LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — With the power of social media growing by leaps and bounds, the idea of attracting a large following online has become quite desirable to some consumers.
But for Amymarie Gaertner, fame came about unexpectedly as millions of people from across the world began to notice her prowess as a self-taught dancer.
In February 2008, Gaertner began sharing short YouTube videos of herself dancing in her Ohio home. At the time, she was aware of YouTube personalities, but had no intention of trying to become an online celebrity.
“I started posting videos for my friends and family to see, never thinking it would go beyond that,” Gaertner said. “One video went viral pretty much overnight and within a month I had over a million followers.”
As time went on, the 21-year-old’s fan base went viral on social media — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Vine and Snapchat — which moved her into the limelight as a social media influencer; a coveted title that has been coined in recent years to those who have successfully gained stardom online, typically for their talent.
“To me, being a social media influencer means being in a position where you can use your voice to inspire, uplift and encourage the lives of so many others,” Gaertner explained. “Actually trying to visualize that over seven million people from all over the world see what I post is inconceivable.”
To date, the humble social media star regularly uses her own artistic expression to collaborate with other influencers, such as MaddChadd, who inspired her to create weekly “Freestyle Friday” videos as a means to encourage the public to end each week in an enjoyable way.
Outside of the social media realm, you may recognize her from movies such as “Dance Camp” and “Pitch Perfect 2.”
Acting as an influencer landed Gaertner a role in an HP commercial. She also co-hosted the Halloween edition of “Dancing With the Stars” in 2015.
“It’s been a pretty surreal experience getting to collaborate with some amazing talent and do things I never imagined I would be able to accomplish this young,” she said. “It’s a career highlight being able to say I have worked with and met so many celebrities that I’ve always admired. I don’t think I’ll ever lose that sense of appreciation and excitement.”
In order to become a social media influencer, it takes talent along with a combination of “dedication, passion and some thick skin,” according to Gaertner.
“My best advice is to simply be yourself,” Gaertner explained. “It can be a little nerve racking to put yourself out there for the world to see and especially comment on. It’s important to stay focused on your message.”
“Most importantly, do what makes you happy,” she added. “Embracing your own unique, authentic self is what will make you stand out the most.”
As for the future of her career, Gaertner plans to fulfill big dreams by “exploring more of the acting world while continuing to dance and inspire others to follow their passions and live a positive lifestyle.”