Welcome to our Champion the Creators interview series with influencers of all niches to highlight their journeys, share their insights and inspire! Today we are talking all about influencing with Nerissa, a health and wellness influencer.
Meet Nerissa, a health and wellness influencer and mom of five who documents her active lifestyle after weight-loss surgery. More than 95.1K TikTok and 28.7K Instagram followers know her as Rissa Recharged and are inspired by her 126-pound weight loss after bariatric surgery. Nerissa encourages her community to explore their options for weight loss and fitness while sharing her story. She’s written two books, “Redefining Wellness” and “Navigating Pregnancy After Weight Loss Surgery,” to educate others on what they might not know about bariatric surgery and pregnancy after the procedure.
Nerissa started creating weight loss surgery content four years ago when she noticed a need for the specific fitness niche.
“I found that there wasn’t a lot of people sharing. People share fitness all the time, but not a lot of people were sharing for those who had weight loss surgery,” she said. “So there really weren’t a lot of resources and support out there. It was actually kind of taboo.”
“It’s a hobby, but it’s also a great accountability for me personally,” she added.
Nerissa hopes to inspire her followers to become healthy in the best way for them.
“I believe that when it comes to getting healthy, by all means necessary,” she said. “Everyone’s journey is not the same. Dieting and exercise might work for you, but it might not work for me. Maybe I need to do something different. Whether that’s medication, maybe that’s seeing a nutritionist, maybe that’s seeing a fitness trainer or maybe that is having surgery.”
She educates her community on their options when it comes to health, rather than telling them what to do.
“I don’t tell people, ‘Hey, go have surgery.’ Let’s talk about it. Let’s really understand what are the dilemmas that are preventing you from losing weight or being healthy,” she said. “Only 1% of the people who qualify for weight loss surgery actually have it. So what that tells me is people aren’t aware; they don’t understand. They don’t know that they’re qualified, and they’re not having the conversations that they could be having with their doctor, with their family, or even with people that they know have done this journey before.”
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Nerissa found that weight-loss surgery was the best option for her, and she and her husband both had the procedures done just one week apart. Now the two host events together.
“We’ve been able to do this journey together, which has been amazing,” she said. “My husband and I host bariatric events, so we’ve done tea parties, retreats, cabin trips. We’ve been able to bring people together in a really beautiful way that have this common thread.”
She keeps talking about health and wellness because she is passionate about helping others. She advises aspiring creators to find the topic they care most about.
“I would say not only find your niche but find your passion. What is something that you can talk about endlessly without stopping?” she said. “Because at the end of the day, if you’re creating content, you’re going to have to repeat this story and talk about whatever this journey is or this thing that you’ve mastered over and over and over again. So how are you going to keep it fresh for yourself so that you stay interested, but also keep it fresh for your audience so that they stay interested as well?”
The passion extends to promoting products and brands. Nerissa says aspiring influencers should only work with brands that they love.
“I have learned that it is more important to be authentic than to chase a deal or chase a paycheck,” she said. “I’ve received things and honestly, I didn’t like it, and it would be very inauthentic to me to promote that and share that with my brand. Why would I encourage people to spend money on something that I don’t think is good?”
“And it comes across in your content as well. As you niche down, find the things that you like and that also connect with your values,” she said.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Marette Flora is IZEA’s Content Manager. She writes and edits content about influencer marketing and all the latest #TeamIZEA happenings. When she is not at work, she can be found writing her personal blog, crafting personalized gifts or exploring Chicago where she lives with her husband, two daughters, dog and plants.