Welcome to What’s On Your Screen? — a series dedicated to taking a peek behind-the-screens of your favorite content creators. Because behind every notification, there's a story. This month: Chrissy Rutherford.
To borrow from Emily in The Devil Wears Prada — Chrissy Rutherford had the role “a million girls would kill for.”
Working at Harper's Bazaar, she spearheaded the style department and grew its Instagram account to over 4M followers.
And yet, in 2020, after eight and a half years at one of the most world-renowned fashion publications, she stepped away to bet on herself.
That same year, in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, Rutherford took to Instagram to discuss systemic racism.
The video garnered over 5.4M views and was shared by millions of people — including Arianna Grande:
This changed Rutherford’s career and doubled her follower count, overnight.
Since then, the influential voice has gone on to find much success as a full-time creator — from advocating for mental health to partnering with noble brands like American Express, Maybelline, and Fabletics.
Plus, if you haven’t already subscribed, Rutherford pens a wonderfully honest newsletter, FWD JOY, where she explores topics such as self-worth, friendship, and romance.
It turns out, betting on yourself, certainly pays off.
We caught up with the creator to chat her go-to photo editing apps, protecting her mental peace, and tips for making $$$ on Instagram:
Later: First thing’s first: What’s your average screen time?
Chrissy Rutherford: I'm not even going to pretend. I'm on my phone anywhere from 10 to 12 hours a day.
Later: A lock screen says a lot about a person. What's your image?
Chrissy Rutherford: Right now I have a quote on it that says, “You don't need to force things into existence. Find your flow and the right things will find you.”
It's from a human design account that I follow, and I think it's a really important thing for me to be mindful of.
Later: Speaking of mindfulness, you’re a beacon for mental health advocacy and transparency. Do you have any mobile safeguards or apps to protect your own mental peace?
Chrissy Rutherford: I don't use timers or apps that kick me off my phone because those don't really work [for me] and instead, create a feeling of shame.
If I need to take time away from my phone, I'll put it down and read a book or go for a walk.
I've gotten to a point where I stop making myself feel bad for the amount of time that I'm on my phone because it is part of my job.
Plus, I try to be mindful of curating a feed that's not going to make me feel bad. That's key. So I follow a lot of educational and inspirational accounts.
Though, in terms of apps, I'm a huge Headspace fan. I use it for meditation and have a little headspace widget.
Later: Piggybacking off of curating your feed: What are 2BG Consulting’s recommended follows?
Chrissy Rutherford: @ihartericka is one of my absolute favorites. She’s a racial, social, and gender justice educator.
I learn so much from her and her partner, Ebony (who doesn't have his own account), so they're on there together.
And of course, @15percentpledge — an organization that works with retailers to commit to creating more space on their shelves for Black businesses.
Later: What are your favorite apps for editing your content — whether it's videos or photos?
Chrissy Rutherford: For videos I use InShot, I absolutely love it.
The app is user-friendly and intuitive, and makes it easy to edit your videos — especially if you've had no prior video editing experience.
It lets you erase things from a photo so if you're shooting on the street and there's a trash can in the way, take it out. It’s the best.
Later: When it comes to growth on Instagram, what would you attribute your follower count to?
Chrissy Rutherford: There have been so many factors. I've been on Instagram for a really long time, and back in the day if a big account posted or tagged you, you'd see a significant increase in follower count.
When I was at Harper's Bazaar, I had an Instagram Stories series on the account so that definitely kept me growing.
But then in May of 2020, I made a video about why it's important for people to speak up about racism, and when it went viral, I saw my Instagram following double.
Later: What is your favorite platform to engage with your community?
Chrissy Rutherford: I love being in my Instagram DMs and talking to people.
I know a lot of other creators and influencers don't really care to do that at all. And that's a decision everyone's got to make for themselves, but it's really important to me, and I love it.
Later: Okay, you must delete every app on your phone, except for three. Which three would you keep and why?
Chrissy Rutherford: Moon calendar, because I love astrology. And much like a weather forecast, the placement of the moon tells you what the vibe of the day is.
Spotify because I absolutely love music, can't live without it.
And third? I mean, Instagram because I just love Instagram.
Later: How would you describe the content on your TikTok For You page?
Chrissy Rutherford: Oh, it's a mix of “straight TikTok,” as the kids call it. I still love the dancing videos — always have. That's what drew me in because I was a dancer.
I'm also on “spiritual Tok” and “dating advice Tok.” Those are sort of the main pillars, but I’m currently in the UK right now, so “UK Tok” has been fun.
Later: What are your five most used emojis?
Chrissy Rutherford: 🙃👏🏾🤷🏽♀️😜
Later: What is your Uber rating?
Chrissy Rutherford: It's 4.62 — which I’ve been told is low.
Later: What number is higher: Your unread emails or your photo library?
Chrissy Rutherford: Definitely my photo library. I’m close to the six-figure range with 94,827 photos.
Later: And finally, as someone who jumped headfirst into full-time creator mode, what’s your number one tip for monetizing your personal account on Instagram?
Chrissy Rutherford: The first thing that comes to mind is to engage with brands you love and tag them when you're talking about them.
I have a five-month partnership with Fabletics which just got extended. And that happened simply because I bought some of the products, talked about them, and tagged them on Instagram.
Sometimes people think they need to get paid first, but actually, most brands want to know that you’re already organically using the product, enjoying it, and are talking about it — and then the money comes!
*Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Later’s What’s On Your Screen? series will be returning soon! Until then, sign up to our free weekly newsletter, so you can stay up-to-date on the latest social media news, tips, and our next series drop: