Editor’s note: This shoot was conducted before quarantine.
Nowadays, people are glued to their phones seeking either answers or an escape from the world around. And in the process, we come across people who many tend to adore on social media. However they are only often just viewed as who they are online. Seeing as I used to be one of those people, it was refreshing to get to know Issa Pressman simply as she is.
Issa, the confident and easy-going woman we see on Instagram, enjoys the same activities that people on the millennial-gen z cusp do. Singing, dancing, painting—on a regular day, these are things she loves to do freely because it’s what allows her to express herself. She even loves squeezing a lot of tea time throughout her day since she says that she loves “the peace and calm that preparing tea” gives her.
“I love my routine. I love stretching first thing in the morning. I walk my dog for her toilet business, light up an incense or a candle for scents, I’ll sweat and workout or do yoga, get myself to work/deal with emails, prepare food or a drink I wanna make that day to share w[ith] the fam or friends,” she writes in an email.
I’ve had the pleasure of getting to interview Issa twice: before and during the pandemic. And while she’s busy adding handwashing and alcohol-rubbing to her everyday routine, Issa shares what she does on the worldwide web and how she deals with it on the regular.
On how she uses social media
ICYDK, Issa is one of the social media influencers that take it upon themselves to post what she calls “substantial content.” Regardless of time and money, she accepts the brands she works with based on how much she relates to them and how well she thinks she could represent them.
Seeing as she has a lot of experience with social media, she knows eyes will definitely be on her. That’s why she believes people should be smart and careful about what they post. “State facts, [cite] sources, give your input, inspire or say nothing at all,” she advises. “That’s how I do it.”
And it’s through confidence and honesty that she empowers women. “When you’re happy with what you’re doing, you’ll feel confident and comfortable. And with honesty, you’ll be brave,” she admonishes. “And when people see this in you, there’ll be this nice natural glow that can inspire others.”
On the effects of social media on mental health
Social media has helped us connect with others, especially now that we’re still in quarantine. But let’s be real, the internet has turned us into overthinkers. Seeing all our friends and favorite celebrities’ glamorous lives has left most of us wanting to be in their shoes. But then again, we’re not getting the whole picture. They’re called curated feeds for a reason—to only show the good parts.
And because of these beautiful posts that glamorize life, these online personalities’ followers tend to criticize their own life. “This creates questions within themselves—doubts. ‘Why don’t I? Why? Why not me? How about me?’ But I wish people remember that not everything you see online is perfect,” Issa writes.
“People choose what they wanna show and they’ll show the good things. Just remember that you got good things going on in your life too… in real life,” she continues.
It’s something she believes remedies (or at least lessens) one’s overthinking tendencies. “Have your mind set on being content, grateful and thankful, if and when you can. Social media will still exist as it exists now but your views on it will change, and your value for real life will increase.”
And if you’re ever faced with haters on your profile, Issa advises you to just shrug them off.
On speaking up during a pandemic
During these unprecedented times, I’m sure a lot of people expect much more from social media personalities like speaking up about socio political issues—which Issa believes in too.
“Right now, I feel like everyone who has a reach on social media should make their accounts available to spread awareness. The stand that they’ll make will totally be up to them [and] should be respected as every one will always have their own opinion,” she explains. “As long as we get our facts right, we should all be able to speak our mind [and] stand our grounds.”
But she also believes that no one should be shamed for their involvement or silence. “Standing up is an initiative,” Issa writes. “I know that people will always be where what’s right is, and what’s right can always vary to different people. If you know it’s right, be brave.”
And there’s more to your favorite public figures than what you see on the gram. Most of us don’t even know that they’re already doing action behind the scenes, or as Issa calls it, the “leg work.” If there’s something Issa has changed in her online activity, it’s her new online motto, “Educate. Advocate. Donate.”
Then again, everyone has their own thing when it comes to dealing with social media. Truth be told, I’m still trying to get it together. Sometimes we just need to take some notes from people who live on social media like Issa to help us get our groove on. And while everything she said may not apply to every one of us, it’s great to learn about what others think of the internet.
Photos by Joseph Pascual
Styling by Jana Silao
Makeup by Jia Achacruz
Creative direction by Tricia Guevara
Produced by Tisha Ramirez-Pante
Assisted by Jacqueline Arias, Lia delos Reyes and Amrie Cruz