Anne Marie Kanaan is a social influencer and founder of ‘Move with AMK’, a program that seeks to encourage men and women to feel confident and accept themselves for who they are. With a great presence across her social media platforms, Anne Marie is focussed on reaching out to all individuals and inspiring them to be embrace their individuality. We caught up with AMK at Blush Central headquarters where she gave us some great advice about establishing herself as a brand.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself
A: My name is Anne Marie Kanaan and I am the founder of move with AMK, which is an anti-bullying, positive body image and self worth brand that I have dedicated my life to, in order to make a change in society. I aim to help women and men of all ages in dealing with confidence and self esteem, to truly love themselves and accept themselves for who they are - to never give up on who they are and their visions.
Q: Tell us a bit about your work as an influencer
A: I influence people, via many different platforms. I like to use social media, as well as visiting schools and running programs for students. I am also always working on different projects and campaigns in collaboration with many people, and networking on Blush Central to spread my message and reach my goal of helping people.
Q: What do you do to keep your brand maintained and to keep up to date with your audience?
A: Well, the good thing about having your own business, or brand is that your ‘typical’ day is up to you. I am always working on my brand. It might not be the typical 9-5 day, but with move with AMK, because it is my passion, I am constantly doing things to improve it as I am naturally a reflection of my own brand. I am usually doing admin work, working on projects, or contacting many people to spread my message out there.
Q: As an influencer, what are your three favourite tools for reaching out to your audience, whether it is a gadget, social platform etc?
A: Definitely my iPhone. It is the centre of everything, you can do everything through it’s great quality photos and videos. Another one would have to be social media. People really do underestimate the value of social media and how important it is within society. It is great when people like us, Blush Central, Move with AMK and other brands can use it for good purposes to really influence people in the right way.
Q: As an influencer with a unique and significant cause, how do you do things differently to reach out to specific audience?
A: The good thing about Move with AMK is that it allows me to really help all different audiences throughout. It initially started as girls and women only, but as I grew and I met more people and learnt more things, I began spreading my message for everyone. Different campaigns I work on and the messages I share relate to different people, so it is like a snowball effect, I get to meet different people along the way and impact people’s lives differently. But all in all, the core message of the brand can relate to everyone, whether it is bullying or negative self worth. I also think it is important to spread your message in diverse ways. I am lucky that i have different talents, such as video recording which I can use to spread my message.
Q: Can you tell us about a time when things might have not worked for you and what you learned from it?
A: It is more so when I work with other people, when I am collaborating with someone else, it is important that your core values align, because if they don’t it is almost like you have to force things to roll. I guess something that I have learnt is to be very careful who I work with and who I approach, to ensure that everyone I work with genuinely has an interest in my brand.
Q: Tell us about your biggest accomplishment as an influencer?
A: To date my biggest accomplishment is my #embraceyourbody campaign. I came up with that in about 2015 and I didn’t know how much it would affect people. The story got shared through magazines and in the media on Tv, but more importantly it got spread globally, so I had girls holding #embraceyourbody signs throughout America and New Zealand. For me, I would say that was the pinnacle point of my career, because knowing that people were globally supporting my cause and that I could move them means the world to me.
Q: How do you remain current and engaging with your audience?
A: The most important thing is to be real. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and allowing yourself to be human is powerful. Nothing connects people more than human emotion, so if I am having a bad day or I am feeling extremely happy, or even insecure, it is important to say “You know what I am broken today” or “I am extremely proud.”
Q: When things do get tough, how do you go about dealing with it?
AMK: I am human, I have days when I wake up and question my brand and what I am doing, but my family always remind me why it is important to do what I do and not give up. Another one is definitely social media. Especially with social media and being so open with everyone and allowing them to step in my world and seeing me everyday, people have a lot of things to say which isn’t always good. Majority of the time it is good, but there is negativity, and I guess it will always be there. Anyone with a brand will experience this but I am very lucky that my business isn't only for me, it is what I represent, my passion and my purpose. So, if a business isn’t going so good, the purpose will always be relevant. My core value is helping people and trying to make a positive change as much as I can, so in saying that - nothing will get in my way!
Q: What advice would you give to someone starting in the industry?
AMK: I know it is scary and I know it is hard. But doing something that you love and following your heart is incredibly brave, and is something that not everyone does. Never let anybody’s negative words dictate your worth and never let your negative thoughts dictate your life. Go for it, go hard and you will be unstoppable!