This assumes that rare = valuable. Typically, that is true. However, sometimes (like now) the marketplace shifts and folks no longer want to hear product pitches from celebrities who are so rare they have no connection with the real world, the consumer looking at the product, or certainly the product itself (e.g. Peyton Manning hugging Papa Johns and giving S/O to Bud).
This is where “micro-influencers” are so interesting to me right now. Although folks like your friend have typically been targeted for small financial or product gains, I think there is a burgeoning market for people like you and me (900 followers or less) who have very strong engagement with our followers and can offer a brand intimate access to a unique crowd. Will we get rich by being “influencers”? Certainly not. But, I wouldn’t mind having some free gear from the kinds of brands I’d feel comfy endorsing. Would you?