In today’s world, inspiration is no further away than a couple of swipes on your phone. Social media has opened up windows to the world and with it, so has risen the influence of individuals around the globe who have the ability to communicate beauty, desire and skill through a single frame.
Here, we celebrate social media influencers in our own community who we believe deserve a follow. These Bay Area influencers are about more than a well-curated life; they serve as virtual guides to the many wonders and hidden gems of our region. More importantly, their photos aren’t just inspiration, they are invitations to get out there and explore, enjoy, embrace and soak in. Enjoy our baker’s dozen who cover food, travel, fashion, art and design.
6.2m followers on Instagram
Whether it’s food, family or her faith, Ayesha Curry uses her eponymous website and social media channels to share the things that feed her soul. Her popular food blog and videos have always shared fuss-free family recipes (with special appearances by husband, Golden State Warrior superstar Stephen, and their three cuties) but what we love is how this mama bear is becoming an inspirational voice for moms everywhere. As Ayesha says “go find your joy and speak your truth unapologetically.” We’re in!
The self-proclaimed “San Francisco Foodie,” Cynthia takes photos of food, full-time. What started as an easy way to share restaurant recommendations with friends has turned into a career as a social media consultant for restaurants and businesses. No recipes, but plenty of food porn. And if you want to know how to take bad-ass food photos with your phone, Cynthia has that covered too.
800k followers on Instagram
My of My Healthy Dish is on a mission to help people transform the way they eat. Her speciality: healthy twists on high-calorie favorites. Her tip for those interested in becoming an influencer: be consistent with your content. After she wiped her feed clean of basically everything but her food photos, she went from 500 to 30,000 followers in just four months. Want to get in-depth with her recipes? My shared her 85 favorites in her book by the same name.
58.8k followers on Instagram
Looking for Indian dishes with a NorCal spin, go no further than Nik Sharma’s website. And stay for the breakfast samosas. Once a molecular biologist, Sharma left science behind to work as a pastry cook. He found his calling when he started to write about food and photograph it. His passion is the pursuit of flavor and sharing his journey with other cooks, which means his feed is filled with beautiful food images inspired by his bicultural upbringing and appreciation for real, seasonal ingredients. Also the food columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, Sharma’s first book, Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food, was nominated for a James Beard Award and the IACP Julia Child First Book Award.
279k followers on Instagram
Anh Sundstrom’s personal style diary 9 to 5 Chic shows us that all work and no play does not make Jill a dull girl. Dedicated to her love for classic pieces that carry her throughout her San Francisco workday (and into her Tiburon evenings), Sundstrom showcases timeless yet attainable style, mixing high and low pieces effortlessly. Think Audrey Hepburn by the Bay. And she makes it easy to find her finds through her artfully curated Instashop.
161k followers on Instagram
When started as a way to capture her daily outfits and share looks that she was cooking up has turned into a lifestyle blog that highlights all things glam. With a super clean color palette featuring black and white with pops of all shades of rose, Jennifer’s page is well-designed, thoughtful and brimming with design, beauty and food inspiration. And if you’d like to live the “just add glam” life for a little while, try out Jennifer’s home on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe, which has its own Instagram page, natch.
117k followers on Instagram
950k followers on YouTube
Ally Chen leads one colorful life. With an Instagram page that features every color of the rainbow (and quite a few rainbows as well!), Chen encourages her followers to live life out loud by sharing body confidence tips and creative do-it-yourself tutorials. A frequent traveler abroad, this Bay Area vlogger showcases not only outfits she loves but also beauty and hairstyle tips to go with them. Plus she has a whole host of life hacks that are can’t-miss.
103k followers on Instagram
Ready for a career shift, Kathleen Ensign turned her interest in fashion into a full-time gig. Now a lifestyle blogger who covers food and beauty in addition to fashion, Ensign shares not only her favorite outfits she wears IRL, but also tips, tricks and reviews on what to buy and what to leave out of your cart. Her feed, like Ensign herself, is full of fun and apparently well-caffeinated, and includes a healthy dose of her adorable dog, Benji.
527K followers on Instagram
With their mission to put the “art in parties,” Oh Happy Day has become one of the top craft and celebration resources online today. Developed as a personal blog by Jordan Ferney, Oh Happy Day morphed into the ultimate destination for all things party, from planning and tutorials to inspiration and ideas, all with a high color quotient. The success of her blog led to an accompanying online party shop and a second burst of creativity in the form of the Color Factory, which is now open in New York after its debut in San Francisco.
1m followers on Pinterest
Sarah loves every aspect of design. Graphic designer by day, pinner by night with lots of blogging in between, Sarah shares what inspires her design from art and beauty to fashion and travel. Don’t have time to crawl through her thousands of images on Pinterest? Her blog features curated sets of whatever happens to be inspiring her at the moment.
123k followers on Instagram
For maker Aleksandra Zee, her world is many shades of beige. From her workshop to her home to her creations to what she wears, her environment is honey-hued, warm and very zen. The artist works in redwood, creating geometric pieces that reflect the beauty and lines of the tree itself. Her feed offers glimpses into her inspired spaces as well as an open invitation to join Aleksandra in Oakland and tap into your inner woodworker through half-day and full-day workshops. Want more Aleksandra? You can pre-order her book, The Way of the Woodshop, which details not only how to make some of her favorite designs but also how to style them for photoshoots, natch.
20.9k followers on Instagram
With a penchant for finding the perfect hidden gems not found in typical tourist books, photographer Leslie Santaria knows SF. Driven by a real curiosity to discover all that the city has to offer, the author of 500 Hidden Secrets of SF (Eat-Drink-Shop-Stay) loves to map out adventure that can be found only off the beaten track. You can practically plan your itinerary right from her Instagram page.
195k followers on Instagram
If you are looking for where to go in your own backyard, Jessica Doll’s Instagram is the place to go. This professional photographer loves to share what makes Northern California so special to her, from food and fashion to beauty and places around the Bay. Looking for a new experience or to fall in love again with an old favorite, Jessica’s feed has plenty to serve up.
Stephanie is one of the co-founders and the Managing Director of sports marketing company BrandForward, and brings 20+ years of brand strategy. She is an adjunct professor in brand and communications for the University of San Francisco’s Sports Management Masters program and a certified Myers-Briggs Type Indicator practitioner. Stephanie approaches professional development and mentorship as a coach would: helping people to fully realize their strengths and maximize their potential. She is also co-author of the book Big Game, Bigger Impact: How the Bay Area Redefined the Super Bowl and the Lessons Learned that Can Apply to Any Business, which chronicles the hosting of Super Bowl 50 and how major sporting events can be catalysts for good. She resides in Mill Valley, CA with her husband Mike and dog Lucky.