Sara Foster and Erin Foster address a 'problem' with Instagram culture -- and how to fix it (Exclusive)
Sara and Erin Foster are hoping to make social media more authentic place and, if that means they have to make fun of themselves to make that happen, then so be it.
The famous sisters recently became spokeswomen for Studio by Tide and, in an exclusive interview with AOL tied to their collaboration, the Fosters sounded off on the pervasive problem on social media of other celebritiies and influencers hawking things that either don't work, support outdated standards or are simply harmful just for a paycheck.
"It’s something that more people need to be conscious of, because it really is a problem," Sara told us. "They have millions and millions of followers and those people will do whatever they tell them to do. There’s a responsibility with that, and I don’t know that enough people take it seriously enough."
"It’s so important for young women comparing themselves to Instagram models and seeing something that’s not real to know that," Erin echoed. "Everyone’s just looking at someone else’s page wishing that they were them, so it’s important to represent yourself accurately."
Check out our wide-ranging interview with Sara and Erin Foster below, where we discuss the pitfalls of Instagram endorsements, why they lean into their flaws on social media, having a connected family and famous girlfriends and what Sara had to say to get a picture with Kanye West at Kim Kardashian's baby shower.
AOL: You were on the "Today" show recently to talk about your latest partnership with Studio by Tide, which provides gentle protection to clothes we wear the most. Are there things you guys have in your rotation that you wear multiple times a week and are afraid to wash?
Sara Foster: This product was essentially made for us. Like, I have a wardrobe: Usually my favorite jeans, my favorite delicate Aritzia turtleneck that I live for, but it was discontinued -- they always discontinue the greatest things, I don’t know why -- and, if it was lost or ruined, I’d be devastated. There's also a Wolford bodysuit that I love, and these are all things that are technically washable, but the directions are always so specific -- wash cold, tumble load, this, that -- and it’s just a risk, so you end up not washing it, which is gross.
Erin Foster: There are a lot of things that are either sentimental or the perfect fit -- that white t-shirt that you cannot get another of and you’re so nervous to mess it up. I’ve put whites in the wash that have come out with a yellow tint, and if white is no longer proper white, you really can’t wear it ever again. There are pieces that I don’t want to send to the dry cleaners, so if I could have something at home where I could wash the things I cared about and not worry about them and feel safe, then I would do that all the time. Finally, Studio by Tide comes out because, even though Tide is a very consistent, reliable brand that won’t mess up your clothes, there are certain things I’m not willing to wash -- but now I will.
[Watch Sara and Erin Foster's "Today" show interview at the top of the page]
During your "Today" interview, you mentioned that you do get offered a fair amount of collaborations with brands, but don't just say "yes" to everything. I like that you openly say that there are things that you aren’t going to endorse just to make money -- I'm sure there are people who do just the opposite.
Sara: Here’s the thing: We’re living in a time where so many more people have platforms and brands are coming to celebrities and influencers and what have you, but there are a lot of crazy brands out there. I’m not saying we’re being offered things left and right…
Erin: We are! [Laughs]
Sara: But we’re very conscious of what we represent and what we put our names behind. A lot of people aren’t responsible, and they’re hawking the craziest stuff every day.
Erin: There’s a responsibility when people pay attention to what you buy, and we watch the engagement that we have, because we’re really active with the people who follow us -- we respond, we comment, we reply, we open DMs -- and, if I’m saying I stand behind something and I like it and I use it, I want people to be able to trust that that’s real. I’m not willing to just hawk some diet pill or some diet tea that I don’t believe in and I wouldn’t use, because I think there’s a responsibility there. If you become a reason why several people are buying or using something and you don’t believe in it, I think it’s a slippery slope. There are plenty of great products and brands out there and you don’t need to do that. It actually lowers your own brand.
Sara: We don’t get behind a lot! It might feel like it on social, but those are things that we’re personally invested in: Our own clothing line and Bumble, which we’re employees of, but we don’t actually get behind other brands that we’re not long-term affiliated with.
Erin: We also have a policy where our brand agent will talk to and pitch brands that we genuinely use and like, which is a more organic way to go about these things.
Sara: It’s something that more people need to be conscious of, because it really is a problem. They have millions and millions of followers and those people will do whatever they tell them to do. There’s a responsibility with that, and I don’t know that enough people take it seriously enough.
It feels like people endorsing those fit teas and such is somewhat of a bubble that must be bursting soon...
Erin: I agree. There was that burst where it was decided you have to call something an ad, and people started taking that seriously. It used to be hard for a celebrity to get a proper endorsement with a brand with a commercial on a television show, but now it’s easy to get an Instagram partnership. Not easy, but they’re more available and people are getting loose with the rules. I think it needs to tighten up and people need to get comfortable standing behind what they’re promoting.
Sara: I saw someone recently representing a soft drink or a taco food chain, and I was like, "This is proven to be really bad for your health!" It’s not up for discussion. How are they doing this?! That being said, I’d love to be in one of those Carl’s Jr. burgers. [Laughs] I’m available.
Going off of that, the next generation is more susceptible to these messages and, Sara, considering that you have young children, I'm curious if that makes you feel an extra sense of responsibility around the messages you're putting out.
Sara: I already see my 8-year-old in this world not protected the way she was. Eight is not what eight used to be. And you do need to be aware. They’re sponges and they’re easily influenced and I don’t want to be part of that messaging.
One of you said on the "Today" show that you "lean into your flaws" on social media.
Sara: Yeah, Erin has a lot of flaws, which makes them easier to jump on.
But that’s such a good way of putting your refreshing approach to social media into words.
Erin: What happens is, when you’re young, you’re trying to hide your flaws and run away from them and you just want to be someone else. Then, as you get more comfortable, you realize, okay: These are my tendencies, these are my bad habits, these are my flaws, these are the parts of my personality that I want to change but probably won’t. Or, these are the physical flaws that I see as unattractive but someone else might not. As you get older, it’s important to embrace them, to accept them and to find humor in them, because you are who you are. You’re not going to change that much, and you have to get on board with what that is. You can’t botox it all away! It’s so important for young women comparing themselves to Instagram models and seeing something that’s not real to know that. Everyone’s just looking at someone else’s page wishing that they were them, so it’s important to represent yourself accurately.
A lot is made about your family’s connections in Los Angeles and your famous girlfriends. Do you ever … not get tired of that, but sort of just think, like, "Can people just move on from constantly bringing this up"?
Erin: We’re not delusional. We understand that we have connected friends and a connected family, and that gives us an advantage in life. Absolutely, so we would never deny that. But, it’s really about what you do with your resources and your access, because there are plenty of people who have famous families and wealthy people around them who don’t do anything with it or make anything of their lives. We’ve always approached our lives from the perspective of, "How can we contribute? How can we go off and do our own thing, make our own money, make our own living and do what we’re passionate about?" Is it frustrating to always be introduced as someone’s daughter or someone’s friend or people want to gossip about your friends and family? Yeah, we don’t love that, because we’re not on a press tour about our dad’s marriage, but we also are like: It is what it is.
Sara: I also love it. I really wanted to talk to Kanye West the other day [at Kim Kardashian's baby shower], and I didn’t know my "in," because he doesn’t talk to anyone, and I was like, "I’m David Foster’s daughter!" I love it, and I’ll use that card whenever I can. It might’ve made him so sad or the littlest bit more interested in me. Like, who cares? The reality is that our dad is in the music business, and if Erin and I wanted to be singers he could probably make us sound really good, but in our business it really doesn’t do much. I wish it did, because it is a grind and a hustle.
Erin: Nobody is hiring a comedy writer because David Foster wrote a hit. Nobody cares.
Sara: Our pilot at Fox last year did not get picked up. Nobody’s pulling strings. At the end of the day, you have to show up and you have to be good. And, if you’re not good, people don’t want to hire you and don’t want to work with you.
It only gets you so far.
Erin: Exactly. We’d never deny that doors are open to us that aren’t going to be open to someone else, but once we walk into the room, it’s on us. You can’t stay in the room on that favor. You just can’t. You can’t get a deal, you can’t get an offer, you can’t get a job, you can’t get a career. You have to really back it up and show you know what you’re doing.
Sara: I wish it was, though.
Erin: Sara’s looking for a free ride.
Sara: I would love a little help. As far as our girlfriends, too, most of my girlfriends are the girls we grew up with, so we have all been friends before there was fame or any of that.
Really, you're just documenting your lives as they are and your friends just happen to have become famous.
Erin: Also, our girlfriends aren’t successful because they’re someone’s daughter or wife or girlfriend. They all have their own businesses and our friends are really ambitious, hardworking ballers. We’re all on a hustle and have a business, so everyone has to support each other.
You're truly surrounded by women with ambition.
Sara: Yeah, and we all help each other. We say to Kate Hudson, "You’re going to be in our pilot because we need to get it picked up." Then she’s like, "Okay, where’s your Fabletics? Put it on and post it."
You mentioned that you met Kanye at Kim's baby shower. Were you surprised how much your post about accidentally getting her new son girls' clothing got picked up? It was everywhere.
Sara: Oh, my god! In my mind, I don’t have that many followers on Instagram, so no one’s looking at what I’m doing. No one cares. I don’t think of myself as an influential person. I know people like that, I see people like that, but I genuinely don’t feel like anything I say or do gets out. I would not have posted it if I thought that it would become a story everywhere. I'm also surprised that people were like, "How did you not know [she was having a boy]?"
Erin: Did everyone know she was having a boy?
There was definitely speculation, but I don't believe that it had been openly confirmed.
Sara: She’s my friend, and I really, really like her, but this is her fourth kid! She’s on the cover of Vogue, she doesn’t have the time to talk about her fourth kid’s gender.
Erin: This baby shower is so good for your career!
Neither of you are afraid to speak your mind about a celebrity story -- for example, Erin, you posted a hilarious screenshot about Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson's breakup -- do you ever worry about running into people that you're posting or talking about?
Sara: That was controversial! You said, "This one’s a shocker!" Erin was like, "There’s a responsibility for these young people out here moving so fast, getting engaged quickly. When you put your relationship out there so aggressively, all bets are off."
Erin: I try to be careful. Obviously, I like to push a boundary and say something a little edgy, but I’ve never really had beef with anyone. We managed to have a TV show for two years that was making fun of celebrities and nobody ever got mad at us because we are usually the butt of the joke. It’s not like we’re pointing fingers and not willing to make a joke about ourselves, as well. Maybe I also just thought that Ariana and Pete would never see it. Maybe they did, who knows. I’ll tell you one thing, though: I made fun of some girls on "The Bachelor" -- not even in a mean way, but like, "Oh, that’s a smart idea, leave your job to run after a guy" or whatever -- and these girls wrote me and were nice about it but were like, "Hey, I follow you. I do have a job but I know it looks bad." I do have to be careful, and you forget that it can make its way around.
Sara: It’s always such a reminder. I’m really sensitive, so when people say mean things to me or about me on social media, it upsets me.
Erin: Sara calls me and reads me comments and I’m like, "Close your phone. Who cares?"
Sara: Erin does not care. Like, Erin got blasted yesterday for her boobs coming out on a show and she didn’t care. But I get really affected by it and it bums me out. It’s a reminder to be more aware.
Erin: There are some people I don’t like and I just want them to know it, I guess.
Sara: People who follow us know our sense of humor. Like, I make fun of my children on social media.
Erin: My energy really goes to throwing shade at Sara more than anyone else. We can do it because we’re siblings, so it’s okay, but then other people try to relate to us through being mean to us about one of us. I can make fun of Sara, but I’m not going to be friends with someone if they’re making fun of my sister.
Sara: It’s interesting, because you never talk sh-t about someone who isn’t doing the thing that you want to be doing. You’re usually talking sh-t about the person who is out there killing it and it triggers something in you. It’s a reminder to support each other -- especially women. We forget about it all the time, but we’re so much more powerful when we support each other and come together.
This interview has been edited and condensed.