With a father who was recently diagnosed with cancer, shopping for healthy foods full of nutrients was nothing new for Marissa Porter, who would spend hours researching home remedies and foods that help stop cancer growth.
One evening after their trip to the grocery story she decided to make a quick stop at her local gas station. Satisfied with her purchases of a Pop-tart, hot Cheetos and other little snacks, she hurried back to her white Prius, where her dad was waiting.
“Why would you eat such junky food when you put me on such good food but you eat so terrible?” her dad said. That statement alone marked the inception of her realization for change.
Porter is a 23-year-old artist who runs her own art shop, sells paintings, does commission work, as well as create her own fine art prints. Prior to the pandemic she was also working a part time retail job, but due to closures forced by COVID-19, she took that opportunity to move away from that and focus on her art business, but most importantly on self growth.
For many Americans, quarantine has consisted of drinking booze, unhealthy eating, social media binges, and lack of structure. There is no question that quarantine has changed everyone in some form or way. But the change was not all that bad for Porter. Three months into her weight loss journey was about the same time that the world seemed to go on lockdown. She was dedicated to continue experimenting with new habits and new lifestyles.
“I can’t take my health and life for granted,” said Porter.
At a time when she was dealing with depression she would cope by eating. Many of the foods she consumed were greasy, cheap fast foods that were low in nutritional value. Porter was ready for change and the conversation she had with her father would ignite a journey that would forever change her.
Porter, who resonates strongly with her zodiac sign as a leo, is a very spiritual person who believes in the power of manifesting what one wants. So that’s exactly what she did. Written in her black composition journal was that in January 2020 she was going to start her weight loss journey as well as change eating habits, feel confident, eat healthy and get rid of her depression.
With motivation and determination Porter did exactly that. Setting rules and boundaries for herself ultimately led to her seeing results in her body and mindset. Being proud of her progress she took to social media like Twitter and Instagram to share these results as well as explaining tips and tricks that worked for her. That same Twitter post received an influx of attention and engagement. Users across Twitter were commenting congratulating her progress and others eager to learn more about her journey.
In August, eight months into Porter’s weight loss journey, she uploaded a YouTube video sharing her personal experience, struggles, and tips that helped her along her journey. Just four months later that video is almost at 1 million views. Her authentic and organic approach helped build a community of loyal and dedicated followers. The comment section was flooded with people sharing their own journeys and leaving messages of love and support. This feedback inspired Porter to continue uploading videos and documenting her journey to share with others.
Sitting in her empty living room with only her white couch to sit on, Porter couldn’t be more proud of where her journey has taken her. From Los Angeles to now living on her own in a new apartment in Oakland she is excited for a new beginning of independence.
With a following of about 63,000 followers across all social media platforms Porter has ultimately become a micro-influencer to a niche audience showcasing content about lifestyle, health and wellness. On her channel she shares delicious recipes for a healthy lifestyle and also includes more personal videos like Q&As- where she answers different questions sent by her followers- or even her night time routine.
“No matter how much of an expert you can be, you are always going to be a student in life. You should always allow yourself to grow,” says Porter.
For many some may see Porter as an expert but she believes the opposite. The engagement and connection between people is one of her favorite things about this community but also understands that what she shares is all based off of her own personal experience and that she is only sharing what worked for her. When it comes from a place of respect Porter appreciates when people educate her on certain topics whether it is nutrition, fitness, etc.
With a new healthy lifestyle Porter has built her own empire across social media. Companies like Oh Polly, Teami Blends, Escape Swimwear and Kam Fitness have all collaborated with her to promote their brand. For many she is a motivation to those who are either wanting to or already in the process of their own personal journeys.
“It’s not easy, it’s not even easy for myself.- like I have my own struggles. I’m still going through my own things to work and improve on every single day,” states Porter.
The Pop-tarts and hot Cheetos have now been replaced with healthier options but in a much larger perspective- replaced with a different lifestyle. A lifestyle that enriches the body not only physically but mentally. Documenting this continued journey would pave the way to ultimately a platform and a career in a passion Porter would have otherwise not have discovered if never starting her journey for change.