In the past few years, internet memes have become a full-blown popular cultural phenomenon. Enter Lola Tash and Nicole Argiris, two childhood friends who decided to make a collaborative Instagram meme page as a way of keeping in touch. Their account @MyTherapistSays has grown at an astonishing pace since its creation in 2015, with more than 2.4 million followers to date.
Their impressive growth has yielded exciting projects — an upcoming book, a clothing line, a newly launched website, and brand sponsorships on Instagram including Hinge, Urban Decay, and Tinder. We sat down with Lola and Nicole to discuss brand partnerships, social media as a career, and the unique relationships between influencers and their fans.
1. What were you both doing before you became meme influencers? How did you get started on Instagram?
One of us was filming a series and the other was finishing school. We wanted to keep in touch whilst busy, and had a lot of thoughts that we felt needed an outlet. This was as organic for us as having a two hour FaceTime call to vent about our days!
2. How has @MyTherapistSays evolved since you began?
It’s definitely become a bigger thing than we could have ever imagined. People from all walks of life have reached out and found comfort in our memes. It’s branched out into different things, like our upcoming book, athletic wear, and other projects that are in the works.
3. When did you realize you could monetize your channel through sponsorships? Did it come as a surprise?
We realized probably around the 100,000 mark and it definitely struck us as a surprise. We never planned on it becoming more than an outlet, a space to be our most honest and rather flawed selves, let alone a career path.
4. Many online meme creators choose to remain anonymous, what made the two of you decide to make your identities public?
We were anonymous for a while, preferring to be a voice that people can put any face they feel comfortable with to, and eventually, as we grew, so did our reach.
People started reaching out and asking for advice, confiding in us, looking to us for support/guidance, and we felt it would be best to provide any sort of support or even just a kind word without hiding behind a computer or phone.
We got direct messages asking who we were and what we were about because people found they could relate to our voice and, we suppose, they wanted to put a face to that. We were anonymous intentionally, and the support of the people who followed us definitely encouraged us to reveal ourselves.
5. Where do you gather inspiration for your memes?
Most of the memes we create are almost always inspired by our day to day misadventures or pop culture.
6. In the matter of a few short years, your account has risen to 2.3 million followers. What factors do you attribute your fast growth to?
Our rapid growth was as much of a shock to us as anyone else, but I think it’s because we were honest in what we were saying, and how we were saying it.
We try to be as authentic, genuine, and funny, without adding any malice or ill humor to our memes. There’s enough negativity happening in the world, and we just want to provide comfort/support/a laugh to anyone in need.
7. You’ve worked with brands including Hinge, Tinder, and Urban Decay Cosmetics. What are some tips for successfully integrating a brand into your memes?
For the most part, the integration depends on the brand, and what approach they want to take. Almost anything is meme-able in our eyes, so if a brand is willing to go there, to put themselves out there, we’re more than ready to come up with something on their behalf. We’ve been fortunate to work with genuinely great people.
8. What has surprised you the most about a career in social media?
I think the most surprising thing has been the amount of work and time that goes into building a social media brand.
You think it’ll be an escape from a 9-5, smooth sailing, but it’s quite a commitment. When you’ve got large brands to answer to, meetings for products that you’re working on, new content creation, and day to day minutiae, it truly is incredibly time-consuming.
9. Lightning round:
Person you’d most like to meet, dead or alive?
Lola: Simone De Beauvoir
Nicole: Albert Einstein
Favorite meme of all time?
I don’t think we have a favorite. Maybe a few!
Instagram Stories or Snapchat?
Instagram Stories with Snapchat filters.
Favorite type of pizza?
Margherita with Mushrooms.
Favorite Instagram pet channel?
Lola: Anything to do with cats.
Nicole: Anything with dogs.
10. How do you plan to continue to grow @MyTherapistSays in the future? Any upcoming projects that your fans should get excited about?
We’ve got a few things in the pipeline. Our book is something we are incredibly excited about, which our fans should look out for. We are also slowly beginning to roll out apparel. And a few other things that we are not yet at liberty to discuss!
This interview has been edited for clarity.