German model, social media maven and influencer Carina Zavline (Instagram @carina – 293K Followers) is not your average Instagrammer turned influencer. Zavline speaks five different languages, was featured on Germany’s Next Top Model, has a B.A. in Communications from LMU Munich and has a genuine authenticity for both her life and brand that stands out among the masses.
Hi Carina, it’s a pleasure to meet you! For our readers who may not know who you are, who is Carina Zavline?
A pleasure to be here. I’m Carina. I’m 22 and from Germany. I am a model and influencer. So what I do the most is work on Instagram and try to inspire people.
How did your career start? Was it always on Instagram?
Actually, I was a normal student at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich studying communications and media research. But I always loved filming stories. But at the beginning of Instagram, there was no story feature but there was Snapchat. I love showing to my followers, my friends my (when I started I think it was about 300 friends) my pictures and my traveling.
I was living in Paris and dancing for 11 years. But I participated in Germany’s Next Top Model and made it quite far. Through that, I gained a huge reach in Germany and I thought ‘Okay, I’m going to continue and use the platform.”
What came out of being on Germany’s Next Top Model?
It really taught me a lot, and I got to work with incredible photographers on photo shoots. My first model jobs came through Top Model. Like walking in the fashion show for Maybelline in New York City.
What are your fashion influences and a fashion brand or trend you hope never goes away?
Wearing interesting clothes and showing my style. I was always passionate about that. I actually think something that should never go away is Chanel. If I had to name a designer right now that I really love it would have to be Oliver Rousteing with Balmain. For me, every time he surprises me with his collections. He still keeps it true to himself and keeps it classy but it’s still Balmain.
(During the interview, Zavline was sporting a custom made black and gold Dust Of Gods jacket by Antonio Tadrissi)
So, you’ve taken all of this and created a beautiful brand on your Instagram. How much work did it take to get where you are today?
A lot of people think I’m just taking pictures. It so much more! I’ve been managing myself for two years now. That means I’ve been the one managing all my emails and travels. Being present on Instagram is a full-time job. What I do is not just fashion, it’s a mix of what I love. It’s my brand.
What makes it unique is that I put a lot of personality into it. Being authentic. I was never into being mainstream and doing the same things that all the others do. So, I take a trend like in fashion lets say. I take it and I try to put it on me and make it my own way. Also, making it accessible to my followers so I know they can get the same look or outfit.
Sometimes it’s just what I feel in the moment that post. When I walk around and I see a beautiful location I’ll ask someone random to take a picture.
What do people message you over Instagram?
It’s kind of funny you mention. Today I woke up and read a comment that said: “You’re like free Netflix!” I was laughing because this is sometimes how I feel. Today is a new day, time for my new episode you know.
And what is a story you remember when you were told you really affected and changed somebody’s life?
I get messages from young girls and boys, and sometimes even some older than me that I gave them confidence. That through me from my stories and my feed, they started to feel happier and believe in themselves. For me, that’s the best message I can get. It’s not about likes more me. It’s about making people happy in some way.
My personality is very confident. The thing is, when I know I’m good at something I’m not afraid to do it. I’m spontaneous and just go for it. That is something, especially young girls, they don’t feel that confident. For example, with their bodies. As a model, I do model jobs. But I know I’m shorter and I’m not super skinny, I’m going more for that athletic build.
I went into Germany’s Next Top Model knowing I didn’t meet the height requirement, but I just went for it.
What advice would you give to someone who is younger trying to break into this industry and stay authentic to themselves?
I think it’s really about not going with the trend. Not copying everyone else. You need to have your own thoughts and know yourself.
It’s hard. You see other people and think, “This picture is good and this picture is getting a lot of likes,” and I won’t allow myself to do that. If I see a picture in a location I like, I’ll go to that location but see how I can make it my way.
There are millions of Instagrammers and Vloggers, but everyone looks the same. You should love what you do. You should consider what other people like. But if you don’t like what you’re doing or the content your making, then you’re not happy.
When you post a picture you really love but it doesn’t get the likes or engagement you expected compared to post you didn’t expect to do so incredibly well, do you still love that moment and post?
Yes, actually that happened yesterday with a picture that I posted. In the last 3 to 4 months I’ve changed a lot of what I post. Like sometimes I post something that I know won’t get as much engagement, but it’s still my account and I want to post it.
For working with a brand its obviously great pull for them if you get 30K likes per picture and not ten on one. I’ve come to this point where I don’t care about that because it’s not reflective of me.
The algorithms are always changing. Whether that’s staying higher up on the feed or getting on the explore page. No one really knows the algorithms, but I post usually around 4 pm (German Time) anywhere in the world always because that’s where my major audience is.
And the picture that received the most impressions on was one I posted at 11 pm one night in a hotel in Austria. It reached over a million impressions and got over 60K likes. So, in the end, you really have no control of the algorithms, you just have to be you and do your thing.
What are you thinking when you post a picture?
I think about: Why should someone save it? Why should someone like it? Why should someone comment? Sometimes I have pictures that there really isn’t anything to comment or say about, but I’ll still post them because I like them!
Follow Carina Zavline on Instagram @Carina.