Creating A Safe Place

Lifestyle Blogger Hallie Ragan Wants Her Followers To Feel Included and Welcome

FL: Tell me a little bit about you and how you got started. Did you always intend to be an influencer? 

Hallie: My background is in social work, so I'm a school social worker as well. And in November of 2019, I was just still trying to find myself. I was newly married and I didn't really have a new hobby. And so I'd been thinking about running a blog for a couple years. And finally I was like, 'I'm just going to do it.' Why not?  And it just kind of developed.
There's so much back end stuff that goes into running a blog. On the outside it might look like you post a picture of your clothes and stuff. But I was having to learn website design and analytics and search engine optimization, all these things that I had no idea about. But then a couple months later, COVID hit. And so it was kind of a nice thing that I had a hobby to be able to pour into since I was spending so much time at home. And I just kind of poured all the free time I had into doing this.

FL: Because in a way it was therapeutic for you?

Hallie: Very therapeutic. It was one of those things where I spend so much of my life helping other people that for once I was doing something for me. And I'm kind of glad that I went in with that mentality of 'I'm just going to do it and I don't really care what happens' because I had no expectations. It was just fun and it still is so fun. But yeah, that's kind of how I stumbled into doing it. And now it's definitely a job for me and it's a dream job. And so now I get to do both of my dream jobs.

FL:  You say it's still fun, but is there pressure now because you have 40,000 plus followers on Instagram?

Hallie: Yeah, there definitely is pressure. With social media, there's kind of almost this, I guess, pressure to constantly be putting out content. And now there's TikTok and Instagram and Pinterest and all the things. And every platform requires a certain level of dedication. But also I have different audiences on TikTok than I do Instagram. So if I just do pour into Instagram, then I've kind of eliminated the Tik Tok audience. And so there definitely is pressure. I want people to come to my platform and feel happy and feel included and feel welcomed. And I never want to say something in whatever regard that might not come across that way.

FL: So one of the lines on your Instagram says normalize mental health. Did you suffer from postpartum depression?

Hallie: I feel like my whole life I've struggled with mental health in some areas with a lot of anxiety. I've gone to therapy and I think there's a lot of this stigma around if you have some diagnosis or if you don't, there's something wrong. And I think a lot of us in some ways struggle with mental health in any kind of capacity. Whether it's depression, anxiety, postpartum -- not feeling like you're alone is my biggest thing. I don't want people to ever be like, "Wow, I feel weird because I struggle with this." And I want people to see that life's hard and it has its really beautiful moments, but it's okay to not be okay sometimes. For me, I think I definitely had a layer of postpartum anxiety.

FL:  And therapy helped you.

Hallie: Therapy helped me so much. I am the biggest advocate of therapy. Even if you don't feel like something's wrong, go see a therapist. Because there's nothing better than just having someone objective to talk to, and just to listen. I think it's the best thing that anybody can do for themselves. And so I've shared about that on my platform. Just like I said, it's okay to not be okay and it's okay to be okay and to have somebody to talk to.

FL: What does your husband think about all of this? Did he think you could make a career out of being an influencer on Instagram?

Hallie: He has always been so supportive. He has always been. 99% of the pictures you see, he's taken. He's fantastic. It's taken some training. I've taught him how to get the angles and the lighting and all of that. But I think at first he was really just kind of exhausted with how much, I mean, it's an effort. It was a lot of our weekends spent taking pictures and trying to learn how to do this. And now that he sees it as a career, I think he's like it was worth it. But he has always been my number one supporter. He's poured almost as much time and energy into this as I have. And I truly couldn't have done it without him.

FL: Since we're in the season, what are you most thankful for?

Hallie: Honestly, motherhood. I'm so thankful for getting to be a mom. I was so scared of what that would look like. I'm so thankful that I get to do this journey. And now as we get into the holidays, I'm thankful that the three of us get to develop our own little family traditions and kind of do things that set the stage for her core memories for life. And I know it's probably the cheesy answer, but I really am so thankful that I get to be a mom.

FL: So do you have any Thanksgiving traditions that you do with your extended family, your mom and your sister? Things you did as a kid maybe that you want to pass down?

Hallie: I would always go over the day before Thanksgiving and kind of cook everything with my grandma. Our Wednesday before Thanksgiving was always more special to me getting to make all the meals and just kind of plan the menu. There's a recipe that either a lot of people have heard of it or you've never heard of it, but it's the strawberry jello pretzel salad. That's like my dish that I make. I started doing that when I was probably in early middle school. And so every year I make it. Not sure how many people actually eat it.

Instagram: @thehalliescene

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