Model Diaries with Erika Costell
Photographed by NICK URTEAGA
Tell us about yourself!
My name is Erika Costell and I am from Temperance, Michigan! I started modeling at the age of 16 which eventually led me to Los Angeles. Once I got to LA I realized I wanted to be more than just a model. Through networking in 2015, I ended up becoming the first employee of one of the very first content houses (Team 10). A couple years later in 2017, I ended up becoming a talent member of that same content house. I grew 1M followers overnight, and have been learning and navigating this industry ever since.
I don’t think I’ve ever really been able to define my career since I’ve gained an audience on social media. It started as modeling, then it went into a business, then I was an everyday vlogger, next I went into music, and then back to modeling. Now my main focus is putting my energy into my businesses and things I am passionate about while maintaining a platform that I’m proud of.
Describe yourself in three words.
Loyal, outgoing, and resilient.
What can people expect to see from your social media platforms?
It depends on the platform!
-Instagram is more day to day behind the scenes, modeling, lifestyle, and curated photos.
-TikTok is a more carefree and random side of me.
-YouTube is where you can meet my friends/family and overall see a little bit of everything I’ve done so far throughout my career on social media!
Can you share insight into the process of creating the platform you have today? What challenges did you overcome and which part seemed seamless?
The very beginning of my career on social media was intense. I grew 1M followers in 24 hours on YouTube and I really had no idea what the hell I was doing. I knew from my experience working the backend of a content house what was missing in the market at that time, and I also knew consistency was key. I made vlogging my entire life for a year straight. Living everyday trying to outdo myself from the day before was really hard on my mental health, self esteem, and I felt like I was losing myself along with my sense of reality. I will forever be grateful for that season of my life, but looking back now I wish I would have stepped out of my own head sooner. Realizing numbers on social media did not define me as a person or my success is what helped me explore my potential further and get back to doing more things I truly love and am passionate about.
The part that seems seamless to me is the overall creating and the creative direction! I absolutely love seeing my ideas come to life whether that be on social media or in business, and for me that’s what comes naturally.
What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
I never planned on being an influencer.
What’s a goal in your career you hope to accomplish?
I hope to continue creating content that inspires girls to be whatever they want to be, own who they are, and never stray away from a dream because of what other people say or think. I hope to create a group of boss bitches within my platform who can turn to each other for inspiration, confidence, friendship, and a sense of safety on all platforms.
What and who inspires you most? Why?
My Mom and my Grandma. They have both overcome so many things in life with nothing but grace and positivity. They are both the reason for me becoming the strong independent woman I’ve always wanted to be.
As an influencer, how do you hope to influence people through your platform?
I hope to just live as an example through my own story. At the end of the day I’m just a normal girl from Michigan. When I started modeling there was no Instagram or TikTok…if I can make it here, you can too!
Who are your favorite content creators?
I love Lauryn Bosstick! I learn a LOT from her platforms. She does an incredible job of owning who she is and bringing her community together!
Are you working on any exciting projects you can share?
I can’t share too much, but yes! Modeling was my first love so I’m really excited to be coming back to that more full time! I am also working on many new things in categories of the industry I have not explored yet, and will finally be able to share a little bit about one of the businesses I have been working on over the past two years!
What are three items in your closet you cannot live without?
Akire Sport Sweatsuit, Akire Sport Perfect Tank and white high top Jordan’s.
Essential product in your beauty routine?
111Skin sheet masks! (The Y Theorem Bio Cellulose is my fave especially while traveling.)
What was your favorite part of staying at Garza Blanca Cancun? What activities would you recommend for someone looking to visit?
Everything about Garza Blanca Cancun is beautiful! My favorite part of the stay was when Mackinley and I went kayaking. (and of course the endless spicy margs, lol) I would recommend the beach service and any of the restaurants to someone who is visiting!
What are you looking forward to most in 2022?
Entering and exploring new parts of the industry, new items coming to Akire Sport, traveling with my friends, and continuing to conserve my energy & peace.
What advice do you have for someone who aspires to have a career like your own?
Be consistent, lean into your individuality, be careful who you surround yourself with, remember it’s okay to say no to avoid burnout, put your mental health above everything else, accept and own rejection and do not give up.
What would you like to say to your fans?
I cannot thank y’all enough for all the support you have shown me over these last few years. It has been so amazing to watch you guys grow and evolve with me. I cannot wait to be able to see you in person again – I would not be where I am without you. I LOVE YOU!!!