MCCORDSVILLE, Ind. (WTHR) — Karina Reske came to Indiana as an Au Pair, because she wanted to learn English.
Now, nearly two decades later, the Brazilian-born beauty is a McCordsville mother of three and one of Indy's top Influencers.
Last Summer at the age of 39, Reske decided quit her job and "influence" full time.
"So in the midst of my decision of doing this full time, I found out that I had breast cancer," Reske said.
Reske shared her diagnosis, treatment and optimism with her followers.
"I think that I am stronger than I thought I was. I think when I gave the news to the kids, I never cried about it when I received the news. I remember calling my family and I told them what was happening. I had no doubt in my mind I wouldn't be OK," Reske said.
Reske decided to have a double mastectomy and changed some of her routines. She started hot yoga and switched to clean beauty products.
The twists and turns are real life and what followers expect.
"I think the main difference between models and influencers is that we are your every day girl. We're your mom, school teachers, wives, housewives, we are you," Reske said. "Models are just these gorgeous unobtainable figures. She is gorgeous and has her hair styled and we are all doing that ourselves."
Being an influencer is a job
Reske hires a professional photographer, and does everything else herself. She combs through hundreds of images to pick the one that makes a post. She edits the images using custom filters selected for the season.
"Here is the misconception...people often think that we just go out and shoot pretty pictures and we come home and live the life," Reske said.
For Reske, the influencer life is a seven-days-a-week job. She networks with other influencers to learn best practices to build and grow her brand.
"We go to fashion week in New York and we make friends from all over the world," Reske said.
Reske says in the first four months of this year, she has already doubled the number of trips she took last year and her pay is growing too.
"Six figures for sure, most definitely. And it can go from there," Reske said. "If you have a hundred thousand followers, you can charge a thousand dollars per post on Instagram."
The clothes she wears are gifted, and to avoid duplication, resales and donations are part of her business plan.
"When it's your full-time job, clothes don't pay the bills. By the time you take the photo, you link now so people can shop that photo. You write that photo, you shop that photo, that's a 10-hour job," Reske said. "You have to study the market. You have to look at your analytics. You have to understand what people are looking for. There is so much more than just having a talent for dressing cute."
Expanding her influence
Reske has a loyal following in America, and now she aims to capture the Brazilian market too.
"I am starting to dig in the Brazil market a little bit more, so you can really go as far as you want to go if you are willing to work hard," Reske said.
She's mastered English and now her posts often include a Portuguese translation too.
"I always tell people starting, 'be yourself and then people are going to follow you.'"