Let your mission be your guide. I say this a lot but whenever I deviate from my mission of using my experience to help others, I often find myself in the weeds unsure of what I’m doing.
As a part of my series about social media stars who are using their platform to make a significant social impact, I had the pleasure of interviewing Arielle Lorre. Arielle is a Los Angeles based influencer who is best known for her platform, The Blonde Files. What started as a fitness journey turned into a brand as her authentic voice, vulnerability, openness about her struggles and triumphs, and eye catching content attracted a large audience. Arielle talks candidly across her channels about her recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction, hormonal and gut health, nutrition, mental health, beauty tips, relationships and how to thrive.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
My story begins in 2014 when I got sober after nearly dying of drug and alcohol addiction. I went to treatment and afterwards worked on my mental health and rebuilding my life for a couple of years, and in early 2016 I decided to address my physical health, too. I wanted so badly to get in amazing shape so I began doing Australian trainer Kayla Itsines’ workout program, BBG. I started an anonymous fitness accountability Instagram account and it took off very quickly from there. Ironically physical fitness is such a tiny part of what I use my platform to talk about now.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this career?
There have been so many interesting things that have happened; this industry, since it’s relatively new, never ceases to amaze me — and baffle me. But the most amazing thing has been the connections I have made in real life with people who I have admired, who have their own struggles too. Social media really can be amazing at bringing the right people together when used for good.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I don’t know that I’ve made any mistakes per se; I don’t mean that in an egotistical way but I have built my platform on sharing my experience, good and bad! So I’ve written and posted and storied things I probably wouldn’t now (in retrospect) but it’s all part of my evolution and I learn from everything!
Ok super. Let’s now jump to the core focus of our interview. Can you describe to our readers how you are using your platform to make a significant social impact?
My goal with my platform is to encourage people who are struggling; provide hope to people who feel hopeless or helpless; and just use my experiences to help others. That ranges all the way from sobriety to gut health to interpersonal relationships to spirituality to mental health issues and everything in between. I do wrap it up in a pretty package (I am a very visual person and love a pretty aesthetic) but if people take the time to read my words or listen to my podcast, they know what I share is substantive. 5.5 years ago I was in Cedars Sinai dying of drug addiction and alcoholism and had run my life completely into the ground; it’s been quite a turn around and I want to use it to benefit others.
Wow! Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted by this cause?
I get messages daily from people who have been impacted by what I share. I get young girls who are struggling to stay sober who say they think of me whenever they want to use. I have people thank me for sharing about my debilitating struggles with my gut because so many are told it’s in their head and feel alone. My favorite messages are about how a recipe or my cookbook has brought their family together. I recently got one from a woman who said her mom has been dealing with health issues lately and has been withdrawn. They’ve been cooking recipes from my cookbook (everything is very clean) and she said it’s the first time in a long time she’s seen joy in her mom. So moving!!
Was there a tipping point the made you decide to focus on this particular area? Can you share a story about that?
Sharing about my struggles has never felt shameful to me and I noticed very early on that it was resonating with people. I never ever wanted to be an influencer who just posts a photo and moves on with their day; the community who follows me and my mission to help others is very important to me. That said, when I got sober I learned that in order for me to be happy I have to turn my attention to other people and how I can help them. I try to do that in all areas of my life, which is how this platform came to fruition.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
Just three? I’ll focus on recovery here. On a societal level I think people should be more vocal about their recovery. Obviously there are traditions to be respected but it really helps to break the stigma of addiction and alcoholism. And speaking of the stigma….the way addicts and alcoholics — AND recovery — are represented in media does not help. What teenage drug addict is going to want to get clean when they associate recovery with smoky church basements? Ok and lastly we need to STOP putting addicts and alcoholics in jail for petty crimes. I think it’s clear that it doesn’t often rehabilitate them. And if they are in jail, give them a chance at recovery with more 12 step meetings. I should stop there!
What specific strategies have you been using to promote and advance this cause? Can you recommend any good tips for people who want to follow your lead and use their social platform for a social good?
I look at my experiences and struggles as gifts that might help someone else dealing with something similar and I share it on my Instagram. That has been my diary for the last 3.5 years and that’s where people know to go. I have diversified and have other mediums where I might go deeper on a subject, but that’s where the core audience is. My main piece of advice for others would be to just be as authentic as possible. Invite people in; people love to feel connected and like they’re part of your journey. Share what is true for you, not what others are sharing.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
1. It’s ok to clap back at trolls! I used to be so concerned with being liked by everyone that I let people say some really horrible things to me on my platforms. I do know that people who do this are not in a good place and I do NOT condone bullying. But there is a way to call it out so that maybe they’ll think before they do it to someone more vulnerable.
2. It’s ok to say no. I said yes to things early on that didn’t necessarily align with my core values because I wanted to grow.
3. Be patient. Yes there are overnight internet sensations but in general growing an audience — and letting them get to know you — takes time. It took me 3.5 years to get to a point now where I feel like things are really gaining momentum.
4. Be unapologetically yourself! Don’t emulate others. It’s easy to get caught up in trends of social media whether it’s aesthetics, tone, or even subjects. Stay true to you. Whenever I’ve gotten caught up it falls flat.
5. Let your mission be your guide. I say this a lot but whenever I deviate from my mission of using my experience to help others, I often find myself in the weeds unsure of what I’m doing.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Well, if everyone could ask themselves “how can I help someone else today?” that would be a huge start!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Eckhart Tolle: “Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world.” There are so many lessons in this quote, most notably for me that I get back what I give. Stop looking for things outside of me and use what’s inside of me to give back. I’ll get it back tenfold.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)
Yes — Michelle Obama I’m free any time!
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Instagram: @ariellelorre podcast: @theblondefilespodcast
This was very meaningful, thank you so much!