But what was worse: Shi-Ann was not into fashion. My daughter may be pretty and popular, but she was bookish and disliked social media. I had not told her about using her photo… and knowing her personality, I would have had an easier time parting the sea than convincing her to be my store’s model and a possible influencer.
For the sake of keeping my business afloat, I did the next best thing: I pretended to be Shi-Ann. While I did not outright identify as Shi-Ann on my Instagram, I did post more personable comments online and engaged followers actively in a friendly tone. In my mind, I was merely assuming a virtual persona.
To get Shi-Ann to model for more of my clothes, I would guilt-trip her into agreeing by declaring that they were “business investments” funding her university education. I would fuss about taking well-put-together shots of her, claiming that they were for the online family album. I would then upload these pictures on the store’s Instagram account without either informing her or tagging anyone. This became my weekly routine, and my secret business formula for nearly a year.
(continue on next page)