Anyone who is active on social media knows what an influencer is — has seen one (or more), has followed one (or more), and perhaps, aspires to be one.
An influencer has an identity and a voice that calls to your personal interests, a passion that you can relate to, whether it be style (petite and preppy), food (paleo-eating), fitness (booty-centric workouts), travel (solo adventure), or being a mom (of six).
An influencer is like having your own personal cheerleader. Every time you scroll through Instagram, watch a video on YouTube, visit a blog, there’s something there for you to learn, to boost your spirits, to inspire you.
We’ve trolled the internet and found these three Boston influencers who have inspired us — we hope they do you, too.
Kara Duval aka Kara Duval Pilates
This local girl first found movement in classical ballet, which she started as a child at the Boston Ballet School. She continued dancing through college, earning a BFA. But, seven months after graduating, she changed her plans.
“I ultimately decided not to dance, [but] I wanted to start my career in the movement industry.”
Pilates had always been something she loved to do, and it is much more low-impact than ballet. Duval went up to Toronto to study Stott Pilates, a contemporary, highly anatomical and functional movement approach to Joseph Pilates’ original work.
“My passion was always to teach this movement style,” she says. “I stress functional anatomy and form, almost to an obsessive point. It’s the one thing that I am really known for. I’m trying to get people to understand the basic mechanics of their bodies.”
Today, she teaches 35 classes a week around town, at places like North End Yoga and Equinox Seaport. She’s known for her own method of barre, which is unique because it doesn’t actually touch the barre. She plans to trademark it.
As for her influencer status, Duval is reluctant. “I am a full-time instructor,” she says. “Even though I use my Instagram as
a marketing tool, I don’t consider myself an influencer in an online sense.”
Being a positive role model, teaching healthy amounts of movement, and having a mindful approach to movement are all part of Duval’s message.
“As somebody who comes from a background of skewed eating and over obsession with working out, my personal experience of being able to find balance between those is something that I just hope that everybody can grasp,” she says. “The reality is dialing it back and really finding quality in everything you’re doing rather than how much you’re doing.”
As for what’s next on her plate, Duval says she’s always evolving and popping up in new places. Particularly: “ones that are more permanent in early fall.” Does that mean a studio of her own? We hope so!
Sarah Dussault aka SarahFit
“My passion is helping millennial moms live healthier lifestyles while balancing motherhood,” says 35-year-old Sarah Dussault.
The personal trainer, marathon runner and Boston-based Instagram and Youtube influencer has long been guiding people toward a sustainable approach to health and fitness. But, after the birth of her two children she narrowed her lens.
“I chose to focus on the struggles of pre- and postnatal fitness, as well as eating well and fitting in exercise when it feels like you don’t have any time to yourself between work and family,” she says. “People just don’t know how to be safe due to outdated information and unqualified ‘experts’ dishing out inaccurate recommendations.”
As for how she got into this gig, she says, “I am an accidental influencer. I started making YouTube videos for a diet website. I thought I was building a reel to become a TV reporter.”
That changed quickly when Dussault realized there was an industry forming around social media and online video. “I like to think of myself as the OG in Boston when it comes to fitness and influential marketing, since I’ve been doing it since 2007. I had over 100k subscribers on YouTube before Instagram was even a company.”
Dussault is not an unyielding coach. “I want women to know that diet and exercise is not all or nothing,” she says. “They can fit in a 30-minute workout. They can eat treats while still maintaining a nutritious diet. I’d also love to be a good example for my kids that we can work, spend time on ourselves without feeling guilty, and be a good mom!”
Maria Albini aka Blonde Meets City
“Blonde Meets City started as a hobby, a place where I could share my life, what I was wearing,” says this style influencer who has been blogging in Boston since 2014.
“Over the last few years, I’ve been able to grow a following sharing new products I’ve tested out, where to shop local in the city, Boston newness — whether that be a restaurant or store opening. And, of course, women entrepreneurs.”
Albini graduated from Simmons College and began working at one of the city’s lifestyle PR firms. After seeing her clients like Drybar and Bluemercury ask for influencer partnerships to build brand awareness, she was hooked. She decided she wanted to work in the same capacity.
“My ultimate goal is to be an influencer full time, to be my own boss,” she says. “I have met so many people and [built] friendships that will last a lifetime.”
As for what she hopes to impart, she says, “I try my best to test out new products that I can share my honest opinion of and share the best deals with my followers. I believe women, including myself, look to influencers for inspiration. I hope to be that inspiration.”