Jordan Santos is an influencer, content creator, and brand consultant based in Los Angeles. Her Instagram is filled with gorgeous snapshots of her glamorous life in the fashion and beauty industry, but Santos wants her followers to know that there's more to her than just pretty pictures. Through her Instagram, Santos hopes to raise awareness for drunk driving and racial injustice, and wants to encourage everyone to use social media for good and care less about the likes and the follows. That's why Jordan Santos is included in this special edition of Bustle's Must Follow, in which we highlight the incredible Asian American and Pacific Islander voices you need to follow on Instagram and Twitter.
Briefly describe yourself, including how you identify and what you do.
I'm a Filipino American who works and plays in social media — on one hand, I manage social media accounts for brands/businesses and on the other, I express my own life through my personal Instagram.
What do you hope people take away from following you/your work in the industry and on social media?
When it comes to my work in the industry, I hope that people understand that social media is a business and that while my life may look like all fun and games on my Instagram feed, I actually spend endless hours on my laptop and working long and hard hours for my clients. People tell me all the time that they want to freelance in social media, not realizing that I manage six brands (not including my own) and that it takes a strong work ethic, extensive network and an eye to be successful. Many think all I do is go to brunch on weekdays and get coffee with my friends, when in reality I'm glued to my laptop like everyone else.
When it comes to my personal social media page, though, I actually hope that people learn to not take Instagram so seriously and to use the platform for GOOD. It's great to be passionate about creative and curate a beautiful feed, but at the end of the day, it's just Instagram and it should represent what YOU like and your interests — not your audience's. You don't need to buy followers, buy likes, complain about the algorithm — do this for you and not for the numbers.
I also hope that when people see me talk about my fight against drunk driving through @baddlosangeles, racial injustice, and gun violence that they not only take a minute to learn about these issues that I'm sharing, but also find it in themselves to see what issues they're passionate about and share that with their audience — no matter how big or how small. It's baffling to me how little people — not just influencers — talk about what really matters on social media because they're afraid to rub people the wrong way. While I love seeing pretty shoes and clothes, I also want to know what you care about and what you stand for.
When did you first feel that you were a voice for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community?
While it was very subtle, I first felt it when I would get messages and comments from people asking me what my ethnicity is. When I would tell them I'm Filipino, some would get so excited because they were so happy to see someone who looked like them on their Instagram feeds, when they've grown up seeing white men and women dominate their TVs and magazines. While I've never considered myself a voice for the Asian American community before, I'm so honored that some people look at me in that way.
Who's another Asian American or Pacific Islander person you would recommend to follow on social work?
Adrian Martin, who is a talented photographer who moved from the Philippines to the US about four or five years ago. Yan Yan Chan who creates such fun, casual but aspirational content. Olivia Lopez who I've been following for probably about 10 years now! She's so young and accomplished and one of the few who creates meaningful content on social media. I've most recently loved following her along for her travels.
Follow Jordan Santos on Instagram, @jordanrisa
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.