Successful women that set a great example of how it is possible to succeed under your own terms – now that’s definitely a topic we at Domain.me feel deserves more attention! Powerful women and the personal brands they’ve created can teach us a lot about seizing and creating opportunities in the tech era, and about the benefits of going that extra mile in order to stand out from the crowd. They are conquering various industries and one of the greatest things you can learn from them is the importance of building consistency in your identity, both online and offline.
We have had the pleasure of interviewing the famous stunning model and activist Stefania Ferrario who was kind enough to share details about her personal career path and thoughts about personal branding. Her unapologetic attitude and determination to challenge conventional beauty standards became her trademark as she proved to everyone the notion of femininity cannot be squeezed into a small box. Her work so far has sparked controversy, crushed prejudices, and initiated an important dialogue about women in modeling industry. Enjoy the full interview and learn a few things from Stefania: we hope you’ll get as inspired as we did!
Interview with Stefania Ferrario.
Source: Tumblr stefaniamodel
Q: You’re an activist, an unconventional model, an influencer; your very appearance is a statement by itself and I guess I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that, as a symbol, you spark controversy!
Yet, I think I read that you’ve mentioned how insecure you felt about your body in your teen years. Please share with us your experience.
What it took to become Stefania?
A: When I started modeling at the age of 16, I was told by a photographer I still wasn’t ‘skinny’ enough to model… I weighed 20 kg less than I do now. So you can imagine when I started to get more hips and bust at the age of 17 or so, I thought – well, now there’s no way I can model, and it was really disheartening and made me feel depressed. I didn’t give up however, my body wouldn’t change so I had to change my attitude. It wasn’t until I was 20 years old that designer Gok Wan embraced me as I was and I made my breakthrough in a series of television commercials alongside him.
What we’ve learned from Stefania: You don’t need to fit in in order to become successful – it’s actually quite the opposite! Very often the current system of values is badly positioned which leaves you with two options: you can curl in a ball and lament over the unfairness of the world, or you can take a piece of advice from Stefania – change your attitude and pave your own path. Finding allies that would support you along the way is one of the pivots of creating your image.
Q: I don’t know if you’re keeping track, but you have 45k+ followers on Twitter, and 451k+ followers on Instagram. That’s quite a fan base!
Please, tell us more about your #droptheplus campaign. Are you satisfied with the response you got? And how much is social media actually important in your industry?
A: The idea behind the #droptheplus movement is to abolish the term ‘plus size’ when describing models as it’s very misleading to be labelling a size 8, 10, 12 as ‘plus size’. This type of labelling can have a negative effect on the minds of young girls that look up to the modelling industry for inspiration. It can make them feel that they’re still not ‘skinny’ enough to be accepted as the norm. #droptheplus became international and was covered by every major media outlet. The response was phenomenal and we’ve seen change in the industry as a result. The term ‘plus size’ had been dropped by model agencies to describe their models.
What we’ve learned from Stefania: You have the power to challenge the status quo and encourage others to do the same, with the right set of tools. Social media hides great potential in that sense: if you manage to meet your audience on the common ground, with the right idea and an effective hashtag – your content has great chances of becoming viral. Stefania’s efforts within the #droptheplus movement imply an important message that was strong enough to transfer from the virtual world to the real world and make actual change in women’s lives. By gradually building your brand, you can position yourself as someone who has credibility to speak on behalf of those who don’t yet have the guts to step up.
Q: We are very big on personal branding here at domain.me. Can you please explain us, from the perspective of a young and successful woman, what does it take for an individual to stand out on the world-wide web as you do?
Is it hard work, or is it something that simply comes natural to you?
A: I know it sounds corny but just be yourself! As soon as I embraced myself, other people did too! It took me years though, and I worked on my social media a lot, my success certainly didn’t happen overnight.
What we’ve learned from Stefania: Authenticity is the key of success but it takes time and patience. An honest, down-to-earth attitude is what makes you relatable and helps you connect with a wider audience.
Q: You are well known for advocating the freedom of self-expression, especially in terms of female sexuality. What role does your website play in your online presence?
Is it strictly a business card which helps you get in touch with your clients, or is it something else?
A: My website is like a portfolio of my work that people can visit. I use it mostly as a tool for people that want an overview of my work, whether that be clients or followers.
What we’ve learned from Stefania: Having a personal website helps you gather all your accomplishments in one place and reach a larger number of people in cyberspace, while showing them who you are.
Q: You became a brand and here at .ME, we are particularly interested in way brands evolve and develop. What are your plans for the next five years?A: I have more campaigns up my sleeve and issues I want to be vocal about. In particular the lack of ethnic diversity and the use of sweatshops to make clothing. I also think there is a major lack of age diversity amongst models and we should be embracing diversity.
What we’ve learned from Stefania: A big shout out to Stefania for setting the goal of bringing a human face back to the fashion industry and truly making a difference! Here’s what you can learn here: once you’ve managed to establish your brand and become recognizable in your particular niche, you can have more influence and work on causes you care about. When you build your credibility, you’re more likely to be seen as a leader and therefore – a larger number of people will support you.
Q: How important it is for women in business to build their online presence?
Well, if you build your online presence you basically have an audience and you can have influence. Social media is an amazing tool because it gives everyone the potential to have a platform to reach out to which we didn’t have in the past. I think building an online presence can be very important, whether you’re doing home design or modelling. Getting your work out there can get you more clients.
What we’ve learned from Stefania: The way you represent yourself is an indicator that tells your audience what values you care about and what your area of expertise is. The moment you get a clearer sense of what you’re trying to achieve, you’re responsible for setting the right communication tone and you can start building your image in order to reach your target audience online. Sometimes, your knowledge might be the same level as somebody’s else but your delivery, creativity, and uniqueness are what make you ahead of your competition.
Q: You have an interesting quote by Oscar Wilde on your Stefania.me website: Be yourself. Everyone else is taken. Is this the reason why you chose .ME domain? What are your general thoughts on personal branding?
I chose .me because it sounds more personal and my name was available.
Here at Domain.me, we got really excited Stefania was willing to answer our questions. Her work has been inspiring to us and from our point of view – society needs more of these discussions since that seems to be the only way to shake the things up and support the much-needed wave of changes.
Stefania has also taught us a lot about personal branding and integrity: we are very proud she’s a .me owner! If you’re interested in building your online presence, start by registering your .me domain and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there: it can help you launch your career and empower others, just like Stefania does through her amazing work everyday.