Follow the Leader

North Mississippi micro-influencers are making macro-impacts by staying true to themselves as they gain social media followers.

Written by Abigail Nichols

You’re browsing Instagram when something catches your eye. Maybe it’s an on-trend outfit, maybe a styled food shot, maybe stunning interior design. It speaks to you. It draws you in. A couple of clicks, and just like that, you’re now following an influencer.

Today, north Mississippians are putting themselves out there in more ways than one as social media influencers. Oxford and Ole Miss specifically have ties to some big-name macro-influencers — defined as someone who has 100,000 to 1 million social media followers — including Kathleen Barnes (of Carrie Bradshaw Lied); fashion blogger Hunter Premo; comedian Heather McMahan; and more.

Even more common locally are “micro-influencers,” who have 1,000 to 100,000 followers on social media. Regardless of the number of followers, being an influencer can be an exhausting, burnout-inducing job, and those that are good at it have typically spent years working their way up the ladder by posting about a specific topic, such as food, fashion, fitness, lifestyle or travel. They become known for spotting trends, finding the best local dining hot spots or building amazing “wish lists” for anyone and any occasion. The number of followers they have reflects their hard work and dedication.

According to micro-influencer like Alden Caroline Easter, known online as @aceatthebeach, being an expert in any one particular subject matter isn’t the only requirement for success as an influencer. She says what’s really required is authenticity — on and off social media.

“I don’t do it to get followers, I do it because I love it and because it brings me joy,” she said. Easter, an Ole Miss graduate, posts primarily about life and fashion along Florida’s Highway 30A.

“It’s not about the esthetic or the outfits — I tried that and it didn’t work — it’s about being a source that is helpful to and for others,” Easter said. “Instagram doesn’t need another $50 fashion finder.”

Easter urges users and aspiring influencers alike to find their own voices and to not be afraid to be themselves.

Lexi Harper, also an Ole Miss graduate, agrees. Harper, who was as a college student was a Rebelette and Miss University 2020, has more than 10,000 followers on Instagram.

“I show the good, the bad, and the ugly,” Harper said. “A lot of times, we (as influencers) don’t think about our audiences, we just post what we want to post. We need to pay attention to what we are posting, who are our audience is, and how our message is received. With thousands of followers, we have to remember that we are our own brand.”

Eye-Catching North Mississippi Micro-Influencers

1. Asya Branch | @asyadanielle


  • From Booneville

  • Miss USA 2020

2. Erin Austen Abbot | @erinaustenabbot


  • From Water Valley

  • Writer, author, photographer

  • Latest book: “Family Field Trip”

3. Sara Caroline Bridgers | @sarcar_


  • From Oxford; lives in Hawaii

  • Fashion, jewelry, lifestyle, vlogger

  • Small business owner: runs jewelry business XO SarCar

4. Alden Caroline Easter “ACE” | @aceatthebeach


  • Ole Miss graduate; lives in Florida

  • Florida’s Highway 30A, Nashville life and travel

  • Small business owner: co-owner of social media marketing firm Jaw Media and sells a line of hats through @aceatthebeach.

5. Lindy Goodson | @the_real_lin_shady


  • Ole Miss graduate

  • Fashion, lifestyle

6. Kyle Gordan | @kylegordan


  • From Oxford; Ole Miss student

  • Lifestyle, college, fashion

7. Lexi Harper | @_lexharper_


  • Ole Miss graduate

  • Miss University 2020 and Ole Miss Rebelette Alumna

8. Elizabeth Heiskell | @elizabethheiskellofficial


  • From Oxford

  • Cookbook author, entertainer, “Today Show” guest

9. Lyle Lawson | @lylelawson


  • Ole Miss graduate

  • Food, fashion, lifestyle

  • Co-founder of social media agency @thesocialsite

10. Louise Montgomery | @louisemontgomeryblog


  • From Jackson; Ole Miss graduate; lives in Boston

  • Outfit stylist and blogger

  • Host of @becoming_a_blogger podcast

11. Audrey Muse | @audweee


  • From Jackson; Ole Miss graduate; lives in New York City

  • Lifestyle

12. Kelly Wynne | @shopkellywynne


  • Ole Miss graduate

  • Handbag & accessories designer

  • Founder of Kelly Wynne

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