How Live Life Unfiltered Partnered with Today’s Most Influential Women, with Keisha Simpson

Samantha Ste Marie
Catch the full interview with Keisha Simpson as she talks about how her mission, Live Life Unfiltered, caught the attention of some of today's most influential women

Have you ever wondered how you’re supposed to capture the attention of influencers today?

Not only do you have to think about how you’re actually going to standout from other nonprofits but you also have to figure out WHO you’re actually going to try and partner with.

We had the pleasure of sitting down with our team member, Keisha Simpson, and the co-founder of Live Life Unfiltered, to talk about how she and her sister started their mission, grew it to reach over 100 million people, and successfully captured the support of some of today’s most influential women.

We’re talking all about it in today’s interview!

Keisha, please introduce yourself for all of our readers.

My name’s Keisha Simpson and I work at Givecloud. I’m part of the sales team. I’m a Client Account Manager, so I’m helping organizations learn about Givecloud, and what we do, and then help them make an informed decision.

Let’s talk about the online movement you started called: Live Life Unfiltered.

Live Life Unfiltered was a movement I started with my twin sister, Teagan, back when we were in university, and it’s reminding young women that social media is not always what it seems. So, making sure that we always remember that behind every perfect video, TikTok, or Instagram post, there’s still a girl, just a regular girl, who also has bad days and insecurities.

It’s something we all know intuitively. We all know that social media is not actually the full story, but it’s so easy to get caught up in these feeds. So, it’s really important to have that reminder out there and to remember that there’s always more to someone than just their social media profile.

Live Life Unfiltered grew exponentially across the internet. Can you talk a little bit about how you achieved that growth? 

About a year into starting Live Life Unfiltered, we decided to launch the As She Is campaign. The As She Is campaign, at the time, TikTok wasn’t around, so it was primarily on Instagram. What the campaign did was it asked young women to post an unfiltered photo and include a caption sharing a side to themselves that they’d never shared online before. It was asking them to be vulnerable and to really help their followers realize that there’s more to them than just their perfect social media feed. And then they would tag two friends to also do the same.

We kind of launched that just in our little communities back home in our hometown and then in our university community, and it went “viral” in those little communities. Everyone started to do it. It was pretty cool. You would wake up, look at your phone, and there were hundreds of girls that were your friends, or you went to class with, and they were all posting for the first time ever about how their social media wasn’t the true story and how they’re always trying to get that perfect photo. Or how they would spend hours a day editing their photos because they felt so much pressure to be this perfect type of woman. So, that’s what we did the first year and it went well.

Then the second year for the next As She Is campaign, what we did is we took it global. And so we worked with influencers to ask them to promote the As She Is campaign.

What resulted in the success of the first year was really community. There was a community of women who understood that it was important to kind of go above and beyond your image and to make sure that we are being authentic and honest with each other about how we actually felt.

The second year, a lot of that was, to be honest, just a lot of hard work on our end. It was really reaching out to a lot of influencers and asking them to promote the campaign and doing a good job in storytelling to make sure the influencers understood the importance of this message.

Thousands of people ask influencers every single day to do something for free and that’s what we were doing. We weren’t paying them. So, you have to find a way to make your “ask” stand out in comparison to everyone else. 

You were able to get the attention of some very influential women, including the Canadian Prime Minister’s wife, Sophie Trudeau, Alessia Cara, Penny Oleksiak, a bunch of people from the bachelorette, Olympic medalists, etc. Is there a particular way that you positioned things so it was kind of a no-brainer for them to get involved?

We actually tallied up the cost of our campaign IF we had paid everyone. It would have been well over a million dollars. You can see that there’s a value to what we are asking of them. You have to figure out how to have your message resonate and one major advantage we had was our stories were very similar to a lot of the people we were reaching out to.

Teagan and I, both struggled a lot with our body image growing up. There was a bit of comparison going on because we were twins, which added another element to it. When we were able to come forward and authentically say:

“Hey, this is something we’ve really struggled with. But the really horrible thing is that we’re not alone. This is a very common issue. We know way too many people our age and of all ages who struggle with this. Can you help us spread this message and make sure that we’re all aware that social media is contributing to anxiety and depression and eating disorders.”

It was easier because our message tends to resonate quite well with influencers for obvious reasons. What we were asking them to do was really just to be personal and vulnerable on social media, which  in many instances, they had never done before. I think the only way you can ask that of someone else is if you’re willing to do it yourself. So it started with us being vulnerable.

You and your sister did Tedx Talks. Tell me how those opportunities came about in this journey.

We started with small TEDx talks. It’s easier to get into a small TEDx talk and then we built our way up. We actually did three TEDx talks. When you get your way into a smaller one, it is just easier because there’s less people trying out. And then once we had two under our belt, it was much easier to get a larger TEDx talk.

That happened pretty authentically through networking and people hearing about us and suggesting we tryout. And that spiralled into TEDx Ottawa.

Were there any roadblocks or setbacks when you were on the journey to spread this message?

Yeah, a lot.

It was a lot more work than it looks like, so that was quite exhausting because we were also in school at the time. Probably the hardest aspect of it was more personal. My sister and I both struggled with our body image and we started Live Life Unfiltered because it was clear that there were way too many people in general, but especially young women, who struggle with their body image.

As a result, we ended up spending 24/7 talking about body image, reading about body image and social media, and analyzing social media and body image. Hearing people’s stories can also be pretty emotionally exhausting if this is something that you’ve struggled with. So, there was an emotional element that added a layer of difficulty.

After Live Life Unfiltered, you decided to join the Givecloud family and work with nonprofits who have their own missions and their own movements that they’re trying to get out to the world. What made you want to start working at Givecloud?

Two reasons: 

One is a super honest reason. I wanted to pay my bills. We weren’t making any money at Live Life Unfiltered. It was fun, but we were far away from making a paycheque that was livable. So there’s definitely an element of making a salary.

Two is that Givecloud is a nice hybrid between making a salary and continuing to invest in my community, even if that’s the local community or worldwide. I needed to have a job where I knew that my work was going to positively impact others. And, that’s something Givecloud brought.

You obviously caught the attention of a lot of really big influencers online. This is something that a lot of nonprofits would love to see for their own mission. What are the best tips you have to help them gain this kind of attention?

The nonprofits that we work with have a major advantage that Teagan and I didn’t have and that’s that you have a registered nonprofit. You’re already, in many ways, a step ahead of us because we never had that status.

What you can do is reach out to agencies of influencers and let them know what you’re hoping to achieve, what your mission is, and if they have any influencers that are also looking for collaborations with nonprofits in similar spaces. Most influencers will do one or two posts a year, or will do some work for nonprofits, and so they might be looking for a homeless shelter to partner with in their local area, and it’s a perfect match.

Additionally, You can get an IMDB Pro account, which is super affordable, and you’ll have access to everyone’s email or their manager’s emails. That’s where we just rocket fired emails requesting for people to join the movement. If you send enough emails out someone will eventually say “yes”.

The key there is to do an exceptional job at storytelling. If you just ask for someone to join your mission and you keep it pretty factual, they’re gonna say no because you didn’t tug on their heartstrings. They’re going to work with you because your mission aligns with who they want to support or it aligns with something in their personal life. So it’s really important to do an exceptional job in storytelling.

About Keisha Simpson, and her sister Teagan:

In 2018, Teagan and Keisha founded the Instagram movement Live Life Unfiltered. Beginning with just an Instagram account, the sisters posted daily content to remind us all, that behind every perfect photo is just a regular girl with insecurities, struggles and bad days.

In 2019, under the Live Life Unfiltered umbrella, Teagan and Keisha launched the #AsSheIs Instagram Challenge with hopes of encouraging more young women to be vulnerable on Instagram, share their struggles, and unfiltered truths.

Their LLU message and the #AsSheIs challenge reached well over 100 million people, with participants from more than 60 different countries. Celebrities, Olympians, activists, and community leaders alike joined in. Alessia Cara, Demi Lovato, and Catriona Grey have all shown their support and acknowledging that being real and unfiltered is crucial to our mental well-being.

Read their full bio here!

Share the Post:

Related Posts