Baking sensation Sam Ushiro reveals the pressures behind being a social star
Sam Ushiro has been an Internet baking sensation for the past eight months. After launching her colorful blog, "Aww, Sam", Sam has been able to captivate hundreds of thousands of followers with her keen eye for radiant dessert creations including pizza cookies, donut ice cream cones, and even emoji-inspired sweets. Her Instagram proves to be a visual diary for anyone and everyone who needs an added dose of color inspiration in their day-to-day lives.
And as Sam's fanbase gets bigger, so does her workload. Being a social star comes with its own added set of pressures, including keeping up with photographs, making sure everything feels new and exciting, and interacting with die-hard fans. But if anyone is up for the task at hand, it's Sam. And trust us, not only is she not slowing down with her DIY projects, but she also has big plans in store for the next five years.
We recently caught up with the creator at our New York City offices, where she spoke to us candidly about the pressures she faces as an Instagram star, how she's getting accustomed to being recognized by fans, and where she sees "Aww, Sam" going in the next few years.
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Have you connected with your fans on a more personal level since starting Aww, Sam?
Because of the kind of stuff I do, I have a lot of younger fans. I definitely have a lot of middle school girls who if I answer them back on Instagram they freak out saying, "Oh my God you answered me!" And I'm just like, "Of course I would answer you, I'm a person too." There have been a few times where I have been approached on the street by people who have said, "Hey I recognize you from the Internet." And I'm always just like, "Yeah, I'm just a person." You don't know what to do at first because they always know so much about you but you don't know anything about them. I always feel weird that so many people know so much about me. It's cool, but it can be a bit jarring.
You obviously have such a distinct aesthetic. What is it like keeping up with your Instagram posts but also having to keep up with your unique eye?
That's the biggest stress in my life. Instagram followers don't always want to see photos straight from your blog post, they want to see additional pictures too. On top of the blog posts pictures, I need to make sure I take new Instagram pictures for the week and that's definitely a lot of pressure. And as my Instgram account grows too, I need to post more photos a day. So I went from posting one a day to maybe two or three a day. It's definitely pressure with having such a colorful aesthetic too because I'm in New York and there's not that much color here. So I can't just go out to lunch and snap a pic on the way or something. It has to all be staged in my apartment unless I happen upon a colorful mural. But there's not always a chance that I can go outside while the sun is still out to take a picture. So that's above anything else, the biggest stress: finding the time to post everyday and finding the time to collect the pictures
I can't even imagine having to stage photos around the sun. How does that work for you especially during the winter time when you have less sunlight to work with?
I think last month it started to get light until 5:30 and the day that it happened, I was like "Hallelujah, this is amazing! I have 2 more hours of light." But I know the sun rise and sun set schedule really well. In the apartment I was in before, it was a huge problem because I had smaller windows, but now I have floor to ceiling windows so that helps a lot. I have to keep track of what position the sun is moving and what part of my apartment is the best for light. And the days that it snowed was really great because the snow almost acts as a huge reflector into the apartment, so the winter has it's upsides.
How have you found a balance between showcasing your DIY projects, fashion, and food posts?
I think the thing that I love the most is doing the food and desserts, and that's the thing I think my fans love to see too, because I think some of it is really complicated and not necessarily something that anybody is actually going to make. But they like seeing it still, so I think that's the thing they like the most and it's the easiest for me to come with ideas centered around food. Every time I have to think of something unrelated to food if it's not a holiday, I don't know what to do. It's been tough and I think that my blog gravitates towards more of a dessert food blog, with just other bits of other stuff thrown into it.
Even though your blog is pretty new, it's really taken off. Where do you see Aww, Sam going in the next five years?
Because I haven't been doing this for long I think that I'll still want to be doing the same stuff, but I just would want to focus on doing workshops or something more interactive. The only class I have done was in Brooklyn that was great! It was awesome to show real people how to do projects themselves. I did cookie decorating -- which I said I was not a cookie person, but it was great. I got to ask my mom for tips and I showed them how to make donut cookies for Christmas. It was so fun! Hopefully I'll have some employees in five years to help me out so I can just manage more of the ideas and making the blog posts, and less of doing everyday task.
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