Erika Costell Says Influencer Houses Are ‘Bad For Your Mental Health’

  • Erika Costell was one of the first influencers to get involved with a content house – Team 10.
  • She told Insider since leaving in 2018, she has taken a step back from any online sharing.
  • She said influencer collectives can be bad for your sanity, but they’re still valuable.

Erika Costell says that when she was a member of the Team 10 content house, she had “a false sense of reality.” Costell, influencer and model turned fashion designer, rose to fame when she was hired by Jake Paul in 2015 to help run the first modern influencer house. At the time, Costell told Insider she was trying to outdo herself every day.

“It might not bother you at the time because you are seeing numbers, and basically your career is exploding,” she said. “But that’s not a life. Waking up and trying to outdo yourself every day is so bad for your sanity.”

She added: “It’s crazy to me that I even got through this period of my life.”

Costell launched his Akire Sport brand in March this year anonymously. She had created branded products from her time as a vlogger and knew it would be easy to sell clothes in her name thanks to her fan base of 4 million followers on platforms like YouTube and Instagram. But she wanted to prove that she could do it without her current influence.

By working on her brand, which she has been doing solidly since 2018, Costell has taken a step back from any online sharing. She said that looking back, she hadn’t realized how “toxic” it was and “how much vacuum” had caused her entire life on the internet.

“All of these people who think they know you, and they do to some extent,” she said. “But when you give too much of yourself, you kind of lose a part of yourself.”

Costell also had an incredibly visible relationship and ultimate breakup with Paul in 2017, and has no desire to share that part of herself again, she said.

“I definitely took a step back and I like to keep the things that are special to me private,” she said. “If it’s a relationship, it’s definitely private. If I get married, I keep it private forever.”

At least 19 influential designer houses have sprung up in recent years – the most notable examples include Hype House and Sway. Costell admits that she no longer knows “who owns which house” and that they are “oversaturated” now. But they’re still very valuable, she said, especially early in the career of a young influencer.

The key is not to get too distracted and focus on your social media career, which she says is a “full-time job.”

“If you don’t see it that way, and everything else bothers you, we all see how fast people come and go,” she said.

The challenges of Team 10 and being so open with the world about her life “caught up” to Costell after a few years, she said. But she doesn’t regret anything.

“It taught me so much,” she said. “I would never take this experience back for anything because it really allowed me to be who I am in my career today.”

Read more stories from Insider’s digital culture office.

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