Pixability’s Inclusive Media Initiative is our mission to support diverse creators and communities on YouTube.

Welcome to Mental Health Awareness Month! As we embark on this journey of raising awareness, we’re thrilled to introduce you to Gigi Robinson, a dedicated member of our Inclusive Media Initiative. Gigi’s passion lies in championing mental health and promoting awareness, especially within the creator community. Join us as we delve into her inspiring work and insights. Check out her YouTube channel here, in addition to her website, LinkedIn, X, Instagram, and TikTok.

Theresa: Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started as a content creator.

Gigi: When I was 10, I was diagnosed with Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and had to give up competitive swimming. I fell into photography after that, mainly headshots, product photography, and landscapes. By the time I got to college, and I joined the University of Southern California social media club in the first cohort of “Reach”. This is where I started using my photography skills combined with my social network for brand activations. Simultaneously I started dealing with more health issues. I wasn’t sure where to turn with my mental health issues, so I started talking about it online and that content just kind of blew up.

Theresa: Tell us a little bit about your various social media profiles – what types of content do you create and who is your main audience?

Gigi: I would say LinkedIn is a platform I’m on almost every day. I love LinkedIn because it’s a platform that I can write on from left to right. But aside from the writing element, I’m also able to define myself in certain categories, specifically Creator Economy and Mental Health. It’s really important to define yourself as somebody who has more substance than just posting online. It makes you more versatile, a lot of the industry professionals that you might be working with that attend conferences with you are going to be the ones that see your content on Linkedin, and will be more interested to potentially work with you. 

I have 220,000 followers on Snapchat. My content strategy is more casual on that platform. It’s like taking the media out of social media, not curated or customized. 

I love Instagram as well, and I also have my puppy on Instagram where we make funny videos by being cute and bringing joy to other people. He has over 12,000 followers. My personal Instagram is more about updates for what I am doing and less about creating specific content for the platform. 

I use TikTok for short-form content about personal branding, and creator career advice. Pinterest is just for fun. 

Theresa: Why did you decide to join Pixability’s IMI?

Gigi: I initially saw a friend of mine had a blog post about the Inclusive Media Initiative and I thought it was incredible that a company is making a dedicated program to help people tell stories through an inclusive lens. I think as creators we can pigeonhole ourselves with our content, and there is so much content online that is not trying to be inclusive. Working in the health advocacy space has made me realize how many people there are out there without representation online and this has made me try to be as inclusive as possible in my content. I think programs that have the tools to educate creators on how to create more inclusive content or that highlight creators that are already doing this work in health advocacy or any kind of advocacy work are really important. I found the content to be highlighted less if it is advocacy work vs a comedy creator, this is why programs like this are important to support the creators that are doing this inclusivity work.  

Theresa: Tell us a bit about your experience creating content for creator mental health advocacy.

Gigi: It is important to talk about the hard things. And for me, it came down to talking about chronic illness first, and then the mental health aspect of chronic illness because I feel like this is a huge part people often leave out. It impacts your everyday life from dating to friends, to school, and even your relationship with yourself. This is how I started talking about mental health and I quickly realized it is very needed and not a lot of people are discussing it. 

It makes me sad and upset. There are a lot of creator trends out there about the “walk trend”, saying you are going to lose weight and be skinny. But I am chronically ill, I cannot go for a walk without being in pain, and I cannot go have fun and enjoy my friend’s company in this way. Other trends about how to eat healthy or sustain a certain lifestyle that is just not realistic or economically available for everyone. 

I read a study about how we have 12,000 thoughts per day and 80% are negative. Imagine you are on your phone all day viewing these videos making you think negative things about yourself because you cannot keep up with these trends. Many of the viewers following this content is under 25 years old and their frontal cortex isn’t even fully developed yet. From the creator’s perspective, you might be flooded with negative comments, or thousands of people are looking for your opinion – you may not be able to fully comprehend all the ways this is impacting your mental health. 

There are no research studies to show the effects that being a creator can have on your mental health. I hope to be a creator for change in this space, not everyone should be a creator. I think it’s great if you stroke luck at a young age and you’re able to make money. And I think that’s amazing. But there’s no education about the impact it has on your mental health which is in my opinion very rarely overlooked when having discussions about even becoming a creator in the first place.

Theresa: With the looming TikTok ban, I am curious about what you think about short-form content and moving that to other platforms in the future.

Gigi: TikTok is my second largest platform, I make money from my brand partnerships and I get really fair deals because of that. I will keep creating there at the end of the day, a lot of brands want to be on TikTok to boost content, which I think it actually a great feature. The best partnerships are actually organic content and then the brand boosts it to get in front of their exact audience to see how they convert. 

My long-term strategy is to do some more testing on YouTube, historically they have been very fair to creators and I really aspire to be there. I’ve found it hard to go all in, in the past, but I would like to test Shorts and post every day for 30 days or 1 year. Shorts are still the Wild West and continue to scale, and brands are not doing much yet. I am already doing short form on Instagram and Facebook and I will never really stop posting there as part of my strategy. 

Theresa: What advice do you have for up-and-coming creators?

Gigi: I’m all in for creators getting paid, but I would also say that in the beginning, you are going to have to do some things for free. When I started to get paid, part of it was that brands were buying my photography skills and I was able to upcharge for that, not necessarily because of my social platforms. Be prepared to do deals for a couple of hundred dollars and increase your rates over time. As your platform scale increases, you will need to adjust your rates as a market correction. It’s important to ask your friends what they are charging as well. 

Don’t be afraid to creator content that is unique to you or super niche because a partnership will come later. Original content is important, I am not a fan of the trending model and as a result, I get brands integrating into my content instead of the creator-integration into the brand content.

Lastly, I would say when you are just starting you do not need a talent manager or an agent but you should have a friend or AI review any contracts you sign at the very least so you don’t get screwed over with any legal agreements. 

At the end of the day, think of your social media as a business. How can you grow your small business? My advice would be to probably build an internal team before you build an external team because you can pay an internal team hourly or hire a college student who can get school credit. Free up your time so you can get more pitches out to brands and scale your business.