How Instagrammer Alex Zouaghi Became a Professional Influencer
London Instagrammer Alex Zouaghi is making a living showing off the delights of Notting Hill to his hundreds of thousands of followers
Photography: Alex Zouaghi
Originally from Paris, Zouaghi was bitten by the travel bug at an early age and moved to New York in his early 20s. Then, three years ago, he made the move to Notting Hill and soon earned the prestigious title, Mr Notting Hill.
‘I started photography and blogging when I was still living in New York, but I was just doing it for myself and my family back then,’ he says.
‘After posting pictures on a daily basis, it just started to get a little bigger. When I arrived in London it was still quite small, but then everything took off. I had around 2,000 followers on Instagram when I arrived, but six months later I had 60,000.’
Now he has the Millennial’s dream job; a professional digital influencer. Instagrammer and photographer by day, blogger the rest of the time – oh, and father too, to his little boy.
Zouaghi has never had any professional photography training, but seems to have an ability to see through the obvious details and cut to the subtleties and nuances beneath.
‘I really tried to develop my own style starting from Notting Hill, as this is where I live and where everything I love is,’ he smiles. ‘Everything is very bright, very colourful. I like to focus on the village vibe that you can find within a big city, so I don’t photograph very many skylines or cityscapes; instead I find the hidden streets.’
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Notting Hill Hangouts Golborne Village: ‘There’s a vintage atmosphere that I really love, especially around Golborne Village and you can still feel that the area can be posh, colourful, vintage and family-friendly all at different times. I love to go to the antique market.’ Portobello: ‘Portobello is very authentic and I really love it.’ Restaurants: ‘There are many restaurants that I love like Snaps & Rye and Bluebells of Portobello.’ Westbourne Grove: ‘Westbourne Grove is completely different. I could talk about the grandeur but, of course, everyone already knows about all that! The people here are so wonderful and it’s very diverse. So many people that you talk to here have some amazing stories about the area through time. There’s also a big French community here.’
Zouaghi tells me that his ethos is focused around community and giving his audience a new perspective of a city that they think they know. ‘I love sharing my experiences from favourite streets of Notting Hill to the best brunch places that I know,’ he says.
‘It’s more than just showing pictures, it’s about sharing tips, recommendations and about giving the audience something new. It’s storytelling mixed with visual content.’
Before moving to London, he didn’t know London very well, so he narrowed his search to a few places, explored them all in a week and settled on Notting Hill.
It’s more than just showing pictures, it’s about sharing tips, recommendations and about giving the audience something new. It’s storytelling mixed with visual content
‘This was the last place I looked at,’ he says, ‘but from the very moment I arrived, I knew this was going to be my neighbourhood. I love that it doesn’t feel like a big city at all. I love the restaurant scene and architecture here, and the colourful houses.’
I wonder if Zouaghi ever expected his little slice of the internet to take off the way that it has done?
‘Never!’ he tells me. ‘It’s still very mysterious to me and I don’t have a special recipe or anything like that. When I passed 10,000 followers on Instagram, that was the first big step for me as I started to receive collaboration offers.
‘I’m very grateful for the people who followed me when I had 2,000 followers and still follow me now. I know who they are, I know their names and their support means an awful lot to me,’ he states passionately.
‘I try to thank everybody as much as I possibly can everyday.’