, and a whopping 2.3 million on Instagram, not even COVID-19 can slow this wheeler-dealer down.
“I was able to continue my TV show, The Simonetta Lein Show, that I started before the coronavirus,” says Lein. “That was like winning a world championship because it is so hard. But I challenged myself, I challenged my team, and we were able to deliver no matter what, and that made me stand out from others. That is one of the tests I always give when other entrepreneurs ask me what they can do to be different from others. I’ve shown that entrepreneurs are thriving right now. Yes, there is a huge crisis, but people are finding a way to thrive through it. You have to adapt.”
As well as be nimble. While conventional business tripped flat on its face thanks to quarantines and lockdowns, the online equivalent, including social media buzz, positively bounds at a brisk clip and is even picking up speed. But whether it is an incarnation of a societal “woke moment” or COVID-19 making work for idle hands, the virtual landscape is now under fire from cancel culture. The thermonuclear bomb of social media, cancel culture was once brushed off as an Internet joke, but is now leaving craters where Ellen DeGeneres, New York Times editor James Bennet, and even other influencers like Jeffree Star and Shane Dawson once stood. Cyberspace may have become a shooting gallery, but Lein navigates the virtual slings and arrows with not only dignity, but even grace.
Italian-born but now a proud Philadelphian, she has some matter-of-fact tips for up-and-comers on the influencing game: Take note of popular hashtags, as well as boning up on current events and trends to keep your content topical and fresh. Just as with IRL (social media-speak for “in real life”), always put your best foot forward and never in your mouth. Most of all, Lien warns, no catfishing—the inevitably doomed-to-fail practice of pretending to be something you are not so as to increase digital allure. Such bald-face lying is a favorite food of cancel culture.
“As crazy as it sounds, you have to live your life. If you don’t have real-life experiences, then you don’t have good content to share,” says Lein. “I need that ‘every-day life’ content to bring to my audience. And honestly, it’s crucial; we are all going through a lot right now, and we need to keep it real. Being the best version of myself is the best advice I can give to my followers.”
What do you do in your downtime?
I stay with my husband and watch tons of movies.
What are your favorite cuisines?
I’m Italian; I cook at home! My husband is an amazing cook, too. But I love Asian food, Japanese food, Thai, and Vietmanese.
What are your favorite bars?
I don’t really go to bars; but here in Philadelphia I like the City Tavern because it’s old-school. It looks the way a place would when George Washington was still alive.
What are your favorite drinks?
Prosecco, of course!
Do you prepare drinks at home?
Sometimes. I like Mimosas. They are very simple. We also make homemade limoncello. My husband even made “mandarin-cello!” We grew the mandarin tree, and he made it from scratch! And he made a cream of mandarin-cello. We bought the cream from the Amish, it was all organic, and it came out delicious!
What’s in your home bar?
Bailey’s. An Italian liqueur, Strega, that no one else has heard of. Very Italian. Lots of wines.
How to stay influential.
It’s a tough question. You have to love what you do, and you have to be on all social media. As crazy as it sounds, you also have to live your life, meaning that if you don’t have real-life experiences, you don’t even have good content to share. Social media is change, and it’s changing the world. If you think about fashion before social media, it was walking the runway. It was the old-school way of doing fashion shows and then social media fashion influencers came in and changed the industry. I personally tried to see the hashtags people are using, what’s going on in the world (because social media will bring it to you), and I try to detach sometimes to live my life because I need that ‘every-day life’ content to bring to my audience, and honestly, that’s crucial. In 2020, we are all going through a lot right now, and we need to keep it real. And that’s one thing. I stay on top being there, going outside, and being the best version of myself when I go there and bring the best advice to my followers.
It is very difficult to choose! Can I not choose? I like them all. They are all part of my brand. In 2020 I proved a lot of people wrong when they said I can only be one thing to succeed. You have to have a coherent message and a heart that is pure. If you show your heart and soul, people will see that. You can be all those things and people will still get you. Modeling is a favorite because I really like to create with my team and being an interpreter. I am also an actress, and I use that talent when I model. I become a part of what I am wearing, setting the mood. Being an influencer is one of my favorites because I can bring my content and inspire people and have my followers write how they are doing good with their life. And being CEO, it brings out the businesswoman in me. It grounds me. Being a businessperson taught me a lot about myself and be a better person through my business.