Social media is a toxic place but the Good Influence Awards are here to celebrate good change – vote for your faves

LOVE Island star turned motivational speaker Malin Andersson has been using her Instagram to make a difference and inspire change.

When Malin left the Love Island villa in 2015, she had just 300k followers on Instagram – it may sound like a lot but in comparison to other contestants, this was a starting block.

But Malin, 28, didn’t want to use her platform like many other Islanders do – to promote teeth whitening strips or weight loss teas.

Instead, Malin wanted to be honest about the things she has gone through and to encourage others to do the same.

Now, five years on, Malin has managed to grow her Instagram by almost 500k followers by being open about all things from grief to eating disorders, body image to domestic abuse, trauma, self-care and more.

Tomorrow the Fabulous’ Good Influence Awards are back for the second year, with Malin as one of the expert judges.

The Fabulous Good Influence Awards celebrate women using their platforms for good, turning social media into a positive, empowering space.

More than 142,000 votes were cast last year with Mrs Hinch, Courtney Black and Megan Rose Lane bagging gongs.

Malin was runner-up in the awards last year in the Celebrity category and has opened up about how excited she is to be returning as a judge.

Malin told Fabulous Digital: “I’m super honoured to be a judge in this year’s awards.

“Being a nominee last year, it was an absolute honour.

“I was up against some really inspirational people and it was such a confidence boost in what I was doing – what I speak about is rare online, they are taboo topics, so it encourages other people to do the same.

“I think these awards are brilliant, it is taking note of good change, good influence and what the world needs more of and what social media needs more of.

“It’s really cool to be a judge this year, I’m really looking forward to it.

“I’ll feel really, really proud to let someone know that they’re making a change in the world, I think that’s a beautiful thing to have received.

“A recognition at least. Even being nominated is a recognition. It spurs people on to do more.”

Malin said she was super pleased to be runner-up in the awards last year.

She explained: “It felt so nice to be runner up and it was so nice to be a part of the awards.

“It‘s for something recognisable, it’s for making change.

“I think with what I do, it’s nice to have a lot of support behind it.

It’s clear that Malin has gone through a lot of pain and struggle in her life – her daughter Consy tragically passed away at one month old in 2019 after being born seven months premature and her mum, also named Consy, sadly died of cancer.

But these tragic experiences have encouraged Malin to be open on Instagram.

Malin explained: “My own personal suffering has made me want to be a good influence on Instagram.

“When I was struggling with eating disorders as a teen, I wish I had people to look up to when I was younger but I didn’t really have anyone like that.

“I think going from personal history of what I’ve gone through, whether it’s been domestic abuse, eating disorders, baby loss, trauma, whatever it is, I think it’s good for me to speak about it so people can relate and I think that’s why I do what I do, because I know that I could have done with that.”

When Malin left the Love Island villa she had just 300k Instagram followers, but has since grown her account by being open about her life.

Malin explained: “I was fortunate enough to have a small platform after Love Island, it was nowhere like anyone else from the show, I had to build up.

“I had about 300k followers when I came out of Love Island and I think it was when my mum died and my daughter passed away I started to open up more and just thought ‘fuck it I’m going to talk about whatever I want to talk about’ and gained the 500k in the past three years.

“I built up 500k not by being on TV but by doing what I’ve been doing for the right purposes.

“It’s been purely by raising awareness of what I truly believe in.”

Malin has recognised that there are many influencers also using Instagram as a platform to create change.

She said: “I get tagged in stuff all the time – they’re doing it because I’ve inspired them.

“They might have 1,000 followers and they are doing this to try and create a movement.

“I think that’s beautiful. I think having that mentality is so fresh and so rare.

“Everyone‘s got to start somewhere – people start on zero followers and they are doing their best and I think that’s amazing."

But regardless of this, Malin recognises that more needs to be done.

She adds: “There’s a lot that can be done in this world.

“There’s a way of doing it and it has to come from your heart and I just think that social media is a very toxic place so it’s important to keep it 100.

“If we do get it [positivity on Instagram], it’s not always genuine or authentic and it’s because people want the interaction or the likes.

“There’s a lot of portrayal of living a really good lifestyle in which people then doubt their own and question their own.

“I’ll portray when I’m in my PJs and I haven’t moved, I’ll portray if I’ve dressed myself and I'm going out.

“I’ll portray if I’m in my Primark leggings or if I’ve got my Louis Vuitton bag out.

“It doesn’t really matter to me. It is what it is.

“But I feel a lot of influencers are there trying to show their perfect lifestyle and actually if you think about all these young teens that are looking up to them thinking ‘I wish my life was like that’, they’re already feeling lack of themself, they’re already feeling lack of self worth by just looking at everyone else’s life.

“We’re not superheroes, we can’t try and change everything but the smallest things count and stepping stones count.

“I’ve seen little bits of change with certain celebrities changing their content which is great to see – it’s all about baby steps.”

When judging this years’ nominees, Malin wants to see authenticity.

She explained: “I think being true to themselves and wanting to create a positive impact on people around them and having the mentality that if they can change one person's life then that is enough.”

For anyone that is wanting to use Instagram to promote positivity, Malin shares her best advice.

She said: “Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, you’ve got to put your own mental health first.

“If you’re not healed, you can’t try and heal other people.

“If you think that expressing how you feel online helps you and others than do it.

“It’s all about baby steps. Do what you’re most comfortable with.

“The smallest amount helps in any way.

“By sharing your real life feelings and thoughts that could help that one person."

To vote in this year’s Good Influence Awards, and to be in with a chance of winning £500, head to Fabulousmag.co.uk/goodinfluenceawards, from 00:01 on Sunday September 5.

Make sure you get your entries in before 11.59pm on Sunday September 12.

The shortlist will be whittled down by our expert judging panel who will then select the winners.

What are you waiting for? Get voting!

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