The Constructed Lifestyle Image: An Examination of Mass Media, Online Social Influencers, and the Commodification of the Self

  • Katherine Cao University of Winnipeg


In the ever-changing landscape of New-age social media, trendy and popular online influencers reign supreme as they vie for subscribers, followers, and the like through advancing methods of technological reproduction. “Village Studio,” an upscale photo studio disguised as a beautiful and pristine SoHo apartment, caters to the needs of on-the-rise online influencers looking to score brand deals through creating and curating images that contribute to a constructed self, eventually leading to cultural and monetary capital.

Popular photo-based social media websites such as Instagram encourages any person with a smartphone and a camera to participate in such an environment of cultural one-upmanship, though it should be noted that this is a gendered phenomenon and the self-indulgent nature of sharing images of wealth, beauty, and lifestyle are viewed as predominantly female.

Through examination of the Village Studio, new cultural forms are revealed and the images and marketing strategies of what has become an online industry are interrogated.