Australian Instagram supermodel Pia Muehlenbeck is out there to shatter the illusion about the perfect lives models live, carefully constructed during long photoshooting sessions.
Several studies have shown that social media has negative effects on the psychological well-being of some people, as if one takes their contents too seriously, almost everyone else’s lives seem way better. This is especially true for Instagram models, whose online presence is often carefully tailored to reflect a false reality.
The German-born Sydneyan is a qualified lawyer who left the corporate world back in 2014 in order to do something she finds more rewarding and which is closer to her heart.
In the intervening year-and-a-half her life turned on its head in a good way, as she started a successful modeling career as well as building her own environmentally-conscious swimsuit brand, SLINKII Athletic. Her Instagram profile is currently followed by 1,7 million users.
But perhaps her diverse background, both culturally and professionally, has not made Muehlenbeck your generic Instagram model. Born in Reutlingen, Germany, she emigrated to Australia with her parents aged seven and did not speak a word of English. A self-professed tomboy at the time, she not only successfully overcame the challenges of integrating to a new country and culture, but found success both academically and in sports before deciding to concentrate on fashion.
This peculiar road leading up to what this self-confessed ‘goofball’ does today might be the reason why she does not sugarcoat her modeling endeavors and approaches whatever she does in an original, self-deprecating way. Pia is not being afraid to show that she can end up washed up by the ocean in exactly the same way as someone with 274 Instagram followers would.
… the ocean has a mind of its own 😂 pic.twitter.com/f0f08rHyxo
— pia (@piamuehlenbeck) January 13, 2017
Speaking exclusively to UNILAD, the young entrepreneur explained:
“I think people often feel you should act a certain way, but I’m a goofball, and if something funny happens I’d rather be real and post it.
It’s very easy to get sucked into the trap of believing that everything you see on someone’s Instagram is perfection. In reality, it’s a curated version of the best bits.
I wanted to put that tweet out because firstly, it made me laugh, and secondly, I like the reminder that we’re all just imperfect humans doing the best we can each day.”
Through her video diaries, Muehlenbeck shows all the aspects of being a star Instagram supermodel, not excluding anything
That’s why the viewer will find glamorous photoshoots juxtaposed with the Australian-German falling off a hammock, or going down a slide with no running water, resulting in a burned backside
Speaking to UNILAD, Pia has spoken of how her her carefully-constructed glamorous Instagram existence is contrasted with the time-consuming activities that go into achieving it.
“Honestly, if you saw my camera roll it’s hilarious. I use the burst feature on my iPhone, so I generally take 200 photos to get one good selfie. It sounds like a lot, but actually, I’m just holding my finger down on the shutter for 15 seconds and then I choose my favorite one right after.”
“When I travel, I generally shoot, explore and have fun for around 3-4 hours a day, then I head back to the hotel room, spend around 2-3 hours managing emails related to SLINKII, then get all the photos ready for the next days posts on Instagram, and then work on blog posts for where I am staying, and we also edit a daily vlog on YouTube,” the model explained her work routine.
“Typically when I’m overseas I generate 50Gb to 70Gb of photos and videos a day. It’s hard work, but very rewarding.”
Although it might not be obvious from her social media feed, the law graduate’s interests are much more diverse than posing in front of a camera.
She’s obsessed with Harry Potter, so much so that she uses a magic wand-shaped remote control and can recite dialogue from the series at any time.
A far cry from what most people expect a supermodel’s life to be like, Pia has no qualms about talking of her nerdiness.
“I once flew all the way to LA to visit Harry Potter World at Universal Studios, and got the dates wrong. I arrived a week before it actually opened so all I got was a Gryffindor t-shirt,” she admitted.
This young business woman originally started SLINKII Athletic out of her bedroom as a passion project by selling organic yoga mats made out of tree rubber to her friends while still pursuing a career in law. Originally she was working 12-hour-shifts at a law firm while running SLINKII on the side, but when business picked up, she risked it all and took the plunge.
It all went even better than Pia hoped for, and she was soon able to use SLINKII’s success as a vehicle for her social responsibility. As a passionate environmentalist, Muehlenbeck is fighting deforestation together with environmental conservation non-profit One Tree Planted through donations made from each piece of clothing she sells. This has resulted in more than 1,000 trees being planted in the former lawyer’s reforestation quest.
Despite her success, Pia still remains grounded. She doesn’t feel any different than her online followers and the people who buy her products. On the contrary, she feels a strong and personal bond with them.
“It’s very strange to me when I see people out wearing SLINKII. I always approach them. It’s so embarrassing, I go and introduce myself and squeal and hug them. It’s so important to get personal with people, and get their feedback,” the Reutlinger says.