Sommer Ray, 24, is one of the original Instagram models. Since 2013, she’s attracted over 25 million followers on Instagram by posting work-out videos and modeling. “I started as an Instagram model,” said Ray in a Zoom call. “But, you know, I’m trying to break the ‘model’ and get out of that.”
Ray has been involved in body-building since she was a teenager and has always had a health-focused mindset and approach to life. After launching her own merch and shop, Ray had been looking to take the next steps in furthering her career in the health and wellness field when she was contacted in March 2020 by Felicia Hershenhorn, a Co-Founder & the COO of a new Canada-based company called Imaraïs Beauty, specializing in vegan skin care gummies.
“I approached Sommer at the start of the pandemic to be the CIO because of her track record of innovating in the wellness space,” says Hershenhorn. “For us at Imaraïs, the goal is to disrupt the traditional skin care industry, which drowns us as consumers in confusion with hard to pronounce and difficult to understand ingredient profiles. Instead, Imaraïs empowers our customers with simple ingredients and access to information about where those ingredients come from, giving people agency in their skin care routine. Imaraïs Beauty is sexy, simple and sustainable skin care. “
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The three active ingredients in Imaraïs skincare gummies are marine algae, a vegan-sourced squalane, and a form of fast-acting Vitamin C. If users eat the suggested amount of gummies a day for two months, they can reportedly expect to see their skin maintain a healthy glow. A bottle of GLOW by Imaraïs Beauty sells for $49 online, and contains 60 gummies inside the recyclable tube.
Exclusive Zoom Interview With Sommer Ray
In an exclusive Zoom interview with Sommer Ray, she delved into her motivations and experiences that inspired her as an internet mogul.
Jackson Weimer: Kanye West once said, ‘Look at Lady Gaga. She was the Creative Director of Polaroid. I like some of the Gaga songs. What does she know about cameras?’ What does the role of being a Chief Innovation Officer mean to you?
Sommer Ray: I feel like I was a pioneer in what I do on social media. I like to start revolutions. I like to be the leader. That’s also what Imaraïs Beauty stands for. I just like to do things I believe in and I follow my heart.
Weimer: I noticed this product is vegan certified by PETA. Are you yourself vegan? Is that what drew you to this product?
Ray: Felicia, my partner, she is vegan. It’s hard for me to be 100% vegan. You can get the protein needed by staying vegan if you really stay on top of it, but I have such a busy schedule. I always eat Kosher because I just love animals and the way they’re killed is just horrible.
Weimer: Do you see yourself transitioning away from posting on social media and focusing on other opportunities like this?
Ray: I don’t think social media is going anywhere. There’s kind of no escaping it. I want to have both. Obviously, Instagram is where my business lives and where my fans are, but also I want to get to people outside of that and not just live and die by my Instagram.
Weimer: What types of careers were you looking into before you saw success online?
Ray: When I was really young, I loved babies. I wanted to be the person who pulled the baby out of the mom. Before I got into social media, I was competing as a body builder. I was going to get my certification to be a personal trainer. Then, I started making money on social media and realized I can train lots of people. So, still kind of doing what I wanted to do.
Weimer: You’re one of the top 250 followed Instagram accounts. Have you ever turned on all your notifications with the sound on and then posted something?
Ray: Haha, I have not one notification on for anything. No, but that sounds like an interesting experiment!
Weimer: What is your least favorite social media platform to scroll and post on?
Ray: TikTok for both. It’s the most toxic. If I ever open the app, I’m always on there for way too long.
Weimer: What’s your favorite meme of all time or right now?
Ray: I don’t even know haha. I try to spend not that much time on my phone. What’s even a meme nowadays?
Weimer: What are your thoughts on simping and simp culture? What is your mindset of going about your day knowing there is a subreddit of 27,000+ members dedicated to worshipping you?
Ray: I love my simps. Someone like me definitely would love them. I don’t really mind them at all. I don’t really understand it too much. Every guy should be a simp for their lady.
Weimer: You made a Club Penguin reference in a FaZe Clan video. What is your favorite Puffle color and why?
Ray: Back then, the Pink Puffle used to be my favorite. I wasn’t allowed to talk to boys until I was 15. I was very sheltered. So, I would go on Club Penguin and talk to my brother’s friends in the chat. You can only select the pre-written phrases. I wasn’t allowed to play video games, but my mom would let us play Club Penguin because she thought it was harmless. So, it was pretty fun.
Weimer: Why did you decide to stop posting on YouTube and keep going on TikTok?
Ray: On YouTube, you need someone to edit and film your videos. It’s more work. You need to make thumbnails. It has to be more thought out. I just have a lot of other things in my life that I’m focused on. I think I’m going to come back on YouTube. I kind of just took a little break. TikTok is just easy. I can set up my own phone and film a little five second video.
Weimer: I noticed you love snakes. You were a farm girl growing up in Colorado. Is that a carryover?
Ray: I grew up with any animal you can think of. We had hedgehogs, snakes, rats, hamsters; I had everything. I just love animals and that’s a big part of my Imaraïs stuff as well.
This conversation has been reduced and edited for clarity.