“I think we are ok for a little bit. Quinn shouldn’t wake up for a little while,” says Lindsay Stewart as she settles in for our chat, and a much-needed break from her 16-month-old. This pregnant mom is learning just how active her 1 ½-year-old can be so nap time is always a good time. This 2nd pregnancy has not been easy on her. She’s hopeful her nausea will end soon.
“Ok, let’s do this,” says Lindsay sweetly.
A lot of people don’t necessarily know the name Lindsay Stewart, but Las Vegans and thousands of tourists who visit Sin City do know who @thelasvegasfoodie is. She is the Instagram foodie, helping people all over the world find the best places to eat in Vegas. You can find her all over social media under the same handle.
Her videos can make your mouth water in seconds. In fact, one of her TikTok videos on lobster has more than 10 million views.
She can make a Flamin’ Hot Cheeto pizza slice look like the most amazing piece of food in the world. (Yes, she even has a video on it with more than 5.6 million views.)
Currently, she has more than 300-thousand followers on Instagram and more than half a million followers on TikTok. Not only are her followers liking her posts, but the infamous social media algorithms love her.
But let’s not get crazy. This isn’t luck. These kinds of numbers come from consistency and as Lindsay says, “playing the game.”
She’s also the perfect person to represent International Women’s Day.
According to Statista, 84% of influencers who created sponsored posts on Instagram in 2019 were women. It is, by far, a woman-dominated industry.
We had the chance to do a fun Q&A with Lindsay about the growth of social media and why she thinks women have excelled in the field.
Lindsay, social media is so new, what did you want to be when you were little?
I wanted to be a weather girl. I was sure of it. I went to college in southern California and got a degree in communications studies, but obviously, my life took a different turn. I waited tables all through high school and college and I really loved it. I have always hated the 9-5 of an office.
I’ve known my husband (Casey) since we were in high school, and he is a professional poker player so when we started dating in our 20s, we quickly decided we needed to move to Vegas. He would play poker and I would be his cocktail server. In Vegas, being a cocktail server is so much harder than you think. It’s all about who you know. You have to go to interviews, casting calls. It’s hard. Luckily, one day, Casey and I checked out “Giada” at The Cromwell on the Strip. It was a super popular restaurant that had just opened up. I managed to get us a reservation for lunch. I loved the food so much I left a Yelp review. The general manager of the restaurant ended up reaching out to me. He said if I ever needed anything to let him know. I IMMEDIATELY replied with my resume and said, “I NEED A JOB.” He hired me as a food runner, and I eventually moved up to a cocktail server. It was my dream job!
How were you introduced into social media?
We lived near the Strip, and we could walk everywhere so I had restaurants at my fingertips. I started keeping track on a notepad of where we went and what I ate. There was no purpose other than wanting to remember what I liked and what I didn’t.
It started getting too complicated, so I just started taking pictures and created an Instagram to post the pictures. It really started out as a personal diary, but then after a few months, I started realizing other people around town were doing the same thing. I couldn’t believe it.
Sounds like a tiny community, right?
Yes, it totally was! One girl invited me to my first event at the Donut Bar. I met a group there and we started taking pictures at different angles. It was a hobby for a long time.
How did you grow your following? That seems to be so tricky!
It’s a game really. We all worked together to help each other out. Public relations companies would invite us to dinner, and I couldn’t believe we were getting free meals.
Eventually, restaurants started asking me to run their Instagram, and that’s how I started making money. I quickly learned that business owners were too busy running a business and I knew how to play the social media game, so it made sense. I ended up quitting my server job.
People talk about the importance of finding your niche, but food is a big niche. How did you make it your own?
I really believe in being authentic so if you go to my pages, 90% of the stuff isn’t paid. I want to make sure I’m being truthful with my followers. If I don’t like something, I won’t recommend it. It’s about building a relationship with everyone which is super important to me. I want people to feel like they know me. I NEVER want anyone to feel like I’m pulling something over on someone. I want to give you the best experience I can.
When did you realize this was a money maker/lucrative in any way?
Big brands are willing to pay for advertising so it’s a dream come true. I’ve been doing this seriously for 6 years. The last couple of years big brands started reaching out like Smith’s, Albertsons, Grubhub, Station Casinos, Wynn, The Cosmopolitan, Taco Bell. I make a great living…definitely, more than I would at a mid-level office job, but I work 24/7.
Why do you think social media influencers are mainly women?
Wow, that’s a good question. I think it gave women a voice. We can share our opinion whenever we want. As women, we are always asking each other for advice…on hair, skin, work-life, mom balance, etc. It only made sense to extend our reach. Also, you don’t have to “interview” to get there. There is no “trying out”. You just do it!
There are women who have built an empire just from Instagram.
Social media just makes it more comfortable and what’s great is that women are supporting women. Foodies support other foodies. If you think about it, the social media community is the only space where supporting each other lifts everyone up.
Do you think people, with our ever-changing social climate, still underestimate women?
Of course. We are still fighting for ourselves. We are still trying to be on the same playing field as a man, but I think social media is a great place for us to show everyone what we can do.
What’s your piece of advice to anyone who is on the fence about trying to get into social media marketing/influencing?
You still have time!
Think about how old the radio is, how old the tv is. Social media has just become huge in the last 10 years. It’s only going to evolve.
Try a little bit of everything whether it be food posts or lifestyle and see what you like best. Hone in on that.
The biggest thing that people need to get over is their fear of it not being perfect or pretty. My biggest picture “likes” are always the ones where I have second-guessed myself.
We are too worried if we are going to be judged for something.
My advice: JUST DO IT! It’s the hardest part.
This seemed like the perfect place to end our interview. Quinn was awake and Lindsay, her husband and baby were off to taste the food at a new neighborhood restaurant. Even with nausea hovering, work never stops and she’s grateful she’s found a career that gives her the financial freedom to do what she loves and still be with her family as much as possible.
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