How many times has this happened to you: You’re editing a video of your influencer wife, and you need some coffee so you head upstairs, and in your kitchen, you find your wife deliberately pouring a thick green smoothie onto a sofa cushion, surrounded by four women with cameras and phones, filming the whole thing. So you politely slide through, grab your coffee, and head back downstairs over talk of brand call outs and, “Let’s get a Boomerang!”
You’ve been there, right? I mean who hasn’t? It’s just par for the course when you’re married to a “Social Media Influencer.” You get it. Whew, it’s nice to be able to talk to someone who can relate.
Oh, wait. I guess I shouldn’t just assume that everyone on here can relate. Maybe there are a few of you, a slight few, who aren’t married to an “influencer.” Huh. Weird. Well, I suppose I should give a little insight on what that’s like, just so some people don’t feel left out. Okay, so let’s start here: Hi, I’m Brian Henderson and I’m married to an Instagram influencer.
First off, can we just take a second to discuss that term, “influencer”? What is happening? The fact that it’s become a normal and acceptable job title is utterly insane. And Emily thinks it’s insane, too! The term makes her cringe, and she avoids it at all costs. (In fact, after she read the first draft of this post, she specifically called out that she NEVER calls herself an influencer…like ever.) I mean, “influencer”? I suppose that it’s accurate on a technical level, maybe, but I have a hard time saying it when people ask what my wife does for a living. I always qualify it, like “I guess she’s an Instagram influencer, but not in the ‘show-your-butt-in-yoga-pants-with-a-bottle-of-diet-supplements’ way,” (not that I look at those or know what those are). But the problem is, there’s kind of no other way to describe her career to people who don’t know who she is, “She’s a designer, who’s also a stylist, and a host, and a writer, and a social media personality, but mostly she’s a blogger”…that doesn’t really work. So what do I do if I don’t want to use the “I” word? Can’t we come up with another term? You guys are smart, do you have any suggestions that aren’t so cringe-worthy? Please help.
“That’s what it’s like being married to an ‘I’ word. You have to get your head around the idea that total strangers know what the inside of your bedroom looks like.” — Brian Henderson
Until we find a new word, I have to stick with what we’ve got, so…
What’s it like being married to an influencer?
Well, let me ask you a question before I answer: How many different sofas have you had in your living room this year? A friend asked me this question recently out of amazement, and I honestly didn’t know the answer, there have been so many. I kind of turn myself on airplane-mode when Emily says she wants to try a new sofa, and just say “yes, move the old one out and the new one in.” There was a time when I couldn’t remember what color our sofa was without looking. And I’m sure to some of you reading this, that could seem annoying, which is true. Or it could seem exciting, which is also true.
It could seem stressful, or fun, depending on your personality type. It could seem wasteful, which was my concern, but I’m happy to report that every piece of furniture that we cycle through here is either donated or used in other design projects. There is no giant bonfire in the backyard with the ashes of Persian rugs and Article sofas (that’s a brand, right?). Trust me, everything finds a home. And yes, I used to get annoyed by the temporary feel of our home, like the time I went to put a cup down on a side table only to find a giant wooden hand in its place. How do you balance a cup on that? But I have learned to be chill about it, and even enjoy it sometimes. It’s definitely taught me to have a healthy detachment to “things.” So maybe there’s a deep Buddhist lesson that Emily is secretly teaching all of us: “Zen and the Art Of Transient Sofas.” And it’s not just sofas, we have all kinds of new pieces of furniture flying in and out of here like fish at Pike Place. Literally two days ago, we replaced a credenza with another credenza. And before that credenza, there were two other credenzas. It’s cred-azy!
But what’s really cred-azy is the fact that most of you probably know which credenza I’m talking about because it was on Emily’s Instagram feed. How trippy is that? You guys not only know what furniture I have in my home, but I bet there are people reading this who could sketch the entire layout of our house and backyard because it’s been posted so much. That’s what it’s like being married to an “I” word. You have to get your head around the idea that total strangers know what the inside of your bedroom looks like. That’s weird right? I have very mixed feelings about that kind of stuff. On one hand, it’s like, who cares if people know that much about my house, it’s not hurting anyone, and all of Emily’s followers (another term we need to discuss) are nice, normal people who just like design. But there’s something strange about it, the privacy thing.
“…you have to be ready to wake up and find a hair and make up person at work in your dining room, a few team members from social and creative popping in and out of the front door, and cameras and phones grabbing impromptu fashion tips as you try to find the sugar for your coffee. Our house is very much like an airport, with people arriving and departing at various times, chatting quickly and energetically as they head to their next flight.” — Brian Henderson
The Privacy Thing
It’s not just random privacy, it’s day-to-day stuff. Being married to an influencer means you have to be ready to wake up and find a hair and makeup person at work in your dining room, a few team members from social and creative popping in and out of the front door, and cameras and phones grabbing impromptu fashion tips as you try to find the sugar for your coffee. Our house is very much like an airport, with people arriving and departing at various times, chatting quickly and energetically as they head to their next flight. I have a newfound bond with those Cinnabon employees in Gate C. You just gotta do your thing and go with the flow. Even if that flow is overflowing from your bedroom. Some of my favorite days are when Emily does fashion posts and there’s a pow-wow of women in my bedroom, with shopping bags and the entirety of Emily’s closet spread across the room, which usually ends with Emily coming out in an outfit that looks like a mix of Punky Brewster and Lance Armstrong asking, “What do you think?”
But as annoying as that all may sound, it’s actually fun. There’s an energy here that is loose and vibrant, and never really takes itself too seriously. So I try to get that energy in me, too (with varying success), and just accept that my home is also home to many people. The good thing is, there’s not a single poopy-pants on Emily’s whole team, which makes it much easier. They’re all super cool. If anything, I’m the poopy-pants. And everything always is cleaned, emptied, and tied up in a bow by the time the kids come home from school. Emily’s made it clear to her team that 5 pm means our house is back to our house, and they are super courteous and respectful, and they’re probably thankful to escape before the kids come in melting down about me not playing “The Lone Dinosaur” in the car ride home.
Speaking of kids, that’s a pretty big deal when you’re married to an “I” word. How do you stay a lifestyle influencer without exposing your kids to the insanity that is social media? No, I’m really asking. How do you do that? Because we’re trying our best and it’s still very hard. Emily and I have definitely gone round and round about the privacy thing regarding the kids. I’d love to tell you that we’ve had big dramatic screaming matches about it, just to make this juicier, but the truth is that we’re on the same page about it. We decided that they get to choose their level of involvement in the photos and videos. We don’t push anything, and almost never involve the kids in sponsored things anymore. We’ve toyed with only showing the backs of their heads in her Instagram feed, too, which seems good to me. But Insta-stories are a different story (see what I did there?). Because the stories only last a day, it feels okay showing Charlie’s first lost tooth or Elliot’s scooter crash. I don’t know if that’s the right answer, but it’s what we’re going with right now. It’s still concerning to have your kids out there in such a widely viewed way. I’m not stoked when they’re recognized and it’s not fun for anyone when a stranger knows their names. If that happens, I get real bristly, sorry in advance. Maybe we’ll start putting things over their faces on social media like Kristen Bell does. Who, by the way, Emily literally refers to as “…my future-best-friend Kristen…” and she’s not joking in the slightest. So Kristen, if you’re reading this, let’s make that happen.
The only other privacy thing that’s a bummer is that I literally can’t play hooky because my whereabouts are always known! I’m not saying I would, or that it’s ever happened, but let’s just pretend that I told a potential client last year that I was booked on another video when in fact I was taking a booze cruise in our pontoon, and let’s just say that in this pretend scenario Emily posted a story with me in it, and let’s just say I didn’t sleep that night because of the anxiety that my client would catch me in a lie. Again, all hypothetical. And I know, I know, I shouldn’t lie in the first place, but sometimes you just want to drink greyhounds on a boat instead of going to work! Hypothetically.
Don’t Feel TOO Bad For Me…
There are, however, perks to being married to an influencer. I’m sure I’ll get a lot gruff for this, but it’s pretty rad to get VIP treatment at a place just because your spouse is willing to post a picture of it. That’s when I feel like a true hanger-on, and I’m not ashamed of it. I don’t have to do any of the work except maybe take a pic of her sitting at a hotel bar, and I get to reap the benefits of being an influencer. It definitely enhances any trip to know that we may have a little bottle of champagne waiting for us in the hotel room, or get a table at the busy restaurant downstairs. I just have to convince Emily to do a few stories during our stay. I mean, I would totally do it myself, but I only have like 23 followers, so I don’t think that would be a good trade for the restaurant. That’s the other thing about this whole setup: I’m not a social media guy, like at all. I never post on Instagram, barely check in on it, I didn’t even update it to see stories until like six months ago, and yet my wife has bought a couple houses in large part because of her involvement on that platform. How crazy is that? Don’t get me wrong, her success is built on her design skills and blog, but Instagram definitely plays a big part these days. It’s all tied together.
“I’ve definitely gained a new respect for Instagram people, to see how much actually goes into it.” — Brian Henderson
And by the way, she is killing this Insta game, with the help of her team. They work insanely hard—brainstorming, designing, shooting, coming up with new ways to see Emily in biker shorts. I can’t with those, by the way, sorry guys. I just can’t. But I’ve definitely gained a new respect for Instagram people, to see how much actually goes into it. I imagine all the influencers have to have a whole team. I hope. God, I hope Emily isn’t the only one working this hard and all the others are just rolling out of bed, pouting their lips and saying “…Samsung, bae…” and reaping the benefits that Em does by actually trying to create things you would find fun and interesting. Ugh. Whatever. Either way, it’s fine. It’s opening up her brand to more and more people and allowing her to do more stuff with her career, which is cred-azing.
And that’s good for me to keep that in mind when things get inconvenient here at the Henderson house. It’s easy to be pessimistic about it all, and complain about the more disruptive aspects of it, but I can’t say it hasn’t made our lives, on a whole, a little better. I can think of so many jobs that are more intrusive and annoying, that have more demands and less flexibility, which add stress to your life and family, and I’m super lucky that my wife is doing what she’s doing. I need to remember that the next time I can’t find my laptop because they’ve cleared out my office out to load in a Halloween story for fall. You know what I’m saying? Well, of course, you do, that’s happened to you before, too.