An Instagram Influencer’s Guide to #AnguillaMoments
A gallery of our life and experiences, that is what Instagram is to some. To others, it is a window into places, experiences and opportunities they are yet to realise. Following #Anguilla, you will see over 200,000 Anguilla posts from the perspective of locals, tourists, businesses and Instagram Influencers*. Instagram Influencers are users who have an established audience and are considered credible by virtue of their trustworthiness and authenticity. *For the purpose of this article, an Instagram Influencer is any person with an Instagram following of over 10,000 – approximately 2/3 of Anguilla’s population. Whether these influencers are from Anguilla or not, they share something in common. They have showcased the island to their followers. And, they were so kind to share their favourite Instagram posts and a few words with us. Combined, these Instagram Influencers have a following of over 300,000! You may also notice that some accounts have a blue badge which means Instagram has confirmed that this is the authentic account for the public figure, celebrity or global brand it represents.
Lucie Fink, @luciebfink | 119K FollowersLucie is a content creator, video producer and Lifestyle Host at Refinery29. Her feed is filled with vibrant images and personality. Did I mention she’s a twin?! Here’s what she had to say about her experience in Anguilla! “I went on a sibling trip to Anguilla with my twin sister, Allie, and my older brother, Robbie. The three of us spent a week together at The Reef by CuisinArt and had a fantastic vacation. The weather was perfect, the ocean was warm, and the staff was incredible. We went horseback riding, kayaking, and even took a boat to a private island and enjoyed a quiet lunch together in the sunshine! We would go back in a heartbeat.”
Breeze Turner, @breezeturner | 55.5K FollowersJust by heading to Breeze Turner’s Instagram account, you can see how deep rooted her love for Anguilla is – she has an Anguilla flag as part of her username! She’s an Anguillian who travels the world with her dog Marley who loves the adventures. I had the pleasure of meeting her parents while fishing with my dad on Island Harbour beach some years ago. They were so proud of her accomplishments and, upon hearing about my involvement with What We Do In Anguilla, they recommended I get into contact. Well, here we are and I am proud of the passion she has… “Anguilla is home. It’s where I was raised, it’s where I learned to walk and swim and waterski. It’s where I became who I am. Anguilla is engrained in me, and my time there has influenced the type of life I know I want to live. I could go on and on about all my favorite experiences in Anguilla. I could talk about the time my dad and I took our boat to Dog Island to explore. Or the time I tried to paddle board the whole way around the island. I could talk about live music at Shoal Bay on Sundays, or our annual hermit crab races at the Governor’s garden party. But while those good memories are some of my favorites, there’s one that feels more significant to me. Returning to Anguilla post-Irma and standing in the rubble of the home I was raised in is the memory that resonates with me the most right now. It wasn’t easy. It definitely wasn’t fun. But that trip home taught me about myself and the place I love so much more than any other experience. I knew I was from a special place, but the way Anguilla has come back from such devastation is a huge confirmation of the strength, resilience, and tenacity Anguillians embody. I’m proud to be from a place that has taught me to take on any obstacle with positivity and hope, and will carry these lessons with me as I move forward making new memories on my beloved island.”
Sean Webster, @sugsean | 43.5K FollowersSean is the founder of a footwear brand, Sug-Sean Footwear, a travel, fashion and lifestyle blogger – so, he travels extensively – and, represents global brands in his carefully curated Instagram posts. And, yes, the Webster is from Anguilla! He left Anguilla to study culinary arts in the US then worked as a professional chef for 5 years in London before becoming a fashion and lifestyle blogger. He often references growing up in Anguilla, its beautiful beaches and friendly people in a number of articles about him along with the places he’s been and things he’s done – one of those places was Johannesburg, South Africa. “One of my favourite travel collaborations was with the KLM & South Africa Tourism Board. They took us to Johannesburg for SA Fashion Week.”
Krista Simmons, @kristasimmons | 27.2K FollowersKrista is a seasoned culinary travel writer and producer telling stories on various digital platforms. She has been on TV shows like Top Chef Masters, Knife Fight, Hell’s Kitchen, and The Today Show and written for Travel +Leisure, Departures, Los Angeles Times, and Tastemade. Her culinary adventures led her to Anguilla for Festival Del Mar – great choice! I’ll let her video post and caption speak for themselves! “I dove in head first to explore some of the amazing local seafood Anguilla has to offer — including cowfish (a distant relative of fugu), wahoo, crayfish and more — at the Festival Del Mar…”
Nicole Kristin Elgin, @wheretopeanut | 14.2K FollowersFor the past month, Nicole’s Instagram profile has been awash with images of Anguilla’s beautiful beaches and her experiences while on island. “For me, Anguilla is all about the natural beauty of the sea. The crystalline waters truly are luminous in their shades of blue. From taking a swim in beautiful Meads Bay, to feeling the soft sands between my toes, the beaches of Anguilla are apt to spoil the shores of anywhere else in the world. One of my favorite coastline experiences was finding the beautiful sea arch on the West End. The way the mid-morning sunlight lit up the water was divine!”
Mark Lyndon, @marklyndon360 | 10.3K FollowersWith his very detailed post captions, it is quite evident how much love Mark has for Anguilla! “Welcome to Anguilla where serenity + great food go hand in hand. If you’re a sophisticated epicurean but love to be served in elegant open-air settings, this is your foodie Shangri-la. I ate a lobster the size of Marshawn Lynch that was LITERALLY swimming in the ocean behind me 45 minutes before it was IN. MY. BELLY! Washed it down with a Guinness Foreign Extra (Great Beer BTW) and some conch fritters too. Coolest thing about Anguilla (aside from locals) had to be driving from the right side of my car, WHILST traveling down the left side of the road. See what I just did there? Yup, used a BRITISH conjunction because this is the British West Indies…”
Sports & Fitness
Melissa Mussington, @MussBeFit | 25K FollowersYou might just recognise the last name… Yes, she is a Mussington from Anguilla. She has been featured in the Cosmopolitan and, not for her ability to sing. Rather, for her role in promoting healthy lifestyles and the fact that we #MussBeFit! Between her training pics and confident poses, she is also a motivator and brand ambassador. And, you may notice that Anguilla’s natural backdrop complements her poise. Post-Hurricane Irma, she held free bootcamps for women in aid of the ladies in Anguilla, specifically the school girls. She raised funds and sent down over 1,000 feminine hygiene products and donated to the Welfare Department of Anguilla for the less fortunate families. “Anguilla has been a place where I’ve been able to indulge in my thoughts due to the quiet environment. Every time I visit, I leave with a more innovative idea due to the ability to think fresh thoughts on the beach at 6am. Although I no longer reside there, I find pleasure in knowing I can always return home and enjoy a hassle free beach workout, and some fresh BBQ after.”
Zharnel Hughes, @zharnel_hughes | 14.9K FollowersZharnel’s growth has been exceptional! From watching him break records back in high school to seeing him on TV breaking Yohan Blake’s junior 100m record. He has battled the World’s Fastest Man, Usain Bolt, for first place at the Diamond League meeting in New York on 13 June, 2015 and is currently representing Team GB while being a student pilot! “I am Zharnel Hughes, sprinter 100m and 200m. I’ve started track & field since I was ten years old and the passion for the sport grew as I got older and started exploring the world because the love for the sport. It all started off for me at my alma mater “Stoney Ground Primary School” competing at the Annual Inter School Sports Day where I won 5 gold medals and winning the trophy for most outstanding athlete. From there, I was approached by Alexis Ryan – who is one of the Anguilla Amateur Athletics Association’s coaches – to try out for the national team since the Leeward Islands Champions were being held in Anguilla. I got selected, participated in the meet and won 7 medals and set 2 records. I’ve achieved numerous gold medals on both the local and international scenes. I’m currently ranked the fastest in the world right now in the 100m. The link to my favourite Instagram post expresses the happiness, excellence in the journey I’ve been through as a young athlete and achieving a goal which I’ve set out early in the track season and that was lowering my personal best time of 10.12 to 10.01. This is a highlight that lets you know, no matter what circumstances you might find yourself in, with focus, tenacity, patience and consistency, goals can become a reality.”
Wendell “Bonty” Herbert, @bontyaxa | 11.7K FollowersFrom his profile description, you can tell that he loves speed, enjoys a good party and is a promoter of Anguilla. It is no surprise that he introduced the Anguilla Poker Run which incorporates beautiful speed boats with Anguilla’s beautiful beach and a party atmosphere. “What I love to do in Anguilla is visit the beautiful beaches and cays to have lunch or just to have some nice cold drinks with my friends and family on my 30-foot motion catamaran. Bar hopping around the island gave me the idea and motivation to start the annual Anguilla Poker Run which is now a part of our Anguilla Summer Festival. The Poker Run is way of showing everyone how lovely our island and its beaches are as we sail around the island and stop at each of its best beach bars and restaurants. Some of my favourite spots to hit up are Davida’s for the bacon cheese burgers, Sandy Island, Johnno’s at Prickly Pear and SunShine Shack for the chicken and rib combos, Blanchard’s Beach Shack for the big bowls and chicken sandwiches and Scilly Cay for the rum punches.”
Indy Bailey, @iam_indy | 13.5K FollowersIndy, a mix engineer by profession, was recently in Australia then took to Qatar along with the American rapper, Ace Hood. This Island Boy stays representing his roots! As one of the founders of AXA Boy Entertainment, he utilises the skills and experiences gained on his travels to advance his country. How does he do this? By producing high calibre annual events such as Boxing Day Bash and by making the dream of a Better Band Reunion a reality – not once but 3 times in 2017! Or, that time he brought Machel Montano to Anguilla. You can see how that turned out from his Instagram post. “When I’m in Anguilla I just want to touch as many people that I can, because I see all Anguillians as my family!”
Omari Banks, @omaribanks11 | 10.1K FollowersThe trailblazer, Omari Banks, became the first and only Anguillian to date to play Test cricket for the West Indies at age 20. He then went on the play professionally for 11 years and that was just the start. Omari is the son of Donna Banks and the legendary Clement “Bankie Banx” Banks. Being exposed to music from a tender age, it was no surprise that he reinvented himself as an international Artiste and has toured Europe with Grammy winning group Morgan Heritage, and has opened for major acts such as Thirdworld, Beres Hammond and Robert Randolph. Through his profile, it is evident that he has a passion for Anguilla, children and culture. Earlier this year, he was invited to be a guest speaker at the “Living a Life of Purpose School Tour”. There is no doubt that he has always been involved with the youth through his involvement in music and sports. Even I can recall him coming to talk to my primary school class about sports. Here he is performing at the Artscape Music Festival 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland.
These Instagram Influencers have one thing in common, at some point in their life, they experienced an #AnguillaMoment(s) which had a lifelong effect on them. Their strides and successes serve as inspiration for their impressive following and can inspire you to not only follow them as well but, aim to create your own #AnguillaMoment which you can share with us. While you’re at it, be sure to follow What We Do In Anguilla on Instagram @whatwedoinanguilla.