When you hear a fresh voice and a moment of truth, you finally breathe. Oh. They’re real. Let me learn more about them. In being authentic, there’s a connection, because somebody allows us to see beyond their perfectly, filtered mask.

When you think of influencers, you think of designer handbags, fancy flavors, and whirlwind travel. What if instead, influencers had a layer of reality slapped over them like a modern girl who speaks of banana bread and mental health issues? Those are the kind of influencers I can get behind. Take Mandy Ansari for instance, a girl who shares her dark days along with her better ones.

When I read about Mandy Ansari, something stood out, something different. Something special. She was willing to take off her mask, to let you see her true self. To admit that she has rough times, too. In being raw and vulnerable, people knew she wasn’t simply a veiled picture on social media hawking goods or selling a pretty face, so we’d think she was the best thing since sliced bread. Instead, she was being herself. Telling it like it was. In that authenticity, she grew a massive following. Have we forgotten to be human with social media changing the way we communicate? Thankfully, Mandy hasn’t.

Her openness and ability to discuss anxiety, PTSD, grief, and more helps people who recognize themselves as they struggle with the same issues. Being raw and relatable, vulnerable, and willing to discuss her heart and mindfully touches those in search of authenticity.

The pressure people feel to show us how awesome they are forces them to look beyond who they truly are as they push their good sides forward, allowing their messier moments to slide back into the shadows. But in that, we lose something along the way. We lose the human factor that we all share. A connection is about connecting to who someone truly is, not who we think they are.

Everybody has stress, and stress is overwhelming, no doubt. For some people, there’s a natural ability to tackle stress head-on and then get on with their lives. For others, it goes deeper. Many then slide into anxiety or the stress compounds. Learning how to function in those difficult moments is just as important as ever.

And for Mandy, she relates that authenticity behind her personal self and teaches others how to reach out with value. You cut through the noise by being a voice people want to hear. People are tired of hearing hype. They want the truth, they want reality, and they want to know what you stand for.

Don’t you get tired of trying to measure up? All it does is lead to a cycle of negativity. Why aren’t I as polished, witty, or adventurous as this random person I don’t know but saw on social media. It’s a losing game. We beat ourselves up over other people’s highlight reels. Over staged images. Over exaggerated claims or over some image that was shot with perfect lighting, three cameras, and a professional taking the shot.

Here’s a breath of fresh air. Know what Mandy Ansari did to make a difference and reach out to others? She created a Virtual Pep Talk Generator. How cool is that? A cycle of negativity circles in our heads way more than is healthy for a lot of people, but with her generator, she fights the negativity with positive healthy thoughts! She sends out daily, positive messages to her subscribers…now that’s using smarts and technology while making a difference.