Everyone has a coming-of-age story. The way we mature is molded by the experiences we have and the way we handle them. For social media influencer and creator, Ellie Vandeel, one TikTok posted on her prom night was all it took for her life to change. Blowing up on TikTok didn’t only change the trajectory of Vandeel’s life, but gave her the opportunity to inspire other young women who find themselves in male dominated industries. Growing up in Crown Point, Indiana, despite her years playing the court, Vandeel most looked forward to the sneakers being released every basketball season. This love for sneakers soon turned into a hobby that showed through her social media accounts. Her interest in sports and sneakers was soon transformed to be the theme of her social media presence when she moved to LA to pursue being a creator and made a name for herself on Instagram and TikTok as a sneaker influencer. Starting with TikTok, Ellie showcased funny stories related to her life and the infamous dancing videos that eventually led her to fame.
The issue of misogyny present in areas that are so male dominated is something that significantly shapes the experiences of women. Others describe Vandeel’s presence in the industry as “surprising” when she discloses to her peers her love for basketball and sneakers. She enjoys the shock factor that it brings to her interactions and believes it is one of the reasons why she has such a likable presence in the sports industry that has gained her a major following on TikTok and Instagram. Once she moved to LA, Vandeel started grinding on as many platforms as she could in order to afford the shoes she created content with. She created multiple social media accounts in order to cater to the specific audiences they attract. In her opinion, her TikTok profile is catered mainly to young women, while her Instagram and Twitch speaks to a male-centric demographic. Her YouTube is an aspect of her career which allows her to be authentic with her followers by creating vlog style videos. Vandeel learned how to successfully navigate the different audiences she possesses by catering her content on each platform to the demographic they represent. By doing this she essentially became a professional in the content creator circle. She had the ability to appeal to almost any genre of viewer, and this versatility is what caused her to obtain the opportunities she ended up excelling in.
Despite rapid growth, Vandeel says her personal life has barely changed at all. Although the aspect of her life that is content creating has shifted to be a “job” rather than a hobby, her favorite part of her career is being able to have freedom with the hours she works. This freedom has allowed her to pick up other hobbies, such as traveling, that only boost her creativity more. Vandeel enjoys traveling and views it to be one of the best parts of her job as it feeds her need for spontaneity. She understands that she is inevitably growing into adulthood in front of the eyes of thousands and wants to start portraying her development through her content. In five years, Vandeel still sees herself on social media but with a different goal. She is starting to take interest in real estate and enjoys consuming content created by other influencers that are based in the real estate industry.
Vandeel sees herself possibly taking this route not only as a separate career, but integrating it with her social media presence. She has also recently entered the fitness world and believes this hobby of hers could be a next step in the themed content she creates. Being a fitness influencer is not far from reach when considering the realm of audience she has already generated. Overall, Vandeel views herself in this stage of life as blossoming into a young female entrepreneur. She has interest in possibly starting her own management agency where she leads and collaborates with other creators in careers similar to her own. Being a part of the industry for so long and from such a young age has taught her about the world of content creation from the inside out and she wishes to use this knowledge to pass on to other young creators. As she grows and matures along with her audience, Ellie Vandeel wants to inspire the next generation of content creators to utilize their audience and extend their realm of opportunity further than just social media. She is a face of influencer culture today that proves it is possible to successfully mature within the industry and create a name for herself past the identity of just sneakers.