Getting to know "The Bird's Papaya"
Meet Sarah Landry, also famously referred to as the ‘The Bird’s Papaya,” – Sarah is a lifestyle influencer, with over 1 million IG followers, and is also known for being the host of her very own podcast, The Papaya Podcast.
Sarah recently hit the 1 million milestone on her instagram platform, and her growth is continuing to explode with her gaining roughly 138k followers per month. Influencers are always brainstorming new strategies on how to grow, so many of them must be asking HOW? HOW is she growing so fast?
For one, Sarah is a beautiful, soft hearted person, and she is very well known for her thoughtful and vulnerable content, meaning her content often touches upon body image, her marriage/divorce, her parenting style, and all the bits in between. It is because of her openness, and willingness to share with others, she has been able to organically grow such an incredbile fan base and online community, and as a result, is truly a leader for body positivity in the socials space.
Curious to know how Sarah’s journey all began? Let’s get to it.
When did you first start using social media?
About 11 years ago I began “the Birds Papaya” as a blog and etsy shop. Rooted in the pits of motherhood, I was bored, lonely and craving connection. I really wanted to create something that made me feel human (apart from being a mother). I even coded my first website!
Was it your plan to become an influencer, or did it just happen naturally? It was about 8/9 years before I got paid for any content creative work, so I would call it more a “hope”. In many ways I’m happy for this timing, because it made me passionate for what I was doing -without pay!
Walk me through the step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today. What was the first thing you did? Next?
11 years ago for my blog and 6/7 years ago (I think?) I came on Instagram like any other did, full of selfies and pics of my kids. After a weight loss journey, I started to gain media and social media attention and my account grew. Unfortunately, so did my anxiety around my body and my low self-esteem. It caused me to be overly perfectionist about everything, and I ended up really struggling on and off social media. After a divorce and complete restart of my personal life, I started showing up more candidly in a way of healing through vulnerability. From there, I feel like I truly connected with myself and with my community, and my community began to share my posts and my work, causing a rapid growth (600k in a year to be exact!).
How long was it before your social media platforms became profitable? How did you live through those first few months/years? Did you have any struggles?
So like I mentioned, it was about 9 years. I worked on this all part-time through being a stay at home mom, a single mom with two jobs and into a career job during the day. Eventually, in late 2018 it took over and I was able to quit my job and focus on my community more.
What did you do prior to influencing on social media? If you weren’t an influencer, what would be your dream job?
Stay at home mom for 10 years. Server for 2 years, then I worked at a publishing company for 3 years.
For my dream job, I think I would love to work in marketing or media. It’s truly a space I love.
What are your thoughts on social media? And what do you think is the most commonly misunderstood thing about social media?
That it is inherently negative on mental health. Yes, it can be. But we have so much power, so much choice. We literally CHOOSE what we see, a curated “news” feed. For me, I’ve experienced both, now almost entirely good, and that’s because I have put my likes and follows into places that are meaningful and impactful to me and my mental health.
What negative assumptions, if any, have been made about you via social media?
I mean lots of things over the years, but no one thing repeatedly. Often people love to challenge my love for things like hair and makeup, because I speak into a space of self-love, but at the end of the day, self-love is so different for each unique person. There is something I so deeply enjoy about doing my hair and makeup that to stop for the sake of others, would be a dishonor to my own journey.
Tell us something about yourself that your followers don’t know
Why my marriage ended. I keep that close because I have kids involved and don’t want what is truly OUR story as a family to be one I make public.
Of all the gifted packages you receive as an influencer, which product/item excites you the most? What would be your dream brand to collab with?
For gifted packages, I love ones that truly surprise me, or are practical for our family. I don’t want things for the sake of things, but it’s nice to be able to put a voice to some of these new products on the market. Also gives me an opportunity to recycle unused gifts back into my community. For a dream collab, anything Disney. I’m just such a fan at my core, that it would be the most genuine. But, I’ve really let it go for the most part. I understand that in the line of what I’m speaking (sharing personal photos and body images) it may not be on-brand for them!
Who are three of the most important, and influential people in your life? and why?
My mom for one: she’s struggled with a lot of things her whole life, and remains such a woman of grace, understanding, and love. A lot of people use the line “hurt people hurt people” and my mom is one of the most “hurt” people I know – and she is nothing but love. It’s a great reminder to me that we have choice in our reactions to life and it’s hurts.
The next would be my daughter Maya – she’s growing up right in front of my eyes and advocates for her mental health, her creative wants, and truly steps into who she IS and not who others want of her.
Finally, Joanna Griffiths founder of Knix. This woman literally plucked me out of social media and had me model for Knixwear. Years later, she called me up again and prompted me to quit my job and pursue all this full-time. She continues to support me as an entrepreneur and a friend in a multitude of ways.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring influencer if you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip?
Do it because you love it. Influence for the things you love, even without pay. Own that power you have, and have integrity in it. It’s better to be with less money and sleeping well at night, rather than to put all your hard work at risk for a paycheque and one post. Seek yourself. Everyday. Your platform will forever be an extension of you. Make yourself proud.
Where can you expect to see Sarah in the next decade? Despite her enormous growth, Sarah doesn’t actually have goals, or plans even.
She shares, “I tend to enjoy life and experiences through applying myself everyday and being surprised by where that takes me. It also makes me highly adaptable to different situations and circumstances!”
Such a refreshing response from such a successful woman – if you want to keep up with Sarah’s journey, follow her @thebirdspapaya.
Thanks for reading as always. and let me know in the comments which of Sarah’s responses resonated with you the most xx
Who are some of Sarah’s biggest inspirations?