9 of the most influential Charlotte women on Instagram, and what inspires them

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Do you check Instagram before leaving your bed in the morning? (If you said no, you’re lying).

As someone who spends her career — and her free time — scrolling through social accounts, I’ve found the best way to spark positivity and ignite my sense of adventure is to follow those accounts who seek to inspire through self-love tips, local destinations and culinary experiences.

In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating some of the most influential women behind popular Queen City Instagram accounts. Here are a few of our favorites:

Alexis Davila

@alexisdavilaa – 41.6K followers

via Alexis Davila’s Instagram

Follow her for: Self-care, hair inspiration, self-confidence

How she spends her day:
“I am a leasing consultant at The Village at Commonwealth, and I am also a NBA dancer for the Charlotte Hornets. I am so thankful for both of these jobs that I have. I am able to meet so many amazing people in Charlotte. Being a NBA dancer for the Charlotte Hornets is a dream come true. I am grateful to be a role model to young girls, and that I have had the opportunity to volunteer in the community through being a NBA dancer.”

Where she gets her inspiration:
“I get inspiration for my posts through various outlets. Growing up I was very insecure. One of my insecurities was my curly hair. It took me a while to gain confidence within myself about my body, and my hair. Therefore, I try to share my journey with others so hopefully one day they can gain confidence within themselves as well. I also gain a tremendous amount of inspiration from the young girls who tell me I have helped them learn (to) love their hair. That means the world to me. I never would’ve thought sharing hair tips and sharing my journey would inspire others.”

Can’t-miss post:

via Alexis Davila’s Instagram

Davila shares how she took her hair insecurity and learned to embrace what has since become her most defining – and beautiful – feature. Head over to her YouTube channel to see her hair routine and find confidence in the features that define you.

Vanessa Krombeen

@thecheekybeen – 82.4K followers

via Vanessa’s Krombeen’s Instagram

Follow her for: outfit inspiration, travel style

How she spends her day:
“I’m a lifestyle blogger focusing on fitness, fashion and travel. My goal with The Cheeky Been is to help women around the world look and feel their best through healthy eating, tips on working out, fashion inspiration, and providing feedback on my travels. Each woman deserves to feel great about themselves every day, and I hope by posting daily that I can provide the resources for them to achieve that.”

Where she gets her inspiration:
“A lot of my inspiration comes from my travels! I love thinking about iconic figures in fashion from the past and present around the world and fusing my own vision with that to create the “perfect” ensemble. Location plays a big part in how I want my outfit to look and I strongly believe in bringing a worldly outlook to each trend.”

Can’t-miss post:

My biggest goal in 2017 was to be the fittest version of me. I cut added sugar out of my diet, I trained 6 days a week (consistently), I lost over 9 lbs, and I spent the last two months of the year training harder than I’ve ever trained with @bodybyro. Was it easy? No. The mental game I played with myself was one of the most challenging games I’ve ever played. But when you want something bad enough, the focus and dedication it takes to make that happen becomes part of your DAILY routine. Results don’t happen over night, it took me an entire year of consistent behavior to build the level of fitness I desired and it will take me another year to maintain that. I love the mental clarity it gives me, I love the challenge, I love how it acts as a stress reliever, and I love how it humbles me. You have the power to thrive, and to be the best version of you – make 2018 YOUR YEAR. PT: @bodybyro Video: @hitmakerz Outfit: @gym_groupie

A post shared by Vanessa Krom{been} (@thecheekybeen) on

As a style influencer, Krombeen must always look camera-ready. Here, she shares her fitness journey and shines light on the challenges she faced to reach her 2017 fitness goal. She believes if you feel great, you look great. Find more style inspiration and travel guides on her website.

Melissa Cantey

@melissachanel – 23.4K followers

via Melissa Cantey’s Instagram

Follow her for: beauty and style inspiration

How she spends her day:
“I am the Communications Manager for Cantu Beauty, an award-winning hair care brand for textured hair by day and lifestyle blogger/content creator by night.”

Where she gets her inspiration:
“My readers, family and friends are my biggest inspiration. They push me when I’m tired and tell me when I have awesome ideas. I enjoy having brainstorm sessions where I go through a few of my favorite magazines like Glamour, People Style Watch, or InStyle for inspiration. Oh, and of course Pinterest is awesome for inspo. I have tons of boards where I pin outfits, blogging tips, travel ideas, photography, which all inspire me to keep my content exciting and fresh.”

Can’t-miss post:

via Melissa Cantey’s Instagram

Cantey’s style and “love yourself” mentality earned her a loyal following on Instagram. We love her fashion tips and take on date night fashion: ditch the heels for a pair of kicks! Check out her blog for beauty and fashion tips, or follow her on Pinterest for outfit inspiration.

Rachel Brown

@queencitychic – 36.1K followers

via Rachel Brown’s Instagram

Follow her for: Charlotte lifestyle and local fashion 

How she spends her day:
“I am an online influencer and lifestyle blogger. My job is to work with brands, try their products, restaurants, etc. and share with my following through creative content. I also do social media consulting and managing, since photography and writing are a passion of mine. I went to school for PR and love working on anything to do with online media. My daily tasks always vary, which keep my job interesting and it is pretty much non-stop.”

Where she gets her inspiration:
“A lot of my inspiration for my posts comes from within. I truly try to capture the chic, beautiful parts of my hometown from my personal point of view to share daily. I want to bring to light how magical this place can be, even if you’ve never moved and lived here for 26 years like me. I also get inspiration by following the biggest food bloggers in New York City and fashion bloggers all over the world to keep up with current trends.”

Can’t-miss post:

via Rachel Brown’s Instagram

A Charlotte native, Brown knows the best spots to relax on the weekend and where to find tasty bites around town. Bonus: she is a big proponent of the #shoplocal movement – find her sporting looks from boutiques around the Queen City (pictured above: Pass Clothing Boutique).

Jess Bentley

@sliceofjess – 11.4K followers

via Jess Bentley’s Instagram

Follow her for: vibrant foodie photos and irresistible recipes

How she spends her day:
“I work in marketing at Foodesign Associates and manage social media accounts (one client example is @turnhousegrille) for local restaurants. I also work as a freelance culinary/travel writer and photographer for several online and print publications and run my own website. Whew… I guess I wear a lot of hats.” (Editor’s note: She also writes for C5!)

Where she gets her inspiration:
“I’m a passionate self-taught chef and food/booze photographer… so those things are definitely reflected in my social media posts. My main culinary goal is to teach others how to cook creative meals and feel more comfortable in their own kitchen – it can be a family dinner or fun cocktail (or both!). I’ve always been heavily involved in the restaurant scene, so I also like to share where (and what) I eat around town. I was just listed in Zagat’s top 100 Food Instagrammers in the U.S. and feel very fortunate to have such great opportunities to explore (and share) Charlotte’s booming culinary scene.”

Can’t-miss post:

via Jess Bentley’s Instagram

Bentley’s eye-catching photos and colorful recipes earned her a feature in Chilled Magazine (see page 34) and the January issue of Luxury Lifestyle Magazine. She’s also known as an expert Charlotte foodie, sharing the best places for avocado toast and must-visit spots for tacos. For anyone whose resolution involved starting a blog, this post serves as the perfect inspiration to claim a corner of the internet and share your passion.

Lauren McAbee

@essentialthrive – 8.6K followers

via Lauren McAbee’s Instagram

Follow her for: inspirational yoga poses, advice to be your best self

How she spends her day:
I’m lucky to do everything I love. I teach CHAKTI Yoga, a practice that is my heart and soul — a therapeutic and energetic empowered flow of yoga. It’s loud beats, wild and free. Inspired to fuel your chakras and fuse your mind and body into a powerful relationship of self-love. From Kundalini foundations to HIIT, we get down with conscious and free movement. I am also a holistic life advisor AKA I work with people one on one and group settings to teach health, wellness, love and gratitude. It is my heart’s desire for us to get back to ​​thriving​ through natural living gifts from the earth –  doterra essential oils/optimal supplements, movement and a holistic life.​”

Where she gets her inspiration:
They come from my heart ….sounds cliche but true.  I lead with my heart then process and post. Many times in the middle of conversation with clients or at the end of yoga classes, I am inspired to share what we talk about. During meditation and practice I download from source. The words are never the same but message is…high vibrations, love, gratitude.”

Can’t-miss post:

via Lauren McAbee’s Instagram

No matter your state of mind, McAbee’s Instagram advice is the ideal read to start your day. Here, she shares her thoughts on rejection: take setbacks and let them mold you into who you become. Much of her advice (and her physique) comes from her practice – join her for Chatki Yoga at Move Studio. Upcoming classes are viewable on her website.

Jessica Hodnett

@thesweetseoul – 6.5K followers

via Jessica Hodnett’s Instagram

Follow her for: Charlotte lifestyle and fashion

How she spends her day:
“I recently started my own media company, Sweet Seoul Media, where I offer consulting, hosting events for my clients and social media services. Building brands and helping in increasing awareness with promoting businesses is my passion. Also, I am a food and fashion influencer/blogger so I work with local and national brands doing campaigns and social media posts and restaurant reviews. I truly love my job and I love building partnerships with my clients.”

Where she gets her inspiration:
“A lot of my inspiration comes from my goal to put out the best food that Charlotte has to offer! But sometimes inspiration comes from what is trending or what type of mood I’m in [to be honest]. So, for instance, if it’s gloomy/rainy/cold one day, I will probably post something comforting because that’s how I feel at that moment and that’s typically what I’m craving…. #ramen #givemeALLthenoods! But also, I plan a lot of my posts in advance as I work with brands on different campaigns and have specific days I post to my platform. I do like making my audience aware of new restaurant openings or new dishes that are coming out as well.”

Can’t-miss post:

via Jessica Hodnett’s Instagram

Hodnett’s unique style inspiration has earned her a highly-regarded fashion reputation, giving her the opportunity to work with local brands and designers. Visit her website to keep up with Charlotte style trends and local foodie destinations.

Lorri Lofton

@lorriashly – 3.6K followers

via Lorri Lofton’s Instagram

Follow her for: women’s empowerment, inspirational quotes

How she spends her day:
“I am the Co-Owner of Prosocialites. We are an events, media and marketing company. I am in charge of marketing for Prosocialites along with some other clients. I also spearhead our networking event, Woman Crush Wednesday, where we feature a prominent woman in Charlotte doing great things in the community.”

Where she gets her inspiration:
“I want our content to be relevant and aesthetically pleasing. No matter if it is a grand opening, Taco Tuesday, or one of our own events. I feel that you have three seconds to captivate that viewer to do one of the following: either gain a follower, add a future patron to an upcoming event or get the beloved double tap. The goal for us is all of the above.”

Can’t-miss post:

via Lorri Lofton’s Instagram

Lofton uses her Instagram to encourage women across Charlotte to follow their dreams and strive for self-improvement – values that are evident in her work with Prosocialites. She may just be the inspiration you need to take that leap to pursue your passion.

Shannon McCauley

@uptowngirlclt – 9K followers

via Shannon McCauley’s Instagram

Follow her for: Charlotte lifestyle and local destinations

How she spends her day:
“Since moving to Charlotte in 2010, I have been employed at a local animal hospital full-time. You’ll often find me welcoming clients at the front desk, assisting the doctors and treatment staff with appointments, or helping with inventory.”

Where she gets her inspiration:
“I created ‘UptownGirlCLT’ as a creative outlet for me that also helped me explore Charlotte and make it home. I draw inspiration from the energy and diversity of the city, and all the people I’ve met along the way who make this community so great.”

Can’t-miss post:

via Shannon McCauley’s Instagram

The more Charlotte grows, the more there is to see. Shannon encourages her followers to venture outside their comfort zones and explore the city, whether it’s sampling a new dish or trying a local fitness class (featured above: NoDa Yoga). Follow her to see the most up-to-date openings and adventures, or read about her experiences on her website.

What local women inspire you?

Feature photo: uptowngirlclt

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