Social media has always allowed us to present a hyper curated version of ourselves. But influencer and advocate Victoria Garrick Browne’s strives for the opposite. Her message is simple: let’s get real.
With over 1.5 million followers between her Instagram and Tik Tok accounts, Browne is inspiring more and more people everyday with content about body positivity, mental health and how to have a positive mindset. She furthers this mission on Real Pod, her podcast that she has been recording for five years has always inspired her and others to get real.
Browne first stepped into the spotlight while she was a Division 1 college volleyball player at University of Southern California and started use of the hashtag #realpost.
“I started Real Pod because I initially had been gaining traction on my Instagram by using a hashtag I came up with called #realpost, and anything that I posted and used the hashtag real post was usually something like a confession or a vulnerable post exposing how I was really feeling,” Browne explains to Modern Luxury.
She continues,“I wanted a way to bring those types of Instagrams to life and hence the name Real Pod was the evolution of this ‘real post...' It was also a way for me to invite other people on my show to talk about their real moments, as well.”
Just by scrolling through Browne's comments on her TikTok and Instagram, you can see the impact she has on her audience, especially young people. Take a look at her July 26 post and you'll find a number of people open up about personal experiences with clothes sizing issues. One reads, "Thank you for normalizing this! I’m learning to let go of the 4/6 and embrace the true 8/10 at this stage.. and it can be hard. Just thank you for your voice."
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According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, one in three people from the age of 18 to 25 experience a mental illness. This age range is a large amount of Browne’s following, which indicates just how important her vulnerable and motivational content is for her followers.
What’s more, Real Pod has been a safe space for people in the spotlight to come and sit down with Browne and get real about who they are. The 26-year-old has had numerous guests on the podcast, including content creator Cloe Feldman, who came out as bisexual during the episode, and actor and digital creator Chris Olsen, who got candid about his very public breakup.
Her podcast guests also extend beyond her peers. One Real Pod episode featured Rainn Wilson, who played Dwight on The Office. The two honed in on how difficulties in your life happen for a reason and teach life lessons. She concludes now, “If we can put our focus there and we can give 100% to where we are and where our feet are, then naturally the rest is gonna unfold…We are gonna be in such a better place than if our mindset is focused so much on the future that we are not able to be present and it's something that I'm working on and it's something I see my guests talking about as well.”
Even Browne herself has grown from recording Real Pod. “I think that one of the biggest things I've learned is that a lot of people, including myself, are constantly seeking what's next,” she reflects. “Whether that's an achievement or it's a new job or a different position on your volleyball team, but I think that what we need to pay more attention to is who we are and what we have in the now and in the present moment.”
Browne especially got real during her Feb. 22 episode, “I don’t want to call it an identity crisis + my next chapter,”and was honest about being at a crossroads. “I was just opening up about the stage that I’m at in my life and my career,” she says, adding, “Whether you're an athlete or not, I think moving on from your past or something you used to spend a lot of time doing can be really difficult and so in that episode I'm just kind of opening up about how I'm feeling.”
Along with being a content creator, Ted Talk speaker, hosting a successful podcast and being a mental health and body positive advocate, Browne just re-released a children's book.
On July 23, 23 years after her Papou (grandfather) passed away, she re-released Losing Papou, the book her mother wrote to teach her and her siblings about grief and death. The book teaches readers that everyone goes through hardships and grief in their life and it's about how you overcome it and try to live on in people's legacies.
All of the proceeds from the book will be donated to The Hidden Opponent, the non-profit that Browne started in college to address the stigma around mental health and support athletes around the world.
Browne’s reach in the social media stratosphere is also notably exemplified by one superstar’s comment. On a TikTok of Browne explaining “Wildest Dreams” (Taylor’s Version) to her boyfriend at the time, now husband, Swift commented, “I CANNOT STOP LAUGHING I LOVE YOU.”
The moment meant so much to Browne that she ended up printing out the comment and putting it on her purse when she attended Swift’s Eras Tour Shows at Sofi Stadium.
The first leg of the Eras Tour may be over, but Browne’s enthusiasm for the future persists. She is excited to see where her content will go in the future and wants to continue to make an impact on her followers' lives.
“I think as a creator how I want to evolve is to continue listening to my personal philosophy or motto that is think less, post more,” she says. “I think when I stop and get in my head I can get bogged down and I recently have been trying to think less and post more and lean into whatever excites me and makes me happy and just trusting that that is gonna bring joy and spark inspiration for someone else. As far as Real Pod, I really care about this show and I really believe in it. Even though it's year five, I feel like we are just getting started and I hope to one day be a podcast that is, without hesitation, attracting some of the biggest names in business who want to come and get real about whatever is going on in their life. I hope that by continuing to create a safe space with each of the guests that I am so grateful to sit down with, that I can get there one day.”
Real Pod has new episodes out every Wednesday on Spotify.
Photography by: Jesse Tam