Taylor Aube had an epiphany as she walked through the meatpacking district of Manhattan in New York City one night several years ago on her way to take photographs at a fashion show featuring the work of Jeremy Scott, one of the world’s most well-known designers.
“I remember thinking to myself, ‘This is a dream come true,'” Aube said. “It’s crazy to be living your dream and watching it unfold in front of you.”
The Washougal woman has indeed achieved her goals in the emerging industries of digital marketing and “influencing.” She works with some of the world’s biggest beauty and fashion brands to promote their products through her highly followed social media profiles and popular blog (Stop, Drop & Vogue), on which she writes and posts photos about fashion, style, travel, health and wellness and makeup.
“Honestly, there are so many words that I could use, and I feel that none of them are very accurate,” she said. “I guess you could use ‘influencer’ or ‘blogger,’ but I’ve kind of taken a step back in that I want it to be focused on just me living my life and my experiences. I’m in a weird category, I think. There’s a lot of variables to it. It’s not just taking a pretty picture for Instagram. I’m also managing a WordPress website and signing contracts with brands. It is a business for me. My business is my brand, and my brand is me.”
Tonya Wright, the owner of Nest & Love Photography in Camas, said Aube is “a smart businesswoman” who is “amazing at building her brand.”
“She’s down to earth, really humble, professional and hardworking, and she understands her business,” said Wright, who semi-regularly collaborates with Aube on photography projects. “She knows what’s trendy and cool and what people enjoy seeing. She’s motivated to do a good job. She doesn’t just want to build a following — she wants a community, That’s where her passion is. People want to follow her because she’s relatable and fun and cool and kind.”
Aube’s rise to social media fame began in 2011, when she was a freshman at Boston University. Inspired by her roommate, Aube created a blog on the social media site Tumblr, where she shared images from prominent high-fashion magazines such as Vogue.
Tumblr officials took notice of her the blog’s increasing popularity, hired Aube as a makeup and fashion “tag” editor and sent her to photograph New York Fashion Week, one of the biggest fashion events in the world.
“There’s a huge community of people out there that really love that kind of stuff — haute couture, high-fashion, Valentino, Gucci,” said Aube, who returned to photograph New York Fashion Week five more times after her first assignment. “I was curating all of these images in a really nice, aesthetic way, and (my following) started growing and growing and growing, and Tumblr noticed that I had an eye for it. And from there, that’s when I realized that I had this platform. ‘(I thought), ‘People are starting to monetize theirs. I have a lot of followers. Maybe I should try to explore this.'”
As her following grew, Aube continued to develop her brand by creating her blog and expanding to other social media sites, including her Instagram site, which boasts almost 40,000 followers.
“I never went into this thinking, ‘I’ll just be a blogger and make money and get free makeup,'” said Aube, who works a full-time job as a brand manager. “I did it because I love fashion. When you do something you love, it just comes naturally. I think that’s also why I’m so motivated. The passion has to fuel you because I think today’s social media can get very oversaturated and very fake. Whether you’re making food or making jewelry or showing off your outfits, if you’re passionate about it, then go share it with the world.”
Aube contracts with a variety of skin care and cosmetics brands such as Oil of Olay and Nars to promote their products on her digital profiles.
“She takes it seriously,” Wright said of Aube’s influential reach on social media. “She knows she has an audience, and she knows that she has a voice that can deliver messages and content with purpose and meaning. She’s very careful about what she says, and is very professional. She uses her voice well.”
Aube, who grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and moved to Washougal in 2018, has remained humble despite her rising popularity. Her unpretentiousness, in fact, is one of her biggest strengths, according to Wright.
“I’ve met other people with a lot of followers who were conceited, arrogant and condescending,” Wright said. “Taylor has no ego. She’s so sweet. She makes (work) so fun because she’s always willing to try new things. She goes with the flow.”
Aube is now working to create a community through another popular platform — Twitch, a live-streaming service popular with gamers.
“I really feel like video and streaming platforms are the top dog. I see it as another opportunity,” she said. “I love gaming, so it’s coming from a place of passion. I already have success on social media, so it’s not like I’m looking to become the next big Twitch streamer, but I was like, ‘Well, why not?’
Aube, known as “naiad_x” on Twitch, has been a gamer for about as long as she can remember.
“I’m from that generation that grew up with technology — the old technology, not like the iPads,” Aube said. “I (followed) the evolution of console and PC gaming. I just recently got back into it the past three or four years. I love it because I can focus on one thing at a time.”