Fitness star Paige Hathaway may not have taken the traditional route to fitness stardom, but she pretty much paved the way to the top when it comes to being a fitness influencer. She’s amassed an Instagram following of 4 million and more than 5.5 million likes on Facebook, putting her in a spot where many want to be nowadays.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out among other aspiring influencers, so we picked Hathaway’s brain for some tips and tricks in a one-on-one interview.
Hathaway, who grew up in Minnesota and now lives in Oklahoma, initially broke into the fitness world by training for a bikini show at the suggestion of a trainer.
“I did two bikini shows and then I thought, ‘This isn’t what I really want to do, but I’m passionate about fitness and I want to become a fitness model,’” Hathaway told Men’s Fitness. “So, that’s where the struggle came in: ‘How do I get from here to there and not do bikini shows?'”
That’s when she figured out Instagram could be the vehicle to get her name out there.
Now, of course, there are thousands of fitness influencers. It’s a competitive industry. But Hathaway says good old-fashioned hard work got her where she is today, and that same rule still applies.
“For me, one of the things I did that helped was becoming a ‘yes’ woman,” she says. “So, I did things for free, or reached out to people who would benefit my career. I reached out to so many brands, so many companies, so many magazines, so many networks—I mean anything and everything you can think of that was fitness-related. No one’s going to know who you are if you don’t put your name out there. And even if they tell you no, do it again next year, then the next year, and the year after.”
Since then, Hathaway’s become a huge name in fitness largely thanks to her social media presence. She’s the latest ambassador for F45 Training, a global fitness franchise where studio-goers take 45-minute functional fitness classes to burn fat and get fit.
“Because of who I am, and to stay on top of my game, I want to align myself with companies that are the best of the best—who are on top of their game,” Hathaway says. “And I’m so glad I did. I really love working with the company.”
One of her secrets to success is making sure the brands you represent are true to what you stand for. Another of those not-so-secret secrets is her authenticity. While social media is typically everyone’s highlight reel, Hathaway isn’t afraid to let followers in on her more relatable woes and connect with them on a more personal level on her various accounts, she says.
But throughout her journey, the most important tactic she’s employed has been her persistence. And if you want to make it in the influx of social influencers, it’ll be yours, too, she says.
“So many people think the opportunity comes to you, when in reality if you want something you have to make the opportunity yourself,” she says.
Check out the video below for the full interview, and follow Hathaway on Instagram at @paigehathaway.