Garrett Swann is a New York City-based lifestyle influencer, model, TV star, and app founder. The Daily sat down with him to learn more about just what this busy man is up to!
How has your modeling experience informed or helped grow your social media presence?
When I started modeling four-and-a-half years ago, I was told that the race for higher followers was needed to get a job. So, here I went into the trudges of influencer land. How the digital marketplace has changed! It was an opportunity to morph into this social media position, as much as I loathe the word “influencer,” I have since embraced the word with great fervor and now have the chance to share a journey that can also become yours.
Has modeling made you more comfortable being in front of the camera?
My background really started in acting and it wasn’t about posing but rather about being present (although acting is pretending sometimes.) Better actors are great in their performances because they are present. Most of the time I’m laughing at myself when smiling, thinking how ridiculous this is. However, the photos capture a moment in time, like being painted on canvas for others to see. My best shots are when I’m not posing; rather in those I’m simply being present… and let’s hope we get the right shot!
Given your modeling expertise, what are your best tips for taking really amazing IG photos?
Take a ton of photos in the context of the post, while being as authentic as [you] can to the experience [you’re] having. Find a great backdrop, hopefully one that aligns with your composition of the shot. Lighting is key, make sure you look towards the light to reduce shadowing. Be present in the moment. Find your aesthetic and be consistent with it. I used to be so random and consistency is key.
Any pro tips for taking amazing IG photos?
My background started in acting; it wasn’t about posing, but about being present. I often laugh at myself when smiling for photos, thinking how ridiculous it is. Lighting is key—look toward the light to reduce shadowing. Also, find your aesthetic, and be consistent with it.
What are your biggest social media pet peeves and why?
Selfies = selfishness. Self timer is something different because I don’t always have a photographer handy. When I ask random strangers to take a photo of my current situation, I have to direct them. I laugh at this because they are probably thinking, “What a control freak!” A lot of the same content [is] too much. Tell a story of your experience and make it yours. I’m all for super long essays, but some are not what they say they are. People are attention whores and what better way to do it than on Instagram. It can perpetuate negative feelings towards others, sometimes creating jealousy and hate. My advice is to be authentic: be true to yourself and include others in your posts/stories. Build your community around you.
How would you describe your IGTV series, Undercovers, and what inspired you to launch it?
When I was a teenager, my friends and I would lay around the bed — we called it “bed lounge” — and just talk. We talked about random things mostly and laughed at our life’s expense. John Lennon and Yoko Ono did a love-in for Peace on their honeymoon; I’m all for world peace but I want to get to know the person I’m in bed with. Our beds are such a safe haven for vulnerability, so let’s get to the heart of the matter over a face mask, ice cream, or a cup of Joe. I’m so interested in what others are doing, the bed is the best place to where we get to share our truths in that experience.
What are your biggest career goals currently?
My focus for 2020 is to work with brands and get my hands dirty helping them design products instead of just posting them. It makes me and my audience understand what work goes into creating something tangible. I also want to grow the Undercovers platform and meet extraordinary people and share their love of what they do in life. We get to learn and identify with these guests, hopefully to bring inspiration and hope to a vast audience.
What are you working on next?
I’m launching a men’s apparel brand with my friend, Tom Speight, former president of Calvin Klein Underwear and Jeans and 2XIST. I’m really gung ho about this venture.
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