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Pamela Reif’s key to success seems to be doing things differently than ordinary people. Rather than just increasing her calorie intake, the today’s Instagram star picked up weights to build up more muscles and get a curvy, feminine body at the age of 16. “I was too skinny and had no curves at all, which really hit on my self-esteem,” the German social media influencer told CATch up while visiting her sponsor PUMA DACH in February. She embarked on a regular weight lifting routine and at the same time kicked off an impressive influencer career without having any intention to do so.
Today, five years later at the age of 21, the petite fitness expert has 2.8 million followers on Instagram, runs an own online fitness platform, has written a book and lives off the income she makes through co-operations and sponsorships. “I started uploading images on Instagram for friends and family, just as a hobby and without any professional approach,” Pamela reminisces. Two years later, when she graduated from High School with an A*, she decided to not go down the ordinary academic route of picking a university course. Instead, she went for a professional career as an Instagrammer. “This was what I loved doing and I saw the potential.” At the same time, the first co-operation offers flooded in. By then, her community had already grown steadily at impressive rates.
Pamela’s key to increase followership is high-profile quality. “I have never uploaded just something,” she says. “I have rather made sure that the pictures are high-quality, edited and simply professional.” Just like anything she does. The tutorial videos on her platform www.pamstrong.com are professionally shot and her looks are immaculate – whether she demonstrates what matters when doing seated shoulder press with dumbbells or explains her Golden Rules of Nutrition in professional English. The knowledge about all of this, she has acquired herself over the years. “I talked a lot to the trainers in the gym and of course the internet is an incredible source of information on this.”
The idea for Pamstrong.com was already born two years ago, after the followers bombarded her with questions about how to get such a toned super body. “Pamstrong is basically showing how you can build up muscles and learn the essentials in 12 weeks through a work out plan, nutrition tips and recipes.” The platform is not a home workout program, but designed to get people fit in the gym. “As a home workout program, my platform would have probably attracted more people, but then it would have been less authentic, because this is not me. Everyone knows that I built my body in the gym.”
Authenticity seems to be another success factor in Pamela’s formula. With her respectful and down-to-earth attitude, she patiently answers our questions straight to the point without any wiffle-waffle. She is free of pretentious airs and graces. “I realize that I am now featured in the magazines I used to buy myself,” she says modestly about her publicity. “But I don’t think that I have changed as a person, just because I get a lot of attention.” It was always important to her to keep tight bonds with her community and engage directly with her fans. “I think people appreciate this.” Maybe her approachable personality is the reason that she barely finds any negative comments on her profile?
Having opted out of studying to pursue an office career means that Pamela works 24/7. “Everything I do is somehow related to my job, whether it is training, grocery shopping, cooking my recipes, giving interviews, shooting images, editing images, writing blog posts, working on projects that haven’t been published yet, or creating fitness programs. Where ever I am, there is my workplace.”
Usually, she trains five times a week for an hour. “Don’t get me wrong, I train for myself and not for my community. I do it because it’s fun and I feel better afterwards. I like to see the achievements, which I share with my followers. Motivating others is motivation for me.”
This is also why she has written a book. “Strong & Beautiful” comes into German book stores today. Amazon claims that it helps you to get the best out of yourself, providing workouts for the perfect body and tasty recipes for a healthy and fitness-related nutrition without dieting. “There is also a short chapter about me, but this is very brief on purpose. I did not want the book to be about me, myself and I.” Instead, she explains how to read nutritional information on food packages, take the perfect selfie and edit pictures professionally.
Despite the Instagram success, Pamela strives for more. Of course. Otherwise it would probably not be her. “I am now working on becoming more than just an Instagram personality.” The book and Pamstrong.com are components of that strategy, while she also banks on long-term co-operations with partners who are a good match. Such as PUMA. “Compared with other sports brands, PUMA is supercool because of their Sportstyle collections,” Pamela says. “This is so important for a woman, because I am not spending 24 hours in the gym and want to have trendy clothes to wear on the street, too. I just love PUMA’s products.”
Images by Christoph Maderer