Kelly Calhoun is a popular influencer who describes herself as a professional storyteller. With a background in modeling, sports, fashion and tech, Kelly is an accomplished brand ambassador who has been featured in Business Insider, Jetset Magazine and Raleigh’s The News & Observer, to name a few. You can learn more about Kelly here or follow on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background, including how you got into influencer marketing?
I’ve done a lot of modeling from a very young age and after I graduated college, I started working in fashion. I started looking at modeling more seriously as a career, and that’s how I got into the brand ambassador thing. Which, the timing was quite perfect because I started working with Intellifluence I think about a year ago. I heard about it from a friend and it’s been great.
And with COVID hitting back in March, they had to postpone a lot of the runway shows. So there wasn’t a lot of in-person fashion shows.
And I found that this really took the place of that. The Intellifluence and brand ambassador opportunities as a form of excitement. So it was kind of almost like remote modeling to me.
At what point was your aha moment where you said, “I’m an influencer.” When did it become real to you?
I think when I started to transfer the footage from the modeling shows online and started to get a following that way, because before that it was just, I would do a lot of these runway shows and it was a very like in the moment thing, and then documenting it, putting it online and then just reaching a whole new world of people digitally. So I don’t know if there was one moment, but it’s definitely been a process.
What have been some of your favorite brand collaborations to date?
I actually have one right here with me because I love these guys and they’re called Girotti’s, the brand name, and they’re custom Italian shoes. These are the ones that I picked out and I just, I love them. They’re just beautiful and yeah, this guy’s an Italian designer over in Italy and he let me go, and they have like thousands of choices and he let me go and design my own shoes. And then, I did a really fun shoot with them and yeah, I love that one. It was great.
And there have been a ton of other ones that I enjoy of course, as well. So, a lot of great opportunities.
How do you structure your average day or your average week so you can accomplish everything that you want to accomplish, and still have some time for yourself at the end of the day?
If I’m to be completely honest with you. I don’t have a lot of structure. It’s something that coaches and parents and friends and colleagues at work tell me that. I actually have a ton of calendars around my room right now and I don’t utilize them. I just kind of go with the flow and it’s served me well. And coming from a very strong sports background, a lot of the people in my family were players, coaches, athletes, and then the fashion background and blending the two together.
And it’s going really well, and I have a lot of big things in the works that I’m not allowed to talk about yet, but it’s the branding is hashtag sports fashion, so there’s two industries that are merging and I don’t think it’s really been done before on that level. So I think it’s very hard to create structure with something that doesn’t exist yet, if that makes sense. Without trying to be too out there.
I always love getting as much of a behind the scenes as possible because every influencer, their content, looks so natural, it looks so great. But there’s obviously a process behind it. Everyone’s process is different. So it’s interesting to hear how some people have specific editorial calendars, other people kind of go on the fly with what they’re feeling in the moment.
I’m on the fly. Always on the fly.
What advice would you have for prospective influencers or people looking to get into modeling or kind of follow the path that you have? Do you have any advice for them?
Honestly, I would tell them to team up with an agency like you guys, because it legitimizes everything and there’s so much spam out there. That’s the one thing when I found Intellifluence, the friend that told me about you all, I trust her and she had been using you guys for a long time and it was immediately like, just not spammy, you know what I mean?
I was like, okay. And then my first transaction with you guys, everything was on the up and up. And I was like, okay, I’m going to work with them for forever.
We love to hear that. And thank you to your friend, too.
Yeah. I’ll tell her.
I know you don’t want to get into specifics on certain things, but what are some of your goals for the next year, for the short term, in terms of influencer marketing or in terms of modeling?
The influencer marketing and the modeling, I mean, they really blended together almost. I love the influencer marketing because I have a lot more of a say in the creativity behind sharing with the products and the brand and everything like that. And in the next year, I’m just going to keep going forward with this sports fashion thing. And a lot of people are really, like their antennas are turning on. They’re really liking it. It was featured in Business Insider a few months ago. So just going to keep going.
Note: Influencer Spotlight interviews are edited for time and clarity.