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Reach Out to the Person Who Inspires You – It Can’t Hurt

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

I emailed my favorite influencer for advice, and here’s what happened.

Victoria Garrick is a former D1 athlete, Ted Talker, and mental health advocate who uses her social media platforms to promote healthy conversations about body image struggles, diet culture and toxic standards that athletes endure. From the very first day that I stumbled across her page, Victoria has been a beacon of light in my social media feed. Her values and beliefs align incredibly well with mine, and this is likely because we’ve both gone through the ebbs and flows of an eating disorder.

I should mention that Victoria also hosts a podcast called Real Pod. I decided to reach out to Victoria not only to tell her that she inspires me, but to ask for advice on the podcast that I started back in November. As my undergraduate college experience comes to a close, I’m entering a new chapter of life and am interested in how I can expand my opportunities. So, who better to ask than an amazing businesswoman with a podcast of her own?

Here’s the letter that I emailed to Victoria and her team:

“Good afternoon!

My name is Hope Nelson, and I’m currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Life Sciences Communication and minoring in both Entrepreneurship and Digital Studies. Since my days as a college student are coming to a close at the end of this year, I’ve been seriously reflecting on what I want to do and where I want to be after school. I admire Victoria because of her empowering nature as a businesswoman, among many other reasons. Therefore, I know that I’d benefit from any piece of advice she’s willing to give me about my situation.

Before I ask for any advice, I’d like to extend my thanks to Victoria for the ways that she has helped me. I’ve followed Victoria on social media for a while, but quickly realized that she is the absolute best influencer I’ve ever come across because she keeps it REAL (#realpost). I adore everything about her personality, beliefs, and positive, authentic vibes. She has had a tremendous impact on the way I view myself as well as social media.

For the sake of context, I want to provide some background about myself to illustrate how Victoria has helped me. I struggled with an eating disorder (ED) for quite some time but spent much of that time in denial about it. The ED really took off during the COVID-19 lockdown from March-May 2020. My mental and physical health grew worse and worse throughout the year, and I eventually had to move back home from college. I felt so much shame, guilt, embarrassment, and more than anything I felt out of control. My mom sat me down in October because my family had realized that I was struggling for far longer than I wanted to admit. That conversation with my mom was the first time I admitted that I had an ED. The rest of that year and the beginning of 2021 was hell for me. I knew I had an ED but was scared to get help in fear of gaining weight, losing control over my actions (which is ironic) and falling behind in school. On top of this, my little sister went to treatment for an ED in 2018. I saw the difficult process that she went through from front to back. However, I knew that if I kept living the way I was — scared, irritable, hungry, anxious, upset all the time, practically on the verge of insanity — I eventually wouldn’t want to live at all.

Around the end of 2020, I discovered Victoria’s Instagram page. I saw everything that she stood for and it shocked me like a breath of fresh air. I’d never seen or heard an influencer be so selflessly vulnerable and uplifting for their followers. I dug deeper into Victoria’s content and came across her YouTube where I learned more about the ED she struggled with throughout her athletic career. I played volleyball for 12 years and was now obviously struggling with an ED, so all of her experiences somehow resonated with me. Not only that, but Victoria’s content on all platforms makes me feel safe, as though I was having a conversation with her on FaceTime.

Ultimately, I want to say thank you because Victoria helps me in my recovery to this day. Her social media platform is beautifully unique and is truly a safe space for those who are recovering from eating disorders. She is real, raw, and authentic, which is rare on social media. She praises her cellulite, belly rolls when she sits, and body strength when she stands. I wish more influencers were like Victoria.

I use the word “recovery” above because I was fortunate enough to receive inpatient treatment for the ED in May of 2021. In fact, treatment was a godsend because a bed opened up for me at the hospital the day after I finished my semester of school. After inpatient, I went to extensive outpatient treatment for three months until I was down to weekly meetings with my dietitian. It’s no easy feat to recover from an ED, especially during the summer. However, Victoria made some hardships much easier to get through. I felt more confident in a swimsuit because of her #realposts. There were even meals or snacks that I wanted to skip sometimes, but fortunately didn’t, because I watched one of Victoria’s intuitive eating reels on Instagram. So thank you, Victoria, for being a beacon of light on my social media timelines and for being my most favorite influencer! You inspire me.

With that being said, I’d benefit from Victoria’s advice now that I’ll soon be entering a new chapter of my life. My friend and I started a podcast in November of 2021 called Fresh Validation. We use the platform primarily to speak on our mental health experiences in hopes of helping others, whether that be through educating, offering advice or simply entertaining. Personally, this podcast is my baby because it’s a place where I can be a transparent and authentic version of myself while standing up for what I believe in. I hope to continuously bring awareness to the toxicity of diet culture while also creating a fun and safe space for my listeners. This podcast is my very first “business-like” accomplishment, and it feels incredible! I am blessed to be able to do it with one of my best friends, too.

I would love advice from Victoria on how to reach the right audience who would value the kind of content our podcast offers. On one hand, we talk about serious topics like diet culture, eating disorders, red flags in friendships and anxiety. On the other hand, we cover light-hearted topics such as our morning routines, crazy party stories and our goals for the future. 

Specifically, I’m curious to know what has worked best for Victoria in terms of social networking and time management. How did she utilize her platform to launch her podcast off strong? What kind of social networking and deals seem to get her name out there the most? How can two people like my friend and I, who only have a little over 2,000 followers combined on Instagram, grow our podcast most efficiently? Furthermore, what are some of Victoria’s best tricks for balancing her podcast, business, and social media platforms at the same time?

If Victoria finds time out of her busy schedule to answer any or even one of my questions, I’d be incredibly grateful. Overall, my podcast is a learning experience that will hopefully launch me further towards a fulfilling career path. I want to make this world a better place by continuously sharing my experience with others. I thank you all greatly for your time!


Hope Nelson”

After sending the letter, I received a response in less than two hours. However, I was a bit too optimistic that Victoria could actually take time to give me one-on-one advice. Her Director of Operations is the one who emailed me back, saying, “While Victoria would absolutely love to help everyone with their inquiries, the volume of requests we receive is overwhelming and unfortunately she is not able to help with each one. I know this is very important to you, and I’m sorry we are unable to accomodate.” She then thanked me for reaching out and offered an additional way of receiving advice from Victoria for a small fee, which I’m still thankful for! In fact, it was nice that anyone responded at all.

The moral of the story is that there’s no harm in reaching out to the person who inspires you, no matter how famous they are or how large or small their platform. The worst thing that could happen is receiving no response. So, you might as well aim high and shoot for the stars!

Hope Nelson

Wisconsin '22

Hi! I'm a senior at UW-Madison majoring in Life Sciences Communication. My true passion lies in educating and engaging with others in conversation about diet culture. If you need me, you can find me listening to The Weeknd, petting dogs, or eating a generous bowl of moose tracks ice cream.