I was invited to spend the day with Eva Lako, Instagram influencer, and founder of TheMermaidFashion.com, her personal blog about swimming, beauty, and fashion, which has over 45K followers. I got an exclusive, behind the scenes look at what it means to be an IG (an Instagrammer). There is so much more than meets the eye when creating, managing and maintaining an online brand.
I first met Eva at a tea party. We immediately hit it off talking about fashion, blogging, and social media. Eva is not only a mother of two and a fashion affascinando but she is also a Master Class swimmer that has participated in the 2013 European Swim Championships in Eindhoven and in 2017, the World Championships in Budapest. She is constantly training and can be seen up on the podium at swim meets of the Super Master Circuit of the Italian Swim Federation.
Originally, from Hungary, Eva lives in a quiet town on Lake Como, just 40 km north of Milan. When she is not in the pool, or caring for her family, she is busy organizing marketing partnerships, photo shoots, and updating the editorial calendar for the website and social accounts. Some of the companies she collaborates with are Speedo, Warloom Milano, Sandro Ferrone and Mac, just to name a few.
She started blogging in 2015. She told me,
“My message is “positivity”. I want women to feel good about themselves. It can be as easy as a stylish dress, even without spending much. I really believe in eating healthy and moving. I like sharing easy recipes and workout routines. Skin and make-up tricks do wonders for a girl! Another key to feeling self-confident is to avoid negative people; you must find people who help you grow.”
A day with Eva
She picked me up in her city car and we zipped through the streets of Milan. She was dressed in red knee-high boots, a floral skirt, and a dark blazer. Her make-up showed off her eyes and her sporty blonde hair was styled in an easy to manage cut.
She explained that we were going to Beato Te Milano Pizzeria in the Lorenteggio neighborhood. The owner Mirko had contacted her via her Instagram account. They had agreed on a campaign featuring the pizzeria on the website and in her social media accounts.
We found the pizzeria and met the owners, Mirko and Andrea. After a quick tour of the massive three-floor restaurant, she pointed out the table with the best light. “This one is good. I need good light for the photos!” she exclaimed in her authoritative, yet delightful Hungarian accent. She talked to them working out the details of her visit while I waited at the table.
A lot more than selfies
Most people think that blogging is just about taking a picture and posting it to a Facebook page or other online accounts.
Eva came back to the table, took off her blazer and literally, pushed up her sleeves. She dug into her camera bag, which held a professional camera, her phone camera, power packs, and plugs. She started with the kitchen, shooting pictures of the pizza makers, then the dining rooms and when the food arrived, she shot photos of the food too. She took notes, asked in-depth questions about the ingredients because nutrition is something important to her.
We eventually ate the pizza too, and it was quite delicious. In-between live Facebook video broadcasts and tweets, we talked about everything from fashion to nutrition, to family relationships.
Can’t do it all yourself
After lunch, I was recruited as the fashion photographer. Eva’s usual photographer couldn’t be here today, so she put the camera in my hands and said “Here, you know how to do it!” She skillfully posed, and once I got into the groove, I started giving her directions to tilt her head or turn her shoulders. By this time, the busy lunchtime crowd had started to go back to their respective offices and we moved around the restaurant looking for walls and corners that would provide interesting backdrops and a visual impact.
We did a photoshoot on the staircase and had to apologize to the customers trying to go down. The Milanese are used to seeing spontaneous photoshoots, Milan is the city of fashion, after all!
What many people don’t know when looking at a great picture on Instagram is that, often, the blogger was usually alone. Using tripods, selfie sticks and self-timers, bloggers can get some great shots. Eva told me about a shoot she had done the previous week for Mac make-up, “Sometimes a photographer is not always available, and you have to improvise. I always have my camera and tripod, but sometimes you have to ask someone to help you. At Mac, I gave the camera to the press assistant and he did a fantastic job!”
It’s not over ‘til it goes online – the postproduction
After a day of shooting, interviewing the managers and staff, and trying the product, the day isn’t over.
There are hours of postproduction work to be done. Writing the article, choosing and cropping the photos, coding and publishing and finally, setting up the social media campaign and sometimes editing video.
Eva is quite open and honest. She won’t publish something that she doesn’t believe in. If a product or service was unsatisfactory, she will not recommend it to her audience. She tells me, “People don’t want to read bullsh*t. They want to hear the truth.” She enjoyed the pizza and recommended it on her website: Beato Te Milano Pizzeria a Milano
I had a great day seeing Eva work behind the scenes. Eva has lots more planned for the new year. Stay up to date with Eva and read about swimming, beauty and fashion trends on TheMermaidFashion.com.