A few years ago, a video called “Instagram Husband” went viral on YouTube. It features three fictional men—Jeff, Trey, and Nate—reluctantly forced to take photos of their fashion-blogging significant others. Nate, in particular, looks to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. The video is satirical but has clearly struck a chord, racking up close to 6.8 million views. Perhaps Jeff, who at one point is severely scolded for taking a sip of his artfully poured latte pre-photograph, put it best: “Behind every cute girl on Instagram is a guy like me—and a brick wall.”
That’s often true. There are plenty of men working behind the scenes of fashion and lifestyle blogs. Dallas, home to excellent shopping and influencer-supporting rewardStyle, is a veritable breeding ground for some of the best bloggers in the rapidly evolving new industry. Certain local influencers have become so popular (and marketable) that they’ve hired a team of assistants, photographers, and website designers—an assemblage that sometimes includes their significant others. The difference, fortunately, is that those men are not the human selfie sticks “Instagram Husband” portrays.
“I promise I’m not a tortured individual,” says Austin Robertson. In addition to his full-time job in cybersecurity, he helps his wife, Ashley, with strategic planning and content development for her blog, The Teacher Diva, which has earned her more than 302,000 Instagram followers.
Ashley started the site in 2012, just before the Instagram influencer boom. “Even in the early days, it still took a team to pull it off,” Austin says. “I filled some of those roles in the beginning. Part of it was that I was interested in photography, but it was also about being a nice husband.”
About a year into it, the couple began to realize the moneymaking potential of the blog. Ashley left her job as a teacher in 2013, and Austin began moonlighting as her business manager. “It’s a hard balance, but I would never let it compromise my full-time job,” he says. “We usually schedule business meetings in the evenings. Sometimes it’s at the cost of a date night, but we make it work.”
Cathy Williamson, who founded The Middle Page in 2013, has had the help of her husband, Buster, since day one. “I read everything before she posts, but it’s all Cathy,” says Buster, who works in money management.
Austin and Buster aren’t alone. Plenty of other Dallas husbands are helping with their wives’ ventures. Casey Wiegand, who has more than 175,000 Instagram followers, uses her filmmaker husband, Chris, to help with her content. Jane Aldridge is the face of Sea of Shoes to the account’s 203,000 followers, but her husband, Jeff Dashley, is heavily involved behind the scenes and with photography.
No matter their role or level of involvement, most husbands see their wives’ unique careers as a boon, not a burden. “I didn’t know anything about the blogging world, but over the five years she’s been doing this, it’s become a big business,” Buster says. “It’s just a great thing for her, and I’m happy she’ll include me on occasion. I now know designers that nobody knows, and neither should I.”
That said, “ ‘Instagram Husband’ does touch on some real things,” Austin says. “But the myth that getting the perfect selfie or photo is about being conceited just isn’t true. It’s about a dedication to the quality of your content. I did learn, though, when the food comes out, just to take a beat for the photo.”