The secret to great #content? Follow these hacks from experts on both sides of the camera. Below, accidental influencer Steph Shepherd shares how she went from a Kardashian family staffer to making the most of her newfound online fame by kickstarting a climate education platform called Future Earth.
How did you get your start?
I moved to L.A. to be a dancer. I had dreams of being a Pussycat Doll. Serendipitously, I started assisting the creative director and choreographer for the Pussycat Dolls, Mikey Minden. He and his client, Erika Jayne, gave me a shot and brought me up in the business.
You climbed the ranks to COO of Kardashian West Brands. How?
I worked hard and was extremely dedicated to my job. I put in a lot of hours. Kim [Kardashian] and Kanye [West]’s wedding was the first time I was delegated a lot of responsibility; it was a pivotal moment, not just for my relationship with Kim, but for me as a young woman to have confidence in my capabilities to handle and be trusted with such an important day. I also loved working on Kimoji; we both learned so much. Kim let me dive in; it turned out as such a cool pop culture moment! KKW Beauty was my first time doing product development. It was an invaluable beauty business education, and so rewarding to see Kim’s ideas come to life, and to be a part of something from the seed of an idea to actual product on shelves!
Did working with a high-profile family put you in the public eye?
Working with the family became normal. I forget I’m “in the public eye” until I do something I think no one would ever see and it becomes a news story. I’m actually a private person, so that’s taken some getting used to.
How has your own social media presence evolved over the years?
I have definitely become much more thoughtful when it comes to my social media presence. I never had the intention of growing a social media platform, it just kind of happened organically. In the beginning, I would post anything without any rhyme or reason, now I try to be more mindful and a little more curated when it comes to what I am sharing. I understand the responsibility that comes with having an influential platform and I don’t take that lightly!
What is your relationship to social media like nowadays?
I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I love to connect with people, I love to share information that I think is important, and I love the freedom that comes with running a digital business. The new realms of the social media age are a paradox. On the one hand, it can bring people together and on the other, it can be very isolating. The “cancel culture” that has developed is really toxic and can deter people from actually speaking out on issues that need their support. I think we need to get back to looking at social media as a way to garner community and not competition.
These days, you run a climate education platform, Future Earth!
It’s a collaborative project with my good friend Max Moinian. We wanted to create a space to share digestible, aesthetically pleasing information that’s relatable to our friend group. We felt there was, and is, a yearning for education and a link to action.
You’re also actively involved in other climate change organizations, the Climate Reality Project and World War Zero.
I’ve been a huge supporter of Al Gore my entire life. I saw that his convention was coming to L.A., so I immediately signed up. The climate crisis can be an overwhelming, daunting issue, so when I found a community of like-minded people helping solve this crisis, it gave me hope. It was inspiring. Any chance I can lend my name and support to a worthwhile cause like this, I will. It’s the single greatest issue facing humanity. It’s as simple as no planet, no people.
You’re also exec producing and hosting a Facebook Watch series!
It’s centered around women sharing their stories and looking for guidance and camaraderie. I want to bring people together and show how much stronger we are when we stand together and support one another.
Any upcoming guests you’re excited about?
So many! Kaitlyn Carter and I had so much fun filming the first episode that was all about dating and relationship advice. Celebrity stylist Karla Welch lends her incredible styling expertise in the third episode and taught us how to style pieces we already own to create a new look.
You’ve dabbled in so many areas professionally. What do you want to tackle next?
I want to produce and be in TV shows, scripted or non-scripted! I love TV, and I love the fulfillment I feel from filming and creatively directing projects. I want to start my own lifestyle brand. One of the biggest takeaways from working with KKW Brands was that I love product development. I love the entire process from formulation to packaging. Also, I want to start a foundation. I’d love to have my own non-profit where I can give back and raise money and support causes that are near to my heart.
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