Since its creation in 2010 by Stanford graduates Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, Instagram has become increasingly popular with Millennials as a platform for presenting beautiful and impressive photos of fashion, travel, food, socializing, fitness, dogs, memes and everything else under the sun. We all know the phrase “Do it for the Insta,” and, if we’re being honest, we’ve all judged our Tinder matches by the content on their Instagram feeds.
At the University of Michigan, we are exceptionally obsessed: did you really even go to date party if you don’t Instagram about it the next day? But our obsession with the addictive app goes beyond the average in Ann Arbor: here at umich, dozens of viral Instagrammers have established themselves as noteworthy sources for all the trendiest pictures and insider info. From foodies to health nuts, to yogis and artists, here are the 7 viral umich Instagrammers that you seriously need to follow:
1. Hungry College Gal
Name: Aerielle Kim
Prepare yourself for major cravings; this hungry college gal has a knack for finding the best campus eats and you’re about to love her for it. Aerielle is a sophomore majoring in Information Science and minoring in art & design, who also competes on the University of Michigan Synchronized Skating Team (UMSST). As an athlete, Aerielle values maintaining a healthy lifestyle and was thus inspired to create @hungrycollegegal after interning for #UMSocial this past summer. Aerielle says, “I wanted to expand my social media presence and also had a million pictures of gram-worthy shots — a food Instagram was the only logical way to go!” Although Aerielle has a major sweet tooth and loves to indulge in a burger every now and again, the main focus of her account is plant-based food. One of her underlying goals in creating this account is to show that it’s possible to eat a healthy diet while in college. She notes that straying from a vegan-only or health/fitness-account mold sets her apart, in that she is able to reflect a more realistic diet that is manageable for young adults just starting to cook for themselves, who are also still in the process of finding diets that works for their lifestyles. Primarily her foodstagrams are shot in Ann Arbor, New York, Shanghai and Seoul. Below are two photos from Aerielle’s account — the first, a creation with ingredients from the local Ann Arbor farmer’s market, and the second, every girl’s favorite — avocado toast (also made with ingredients from Ann Arbor).
2. Oats & Woes
Name: Sarah Wood
More oats and less woes? Yes please. This health-and-wellness-minded Instagrammer has us drooling over one health-food item that has largely been written off as bland: oatmeal. Sarah Wood, the brains behind Oats & Woes, is a junior in the Ross School of Business and is currently studying abroad in Barcelona. She cites her freshman year at the inception of Oats & Woes: while spending the summer living and working in Ann Arbor, Sarah became intrigued with the health food community on Instagram and the analytics behind how fitness Instagrams like Kayla Itsines’ become so incredibly popular. She decided then to create her own account and try to organically grow it and gain new followers. Sarah started making oatmeal bowls (which was, at the time, her favorite food) and the account took off from there. Sarah’s colorful creations captivated audiences both near and far, and her popularity began to soar as followers inquired how to purchase the delicious health-food bowls. During her sophomore year, Sarah simplified the creations and sold them as part of an entrepreneurial creativity class here at UM. Now, Sarah says, Oats & Woes has turned into more of a lifestyle / healthy mindfulness / travel Instagram, where she feels free to post about her life and what she’s up to! Currently Sarah’s Instagram handle is @oatsandgoes as she explores Spain during her semester abroad! Check out her website for more in-depth reflections on her explorations and all things Oats, Woes & Goes!
3. Manis & Mojitos
Name: Jaclyn Nagel
Nails done with a cocktail in hand: this is Instagrammer Jaclyn Nagel’s idea of happy hour. Known for eating excessive amounts of ramen, getting too drunk at happy hour, and reciting Dorothy Parker one-liners, this iconic Instagrammer was inspired to create her account as a way to catalog her growing list of drink recommendations, and to enjoy the process in a social and fun manner. Currently Jaclyn is a senior at UM, completing a dual-degree in English and Creative Writing. She’s still on the hunt for that post-grad gig to support her weekly manicure and happy hour habits, but in the meantime, she’s enjoying all the Ann Arbor has to offer — which means more delicious drink recommendations for you! Below are some of her local favorites: Sketches of Spain at Aventura, Famiglia Olivini Garde Rosé at Sava’s, and the Otoño at Aventura. Happy drinking!
4. Vivian’s Calligraphy
Name: Vivian Lin
This Instagrammer takes creativity to a new level, combining her love for calligraphy with her knack for entrepreneurship. Vivian Lin is a senior at the University of Michigan studying Communications and Entrepreneurship and is also a member of Pi Beta Phi. As someone who has always loved art, Vivian found that she barely had time to pick up a pencil or brush to create something when she came to college. Midway through 2016 she picked up modern calligraphy and watercolor painting and later decided to create @vivianscalligraphy as a way to indulge in her passion and document her progress and journey. Vivian even has an Etsy store where she formally sells her creations, in addition to making custom pieces for her friends and family here at UM. She notes that her favorite part of launching Vivian’s Calligraphy is talking to each client about their custom piece and understanding the meaning behind the piece. She reflects that “These custom pieces are usually meaningful for an individual or for loved one of theirs. It brings me so much joy knowing that each and every piece that I’m making for each client will make themselves or someone else smile. There’s so much love in their world, and I’m so excited to be a part of that love being shared all around.” Below are two of Vivian’s favorite pieces. “But first, Coffee” was a custom order meant as a Secret Santa gift. “Forever Go Blue” was a gift that she made for a Pi Beta Phi sister to commemorate her graduation last spring.
5. Happy Healthy Dana
Name: Dana Levine
This happy, healthy UM student will make you smile and help you eat cleaner with just one glance at her account. Dana Levine, a student in the School of Kinesiology, started her account as a way to share her personal journey after deciding to go vegan. Now, she uses @happyhealthydana as a way to show people – especially college students – how easy it can be to eat healthy while living a busy life. Dana reflects on how the creation of this account has transformed her life, commenting: “This journey has led me to aspire to a career in the health and wellness industry, focusing on cooking and nutrition. I hope through my page I can inspire and guide people in making healthier choices while living a busy life.” Below are several pictures of Dana’s healthy eats: nutritious, delicious, and absolutely mouth-watering at first sight, Dana has us all excited to eat cleaner in 2017!
6. On the Toned Track
Name: Maddison Rotner
Looking for some intense health and fitness inspiration? Junior Maddison Rotner’s Instagram, @onthetonedtrack, will have you ready to squat your way to a kick-ass figure, without question. This 20 year-old Health and Fitness student at the University of Michigan has always been incredibly active, dancing competitively for 6 years (and for 15 years in total). When she developed stomach issues, she made the decision to go gluten-free (since her family has a history of Celiac Disease) to see if it would relieve her stomach problems. Maddison found the lifestyle change to be incredibly positive. She reflects: “I then began to really focus on fitness and fell in love with it. I started working out much more frequently, and ate much cleaner. Within weeks I saw noticeable differences in my health. Mentally, physically, and emotionally I was so much happier and stronger.” After recognizing the benefits of her lifestyle change, Maddison decided to launch @onthetonedtrack to spread her love of health and fitness with the community, to hold herself accountable during her fitness journey, and to inspire others. Below are some of Maddison’s most-liked photos, highlighting her passion for clean eating and yoga.
7. Happy Monday Girl
Name: Francesca Ciaramitaro
Do you dread Monday? Feeling dragged down by school and responsibilities? Happy Monday Girl is here to save the day! This inspiring Instagrammer, Francesca Ciaramitaro, first launched her #HappyMonday movement on Facebook as a way to bring positivity and pep to an otherwise dreaded day. Mondays became a ritual in gratitude and positivity for Happy Monday Girl & friends, as she posted weekly statuses about great music, fun with friends and family, interesting new movies and an abundance of other #HappyMonday topics. Now Fran adds #HM content to her Instagram page as well, bringing a much-needed ray of sunshine into her fellow students’ lives here at the University of Michigan.
Photos courtesy of Francesca Ciaramitaro, Sarah Wood, Maddison Rotner, Aerielle Kim, Jaclyn Nagel, Vivian Lin, and Dana Levine.