Meet, Racquel Natasha, verified fashion & lifestyle influencer, with 192k IG followers. Racquel has an insanely unique background – she is a combination of Portuguese, Indian, Chinese, Guyanese, and Canadian. Born in Guyana raised in Canada, Racquel now resides in California and is mostly known for her lifestyle content travelling the world, rocking gorgeous swimwear. She is truly the swimwear queen, which is not surprising considering her body is GOALS.
SO you may be wondering how did the beautiful Racquel get to where she is today and ALSO get that verification badge everyone is striving for? Let’s get to it!
When did you first start using social media?
I got instagram in 2011-2012 and at the time, my settings for my profile were on private. At the beginning, I was using it for personal use only. In 2013, I decided to make my profile public, but I still continued to only post personal content for my friends. In 2014, I went travelling with my boyfriend, and he was from Sweden, and as you may already know, Swedish girls are massive bloggers. This is what inspired me to follow all of their blogs, and eventually made me say “I’m going to start a blog just for fun.” After launching an official website, it wasn’t until the end of 2014, early 2015, that I began to really ramp up my instagram content and gear it more towards fashion and swimwear.
Walk me through the step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today. What was the first thing you did? Next?
At the beginning of my blogging career, I was simply collaborating with a lot of photographers in the LA area, as I wasn’t a professional and quite frankly, I didn’t know what I was doing. My plan was never to make this a career – it started out as a hobby of mine, because I absolutely love doing it, and it evolved naturally on its own. However, to give you a bit more insight, I started out taking content with photographers, styling outfits, and was also keeping an eye on other bloggers in the community to see how they were approaching their content. Also, I have to add that I was doing a lot of stuff for free. Meaning, I was receiving free clothes, and shooting them for free or I’d go buy clothes at Zara and H&M, shoot it, and return it afterwards.
In addition to this, I was tagging brands in all of my photos at a time when brands were starting to look for influencers to market their products. The most important part of my journey was collaborating with the right photographers who understood my aesthetic and style. After doing this pretty consistently, it took off one day and I was like “oh my god, this is turning into a job.”
How long was it before your social media platforms became profitable? How did you live through those first few months/years? Did you have any struggles?
I was pretty lucky in this sense, I had just got out of a relationship at the end of 2014, and I was transitioning to doing all of this on my own, and it was probably two-three months after this transition, that 7 For All Mankind, Ninewest as well as Guess reached out to me to collaborate. At the time, these were all super massive, and hot brands to be working with.
Regardless, it’s important to know that it wasn’t like this all time, I definitely had my struggles too. I was selling old clothes/designer items online on Ebay as a little side hustle on top of the money I was making from my blogging at the beginning too.
What did you do prior to influencing on social media? If you weren’t an influencer, what would be your dream job?
Prior to influencing on social media, I used to be a bartender in Toronto. I worked at Musik , F-Stop, Century Room Atelier and Dolce.
My dream job would be an interior designer.
What are your thoughts on social media? And what do you think is the most commonly misunderstood thing about social media?
I think it’s a great platform most of the time but it also has its negatives. I do feel it’s mentally draining and exhausting, so I tend to go on social detoxes a lot of the time. I will delete Instagram off my phone, which I actually did at the beginning of this quarantine. I removed the app from my phone for four days. I thought to myself, “wow, I can’t be stuck on this app every single day.” You are looking at an alarmingly high amount of content on a daily basis, which leads to the comparing aspect of where you are feeding all of this information to your mind, and it can become super tough to handle. At the end of the day, you’re doing your best and trying to be creative, but you’re always asking or questioning yourself, is this enough? Lastly, I know it’s easy for people to view individuals a certain way on the platform, and judge them. I use this platform for business purposes, and show a little side of me, which is not an entire snapshot of who I actually am.
On the flip side, I think it’s an amazing tool to make money and it’s great for marketing, exposure and of course, connecting with so many people around the world.
Tell us something about yourself that your followers don’t know
I am extremely loyal, sometimes to a default. When it comes to my family, friends, significant other, and/or people in my close circle they mean everything to me. I’ll be there and/or do anything for them.
What negative assumptions, if any, have been made about you via social media?
Honestly, that most people assume I am kinda a bitch! I’ve heard through the grape vine people will say wow, I thought Racquel would be rude, but I was completely wrong! It goes to show you how easily people can judge you online and assume who you are.
Of all the gifted packages you receive as an influencer, which product/item excites you the most? What would be your dream brand to collab with?
I absolutely love receiving skincare, I am a skincare freak. I have an entire drawer dedicated to skincare products. Of course when brands send me products, they’; send their entire collection, so I will pick and choose what works best for my skin, then give the rest away to friends and family.
In terms of brand collaborations, I am so lucky enough to say that I’ve worked with a lot of my dream brands already such as L’oreal, Olay Skin, Pantene etc. but as of right now, the brand that I would absolutely love to work with is H&M.
The reason I say H&M is because I used to wear their clothes all the time, and when I lived in Pickering, H&M would be the one place I would shop from for trendy outfits. It would be such a great feeling to come full circle.
Who are three of the most important, and influential people in your life? and why?
First person is my best friend Laura who beat cancer twice. She lives in Toronto and she is the most positive, happy and uplifting person I know. Her energy is so inspiring and I feel like she’s just been somebody who has really helped me keep my life together because she is so strong.
Of course, my family and finally, my close friends who are in this industry too. My closest friends, Jessi Malay and Jill Wallace Nicole Isaacs who are also in the blogging industry. I really admire and look up to how hard-working they are. It’s inspiring and I feel our energies all feed off each other, as we’re all pretty independent. It’s amazing to say that we’ve all created this life for ourselves and developed our own personal brands separately and together.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring influencer if you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip?
Make sure that you’re doing this for the right reasons and you’re doing it because you’re really passionate about it. I’d also say don’t focus on what others are doing, as it can lead to a comparing game. I recommend having tunnel vision, meaning do what you think is best for yourself, and always be creative in your own way. Essentially, I’d say keep going, do what you love, don’t look left or right and stay in your lane.
Where can you expect to see Racquel in the next 10 years?
Racquel admits this question has always daunted her, as she’s not one to make plans for the future. However, she dreams of getting married, having a family, and continuing to have a career in fashion or interior design. In addition, she shares her interest in perhaps launching a capsule collection with a swimwear or skincare brand OR you may see Racquel launching her own brand one day.
To follow along and see what Racquel gets up to, click here.
RACQUEL’S RAPID FIRE
FACE MASK OR HAIR MASK
STRAIGHT HAIR OR CURLED HAIR
PANCAKES OR WAFFLES
MORNING PERSON OR NIGHT PERSON
SUMMER OR WINTER
I am dying to know, how did you get verified?
I honestly just woke up with it one day – I remember I was in Toronto over Christmas 2016, and I woke up to a verification badge. I do think it had a lot to do with me constantly reporting fake accounts using my photos, and a lot of fan pages and Instagram was constantly getting reports from me, so I feel they finally felt the need to verify my actual page to stop any further confusion.
ALSO, I couldn’t help myself and asked Racquel, do you use a tripod to take your photos or do you have a boyfriend taking them?
For the most part, when I collaborate with brands on a paid basis, I will hire a photographer who I am confident will execute on the job, and understand my overall aesthetic and vision as well. However, I don’t have a set photographer for everything – I have a photographer for swimwear, or a photographer for streetwear etc. Transparently, I did have a boyfriend who was taking a lot of my photos when we were together from 2017-2018. But, obviously when you’re out with your friends, I will also ask them to take iPhone photos too.
OF COURSE, this led me to ask Racquel another question: Do you prefer iPhone photos or do you prefer DSLR cameras?
I started shooting professionally all the time, but iphone photos do better on social media, as far as engagement goes. Even now, we can see how much users are loving selfie mirror photos, so I am trying to eat that up right now.
Who are some of Racquel’s biggest inspirations?