If you have ever wondered what it’s like to be Wonder Woman, look no further than 18 year old Abbey Jessop. The New Zealand teenage fitness model is a smashing success in the fitness world and social media world alike (mainly Instagram). Her main audience tends to be younger gals and guys who admire Abbey, reaching out to her for fitness and life advice.
What is most impressive is that at just 18, Abbey has amassed an Instagram following of over 20k (as of today), and there are no signs of her stopping any time soon.
All of this social media fame and fitness agility aside, I got to sit down with Abbey last week and speak with her about life as a teenager, a fitness expert and model, and social media influencer. My greatest takeaway was that she was a down-to-earth, genuine, fun-loving girl that I would be honored to know and call my friend. It is no wonder people enjoy following her on social and brands endorse her for influencer campaigns.
Here’s what Abbey had to say.
ZJ: Abbey- you are only 18, which is young. When did you first become interested in fitness?
AJ: I have always played sports since I was young, but around 16 I played volleyball at high school (we call it college in New Zealand). I was chubby and here in New Zealand, volleyball the tournaments are unisex. I felt uncomfortable because of the form-fitting uniforms. My brother was studying fitness, so I went to him for help and he got me started with a workout routine at the gym. With volleyball it’s political, and I didn’t get into the New Zealand team although I felt like I deserved a spot. Over time, I realized individual sport like fitness training was more for me.
It’s funny how u portray yourself: I felt I could never be toned or fit. I always thought I was big boned, but once I started training I went from a size 12 (US M, or size 8) to a size 6 (US XXS, or size 2). My dream was always to live up to my name “Abbey”, aka “abs”, and one day I developed toned ab muscles.
ZJ: When did you start your Instagram fitness profile?
AJ: Around 17 I started posting pics on Instagram. All my friends had IG, and I never did. I didn’t get the point. Once I started my profile I really got into Instagram.
ZJ: You clearly spend a great deal of time in your day focusing on fitness. What percentage of time do you spend on social media?
AJ: Quite a lot – I’d say 80% of the time. I always have my phone on me. While training I always check my social media and try to stay on top of it. Obviously I make time for family.
ZJ: At what point did you start gaining massive amounts of followers, and what did you think?
AJ: Around April of 2015 it started to grow from around 2,000 followers in March. Then I had Social Envy help my growth- they hit me up when they first started. I’m sponsored by them. That was when I started posting my [fitness training] progress for competitions. I think people were more attracted to my profile because I’m quite young. I get a lot of 16-20 year olds who reach out to me because they are too intimidated to reach out to 25 year olds. Many young people want to get fit, and they find it inspiring when I show them that I can get fit at a young age.
ZJ: Do you consider yourself a marketer? Can you give me an example of what you market as an influencer?
AJ: Yes. I do promo ads wearing brand name clothing in pictures. I have also done sponsored posts for self-tanning products, bikinis, and so on. I love my fitness wear, beach wear and shoes; anything I can promote health and beach-wise. For the most part companies contact me, but in one or two cases I’ve hit a company up because I really like their product.
A photo posted by Athlete | fitness entrepreneur (@abbey_jessop) on
ZJ: You are still a student, but does your fitness “career” bring you income?
AJ: Currently I receive compensation in the form of products, but I’m working on earning money from brand sponsored posts.
ZJ: If you were to give someone advice that wanted to get into this, what would it be?
AJ: You are your own brand, and market yourself as though you are a brand. For athletes: since you’re willing to be an athlete, look at someone you admire and think how you can be better than them. Stay on top of your blogging, give out advice you think people want to know, be happy, positive, and interactive. Try and be that person that you would want to follow.
ZJ: Who are the top people you admire and follow?
AJ: Andreia Brazier, Paige Hathaway, Sue Lasmar (Brazilian), Michelle Lewin.
ZJ: Why do you think people find you or follow you?
- Because I’m from New Zealand and it’s exotic to them
- I’m chasing my goals at a young age
- Younger people like watching someone young achieve their goals
ZJ: What is your favorite thing to do outside of exercise and social media?
AJ: I love to go to the beach or the river. I love the outdoors and sport; paddle boarding, kayaking, rock climbing, and snorkeling.
I do a lot of things to get in shape outside of the gym. I want to show people you don’t have to go to the gym to get fit. You can go snorkeling, kayaking, skiing, and you can have fun getting fit.
ZJ: Do you have siblings? What does your family think of your social media fame?
AJ: I am the youngest; I have an older sister and two older brothers. I dunno – they’re all good with [my social media fame], but kind of just want me to be careful. Mom and Dad and my older sister see my large following as kind of scary because they’re not as savvy with social media as my brothers. We don’t really talk about it but overall they’re supportive of it. My older brother is clued up and keen on it.
ZJ: Are you familiar with Essena O’Neill? What do you think about her story/ what happened with her? Do you think that could ever happen to you?
AJ: I find it really funny to be honest. I think she’s a bit of a drama queen. It’s cool that she wants to be a vegan and promote all of that, but I don’t get it. I think she was trying to be sly about it and improve her own marketing. There were discrepancies in her story. She says she is “real”, but I don’t know if I believe that. “I got paid $600 to post this photo, but it is not real”, she said – so you’re saying you don’t agree with it but you did it?
Do your own thing. I’m not really into that whole dramatic scene- I just like to keep it real.
ZJ: If you had to give advice to yourself 5 years ago, what would you say?
AJ: Do what you want to do, not what everyone else says you should do. And just go for it!
I’m really mind strong. “You have a very obsessive personality” someone told me one day. I thought about it and I get where she’s coming from. When I have my mind set on something, I hone in on it. I don’t stop until I get there. I love what I do, and I have my eyes on the goal.
ZJ: How do you remain disciplined in both fitness and social media?
AJ: I have my goals written on the wall and look at them every day to see what I can do to get the next step closer. Even if I’m having a bad day i think “How can i get from A to B”? I want to be successful so bad, and to help people along the way.
My mission at the moment: “You can be strong and lean all year long.”
ZJ: I came across your newly launched website, & thoroughly impressed. It looks awesome! Anything you would like to share with us and your fans about the website?
- It’s qualified information, because I have a certificate in Sports and Exercise Science. There are a lot of sites out there that offer unqualified information
- Every meal plan is individual. I have people log certain days of food. Then I calculate calories, look at how much they are training, their availability to training equipment and time, and this is how I figure out calories and body build. I offer a lot of different options for meals (proteins, carbs, fats), along with how to cook them, and specific notes on the “why”. I like to think I put in the extra effort that no one does, so it can be sustainable for people.
ZJ: Tell me about a time when you really impacted someone’s life with your fitness blogging. What was the result?
AJ: I had one girl contact me for a meal plan. She was eating very little calories, and only 1-2 meals a day of really bad food. I told her she wasn’t eating enough. I put her on a meal plan of more calories (700 more per day), high volume of food, told her to trust me and to stick to it. She stuck to it and in 3 weeks she lost 5 kilos. 6 meals a day, lots of fibrous veggies, nice protein, lots of carbs (rice). Her email to me was full of gratitude, saying she had lost 5 kilos and felt a lot better – she had more energy and was sleeping better. It made me feel so happy.
A photo posted by Athlete | fitness entrepreneur (@abbey_jessop) on
Find and follow Abbey:
- Abbey is one of HireInfluence’s Elite Certified Members. Visit her profile and reach out for a member contact if you would like her to feature your brand’s product in an article or post.
- Website: abbeyjessop.net
- Instagram: @abbey_jessop
- Twitter: @abbey_jessop
- YouTube: Abbey Jessop coming soon, stay tuned! “Down to earth New Zealand bikini competitor and athlete.” Expect videos on training, fun ways to exercise, fitness competitions, and about Abbey.
- Announcement: Abbey is competing in 9 weeks and is working towards her pro card. She is also hoping to attend the Arnold Classic in Melbourne, a big fitness competition and fitness expo, so look out for her there!