Angelina Suwoto (born ‘00) is a Chinese-Indonesian-American travel Instagram influencer. She started her Instagram page (@angi.susu) at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and has since grown it to 20k+ followers. She posts mesmerizing, ethereal photos of her trips from across the world. Apart from traveling and creating content, Angi works as a full-time software engineer at a bank in New York City. She graduated from Georgia Tech in 2020 with a degree in Computer Science.
Angi spoke with us about her experience as a travel content creator. Here it is in her words:
✈️ How did you get started? I started traveling by myself in high school. Once the pandemic hit, I began to post my travel pictures on Instagram to reminisce, and my page just grew from there.
🏡 On balancing work and creating content: When it comes to my day job, my mindset is to just get the work done for those five weekdays. During my lunch breaks and after work, I’ll answer emails for brands and edit photos. I'm also constantly researching, planning my next trip, and booking flights or hotels. The weekends are pretty much all dedicated to content creation and going out with friends, which is nice because I can do both at the same time.
🌎 How often do you travel? At least once a month. During the spring and summer, it can be twice a month. Luckily, my company has had a remote work policy since I started in 2020 until just today. They want us back in the office now for two days a week, but hopefully there’s still some flexibility.
👯 How did you make creator friends? I was very intentional about reaching out, specifically looking for other Asian-American, female travel creators. I would just ask to chat, just to learn about their experiences. Afterward, I’d suggest meeting up if we were to ever be in the same place. I would keep up with their socials and comment on their posts. Because our space is so small, I now recognize a lot of the names that float around on Instagram.
😖 Biggest challenge: The constant battle between posting what I love and what will get the most views. Instagram has been pushing reels recently, but I’d rather continue posting photography, so that’s been a dilemma. My inspirations don’t necessarily line up with what the platform wants.
🤝 How do you get brand sponsorships? Half of them reach out to me, half I reach out to them. I spend a decent amount of time looking for brands that I'd want to work with. Other times, an email will land in my inbox from a brand asking me to work with them on a campaign.
💸 How much do you make? I made less than 10k last year from content creation. Maybe one day I can do it full-time, but I am nowhere near that margin yet. A lot of my sponsorships are also on a trade basis. They’ll send me stuff in exchange for posting, but I don't get any money out of it.
✨ Future of Gen Z creators? Authenticity. Many people are coming into this space to share their passions and put their personalities out there. While you're so constricted in real life with your job and the expectations that people have of you, social media is now being used as an outlet rather than a way to become famous. The space is moving from perfect curation to capturing people’s real lives. Lives that aren’t picture-perfect and have flaws.
👨⚕️ On growing up Asian-American: I always thought I had to be a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, and so I ended up as a software engineer. I never once considered content creation as an actual career. Maybe I would’ve gotten started earlier in this space if not for my standard Asian upbringing. At the same time, I think it's also helped my work ethic and prudence. I'm definitely not planning to leave my current job and go full-time into content creation because I think it would be a little reckless.
💡 Best advice for aspiring creators: Go into it without any expectations. You should be creating for your own joy, not to get something out of it. I think that's how a lot of content creators start. If you're not enjoying it for yourself, then there's no way that's going to translate over to other people. It's also not something that you'll want to continue doing.
tl;dr: Authenticity holds a lot more power nowadays in the content produced and consumed. Be intentional about reaching out to people, and stay engaged with them on social media. To be successful, create content for your own enjoyment, not to get something out it.
Keep up with Angi!