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What was it like growing up in North Pole, AK?
You have to be creative when it comes to having fun. There’s one stoplight. You become a lot closer to your family. Eventually, I left when I was 21 to pursue medical school in San Antonio, TX.
That sounds busy. When did you start to get into social media?
While in school I started doing YouTube and Instagram for fun. I started getting inquiries from companies, and, at first, I was like, “Is this fake?” I pushed it aside for a little but eventually ended up signing with a few companies and began building my own business [Buff Bunny]. I quit school to pursue that, which was scary at first, but I’m glad I did it.
Was there one moment that pushed you over the edge?
There was one time when I shadowed a brain surgery, and after, I talked to the neurosurgeons. They told me that sometimes you go into a surgery thinking it’s going to be three hours long, and you can come out the other side 33 hours later, and that you miss a lot of moments—your kid’s birthday, a recital, maybe graduation. It’s a selfless job. That was a wake-up call for me, because that is a big decision.
How did your family react to you dropping out of school?
Most of them were supportive. I remember that one of my sisters said to me, “You’ll never make as much money as a doctor, doing what you’re doing. You’re giving all of this up to do [YouTube].” I didn’t really care about money. I’d wake up every day, and I couldn’t wait to film and edit it together.
What do you think has helped grow your YouTube following to more than 800,000 subscribers?
When I first started YouTube, there weren’t a lot of influencers catered toward fitness. I wanted to show women that they can work out and have muscle and be beautiful and strong and that it’s not masculine.
In the beginning, I did a lot more educational videos, but over the past two or three years, I’ve shown more of my personal life. I show more of a balance, like fitting Great American Cookies into my day of eating. Also, showing people a behind-the-scenes look into my clothing business, Buff Bunny Collections, has sparked people’s interest. I thought that was boring, but I’ve had a lot of women reach out and ask for more.
How much time do you spend filming in a week?
Usually, I do one to two videos per week. I’ll do a full day of filming, getting a bit of everything—me waking up, playing with my dog, going to Starbucks. I don’t force or script anything. That translates to about two to four hours of footage, but if you add up the time it takes to set up the camera, getting different angles, and outtakes, it ends up being a lot.
You also recently moved in with your boyfriend, Christian Guzman, who is also a popular influencer [930,000 YouTube subscribers]. Does that ever cause any contention?
I was always the one filming in the past, so to have someone else put a camera in my face every day or every other day took some time to get used to. You have to be confident in yourself. There are times when Christian will point a camera at me, and I won’t be wearing makeup or my hair is a mess. I don’t care. There’s definitely an understanding, too, if we’re going through something, to not point the camera at each other.
You both air out some touchy topics on YouTube. What does that look like beforehand?
We definitely talk everything out, like, “Hey, I was gonna talk about this.” Or “I think I want to share this on my channel.” Both of us are very open and understanding, and we like keeping up with our followers, too, being open and understanding with them as well.
Do you think airing so much personal information to almost a million people is healthy?
I think if you communicate well with your partner first and then choose to put it on the internet, you’re doing OK. It can also be very relatable to other people.
YouTube occasionally changes its algorithms, which can disrupt an influencer’s channel. Do you ever lose sleep over that?
One time, I think two years ago, I got hit and my views were down about 30%, maybe even more. It can be frustrating, because being a YouTuber, you don’t have a boss, someone you can call and say, “Hey, can you fix this?” I have a loyal following, though, so they find their way back. I had a lot of people saying, “I was unsubscribed from your channel.” Usually after a while my following comes back. I have a great, amazing, loyal community of women.
Somers competed in her first NPC bikini show back in 2014, earning top five, and then went on to win the NPC Alaska Crystal Cup in 2015. Though she plans on competing again, she has shifted her focus to living a more balanced lifestyle.
“I’m really focused on strength training, overall health, and just having an everyday physique,” she says. At 107 pounds, Somers can squat up to 200—almost twice her body weight—and bang out sets of pullups. She usually trains her upper body and lower body twice a week each but isn’t afraid to change it up.
Below, Somers lays out the back workout that she’s currently following.
|Heidi Somers’ Back-Focused Workout|
|Seated Good Morning||3||12|
|* Somers usually begins with 15 minutes of high-intensity interval training.|
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