With more than 227,800 followers and 5.6 million likes on TikTok, Macy Eleni, also known online as @BlazedAndGlazed, has clearly found her platform as well as her community. But Eleni’s success on the video-sharing app isn’t solely based on her refreshing sense of fashion and her addictive estate sales reviews—the content creator has also amassed an impressive (and loyal) fanbase by promoting openness, positivity and self-acceptance. We spoke to the TikTokker about her unique online presence and what her newly-found platform allows her to achieve.
Unsurprisingly, after the COVID-19 pandemic put our daily lives on hold, we saw many creatives reconsider their own career options. Some, in fact thousands, turned to TikTok, be that simply for distraction or more. As Eleni told Screen Shot, she was one of them: “Before lockdown, I hadn’t started my TikTok yet. I had my YouTube channel, and I was also freelance video editing—doing any work that I could for other people—and the quarantine time really forced me to just put all my eggs in my own basket and start creating for myself.”
Since then, Eleni never looked back. As a freelancer, she explained how putting all of her energy into other people’s platforms and brands made her feel unmotivated about potentially looking at her own projects. And thinking about it now, it almost seems crazy to think that @BlazedAndGlazed has been blessing TikTok for less than a year. Eleni is clearly a born entertainer; she’s got the creative thinking and the sparkling personality—two important qualities that led her 227,800 (and counting) followers to simply fall in love with her, myself included.
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But Eleni isn’t your typical content creator/digital personality/fashion influencer. In 2010, before YouTubers were even a thing, Eleni took an interest in a few channels that were starting to cover fashion content. “I was in high school, living in Ohio in the basement of my mum’s house and I started following the first vloggers and content creators on YouTube, before it was a job but also before anyone knew what they were doing.”
At the time, Eleni was already into thrifting—before shopping vintage as often as possible became the norm for many. “I decided to start filming my thrift trips although no one else was really doing it, just a couple of people who had inspired me, but it was never consistent. Even when I had to go to college, YouTube was always in the back of my mind; I was always watching it, and I was so in love with the idea that people who were from areas of the country where they would not normally be able to ‘chase their dreams’, who didn’t have the right connections, were actually able to be seen and heard from their bedroom! That was just so fascinating to me as a kid who grew up in Ohio wanting to move to Los Angeles, being able to connect with people across the globe.”
At university, Eleni studied broadcast journalism and fashion followed by fashion merchandising, which led her into a few styling and fashion editorial internships. While in that world, she considered going down the fashion magazine route, only to become a celebrity stylist’s assistant after moving to LA. At the same time, she started her recovery from an eating disorder she had been dealing with her whole life.
This journey into recovery completely shifted the way she saw herself along with beauty, fashion and other people. “I remember going to a Teen Vogue internship programme when I was younger and it was all just thin, white women talking about why they couldn’t eat this and why they skipped lunch and that was what fashion was to me… It was so toxic for so long!”
But from June 2019, Eleni started a new chapter as well as a new relationship with fashion and decided to post more consistently on her YouTube channel Blazed And Glazed: “I was at that point in my recovery where I felt like ‘Hey, I finally feel like I can talk about fashion in the way I’ve always wanted to talk about it.’ I wanted to create a place where people feel like they’re part of the conversation—inclusive, instead of exclusive—because so much of the fashion industry feels hard, cold and exclusive. That’s not inspiring to me, and since I grew up thrifting and seeing fashion through that lens, I just had a more expensive view of what fashion content could truly be.”
Eleni’s content is, in a way, pretty simple: she goes thrift shopping and films herself while doing so, she does the same when going to amazing estate sales—something that, before discovering her channel, many viewers had never heard about—and posts videos of her trying and styling pieces she bought for close to nothing. In simpler terms, she could be described as a ‘fashion influencer’, but that’s where Eleni differentiates herself from your typical ‘fashionista’.
Forget about the American dream, the introduction of social media in our lives has allowed many of us, as Eleni mentioned previously, to not only reach people all over the world but also do things that we would have probably never been able to do without those platforms.
Influencers may have existed prior to social media—think of Paris Hilton for example—but Instagram turned them into money-making machines. The more we got used to those Instagram (and now TikTok) influencers, the more other ones appeared. This movement changed every industry in its wake as brands that used to spend ridiculous amounts of money on ads in magazines turned to influencer marketing instead.
You know the story; you probably grew along with the rise to fame of said influencers, just like Eleni did. And until recently, a typical influencer shared the same characteristics with pretty much all the other big influencers. They were predominantly white, straight, ‘fit’ people who fell into society’s beauty standards and seemed to lead a so-called perfect life.
But, just like with everything else, people got bored of pretend perfection. Millennials and gen Zers turned to ‘more real’ influencers, ones that presented diversity, stood up for important causes and ones that shared their own struggles in order to help and educate others.
And that’s exactly what makes Eleni so special, on top of her bingeable content; she’s relatable, honest and supportive of her own followers’ journey in life. “I was raised by a single mum so we were on a very tight budget and lived in a town where, at that time, among my friends, I was definitely the only one living only with my mum, in a small apartment. I was thrifting, and my friends (who now think it’s so cool) used to say back then that my clothes were smelly—that was before I really got into fashion,” shares Eleni.
Because Instagram didn’t exist at the time, Eleni used to cover her bedroom walls with fashion editorials ripped out from magazines like Teen Vogue and NYLON, to then recreate her favourite looks using pieces she bought while thrifting with her mum. “I would go to this thrift store on Wednesdays when it was half off the whole store and buy sacks of clothes and haul them home with me to the basement to clean them. I was just obsessed! It definitely kept me going.”
With the minimum wage job Eleni was working in high school, she could only afford to buy clothes in thrift stores. “It’s such an inclusive place where you can shop in any section, play with whatever you want from different places and eras—the fashion bug just bit me!”
Anyone going on Eleni’s channels on both YouTube and TikTok can see why she so quickly amassed such a following. Many users comment things like: “YES PRIORITIZE YOURSELF YOU QUEEN!!! I will definitely take better care of myself! I’ve been running on empty” or “Your energy, your eye, and your empathy come through in everything you do.”
By speaking up about her mental health, her eating disorders as well as other problems she faces in her daily life, Eleni creates a safe space where others feel seen enough to share their own story along with some tips, advice and kind words.
“The biggest idea behind my platform is that I just want to be myself. And being me equals something messy, all over the place! I’m like an open book, and for me, airing my ‘dirty laundry’, getting vulnerable and talking about things that other people might find taboo or hard to talk about, doesn’t feel that hard for me. And I’ve always felt in my gut that if I feel comfortable talking about mental health and body image issues, that’s probably for a reason. I want to be a voice that can reach girls in abusive environments feeling trapped and like they’ll never be able to be happy or positive—that used to be me, I would probably laugh at me now, like ‘you’re so corny’!”
Eleni continued, “Because so much bad stuff happened to me when I was younger, I simply thought that I could not have a happy life. But being so negative got me nowhere! It was through my eating disorder recovery that I started my ‘positivity journey’. I had to stop shit-talking myself and start saying nice things to myself, which felt really stupid to me at the time, but after a while, I decided to start doing the same on my channels. I struggle with anxiety and depression everyday, if I sit and fester in these emotions instead of getting them out, I’ll just feel even worse.”
And it certainly seems like @BlazedAndGlazed has succeeded at expressing her positive thinking and uplifting messages through her content. Videos on different aspects of her recovery from an eating disorder as well as some on her endometriosis condition are sprinkled among her dream estate sales and vintage hauls videos, making it a perfect balance between fashion and openness.
As someone who grew up in a family where most women struggled from severe depression, I never felt like people I looked up to online had anything to say or share on the matter. Today, as content creators and, dare I say influencers, start opening up about their mental health and body image struggles, more and more gen Zers are now feeling like they belong in a community where support and advice are within their reach.
Along with this new type of influencer, comes Eleni with her infamous shimmies and her sparkly personality. Whether you’re on the hunt for some serious fashion advice or simply looking for something (or someone) to help boost your confidence and self-esteem and to make your day just that little bit better, @BlazedAndGlazed is the one for you.
If you don’t believe me, Healthline explains, “Being around positive people has been shown to improve self-esteem and increase your chances of reaching goals. Surround yourself with people who will lift you up and help you see the bright side.”
As the pandemic carries on into 2021 and most of us are either working from home or not working at all, practising positive self-talk and self-love becomes an undeniable necessity in order for us to stay sane and happy.
As Eleni told Screen Shot herself, “The most asked question I get from people that follow me now is ‘How do you stay so positive?’ and I’m like ‘Bitch I don’t!’. It’s a practice, I wake up every day and write my gratitude journal every morning, especially the hard mornings, especially the days it feels so silly to me. I try to be honest about that too because toxic positivity is not for me either!”
You heard the pro, stay positive but don’t force it either—accepting that everyone gets unhappy too and identifying your negative areas is the first step needed to keep a positive mindset. Peace queens!
I would like to think that I had a good sense of style when I was younger. I remember having this tiny white rabbit fur coat that my mum had bought me age 5 that I had decided to customise with some pink fluorescent highlighter—I thought it was just the coolest thing ever, while my mum had a minor breakdown. Looking back now, I realise that, compared to today’s new generation of fashionistas, my early styling skills were borderline tacky.
Not only did Instagram create what we now know as influencers, it also introduced us to some very young fashion influencers. Standing out from the crowd of stylish little ones is Coco, also known as @Coco_PinkPrincess, the 9-year-old Japanese fashionista, and probably one of the trendiest and coolest young girls on Instagram. From her first post in 2015 to her most recent one from the beginning of February, not only did Coco share with her followers some serious fashion style, but she also showed the world what it means to be a kid-influencer.
Coco’s following really blew up globally after she was interviewed by Vice age 6. Shortly after, aged 7, she had already done a photoshoot for ELLE, for which she styled her own accessories. That same year, she spoke to Hypebae about her love of fashion. Today, with 675K followers (and counting), it is obvious that Coco is Insta famous, and for good reasons. Looking through her feed, there aren’t any styles that she can’t master—from streetwear and classic with a twist to kawaii and head-to-toe Gucci or Balenciaga, Coco looks amazing in everything.
In order to get some fashion tips from the Pink Princess herself, Screen Shot had an exclusive interview with the 9-year-old and her mum Misato, where we spoke about Coco’s style, her dreams for the future and her in-depth knowledge of Instagram’s algorithm. Here’s how it went:
What I love about your style is how eclectic and colourful it is. You always dare to take that extra step that most people wouldn’t. What is your process behind putting together one of those outfits?
Coco: When I make an outfit I sometimes choose the clothes I want to wear first or choose a theme, also my father teaches me a lot about fashion, so sometimes we make the outfit together or sometimes just by myself.
Misato: As she grew up in Harajuku she’s been surrounded by many colourful and stylish adults, so she’s been in an open environment when it comes to styling.
Do you have fashion icons or other influences on your style?
Coco: Not really but I sometimes check fashion feeds on Instagram.
With the help of her parents who run the vintage store Funktique in Harajuku, Tokyo, Coco styles her outfits depending on what kind of mood she is in on that specific day. But how did she start her Instagram and what exactly does it take to curate an account that has that much fashion influence?
You’ve been known as a fashion icon on social media for a few years. Is it still as much fun for you today as it was in the beginning? What encouraged you to open your account and share your fashion styles with the world?
Coco: Yes, I still really enjoy taking photos for Instagram.
Misato: Coco was brought up in Harajuku since she was 2 years old where we, her parents, run a vintage shop. Shop staff, influencers and people in the entertainment industry around her were all on Instagram, so Coco naturally imitated them and started posting on Instagram.
As a fashion influencer, Coco is one of the few who don’t post as regularly as the others—she posts monthly or twice a month, but never every few days. Speaking to Misato, we asked:
Is this done on purpose or are you both just posting whenever you have time and good pictures of Coco’s outfits?
Misato: It’s true that her frequency to post has lessened and there are 2 reasons for it. After analysing Instagram’s algorithm and taking her daily life into consideration, the posting pace we chose was the most efficient for her then. She also started to have a lot of work and projects, so it became harder to make time for posts on Instagram. However, the algorithm has recently changed and her work pace became calmer, which means that she started posting like before again.
When it comes to social media, and more specifically Instagram, kids are now growing up alongside it. Do you think one day Instagram will become old news, and, if so, what new app would you like to replace it?
Coco: There are new apps coming out one after another so it might change to something else.
Misato: This is a hard question. We don’t know what will happen to Instagram and which app will replace it, but for Coco’s generation, it will still be an essential part of their lives. So it will also be important to be able to make decisions flexibly, even if the platform changes.
Speaking about the future, do you know what you’d like to achieve next?
Coco: Lately I enjoy acting, so for now, I hope to be a great actress.
That would be great! And what about fashion, do you see yourself still doing what you do on Instagram? Would you like to stay in the fashion industry?
Coco: I like fashion so I hope to still be a part of it in the future.
To finish, give us a few of your tips, what is your favourite thing about fashion at the moment?
Coco: Lately, I’m into flowers and creating styles like natural flower combinations. I like pale colour tones, like what natural flowers have.
So, for those of you who are in need of some fashion inspo, you heard it here first; try to include more flowers and pastel colours in your Instagram feed to stand out. When it comes to fashion, Coco’s style and vision both seem to be a mix between classic and new innovations—something that we, at Screen Shot, are always trying to promote in a fun and engaging way.
It is unclear what the future holds for social media, new technologies or even for the fashion industry, but what is sure is that the new generation is showing an incredible amount of savviness and creativity. In the end, it will be people like Coco, ZaZa and others who will shape our future, at least as long as fashion is concerned. And when speaking to Coco and her mum, it almost feels like a reassurance to realise that a famous 9-year-old fashionista can be as grounded and lovely as her Instagram pictures depict her.