GiGi Ashworth is a food and wellness influencer who started her journey in the industry when she was diagnosed with autoimmune diseases, food allergies, and food intolerances. This sparked a passion in her to learn more about how food affects the body, and she began experimenting with different foods to figure out which ones made her feel her best. She found that salmon was at the top of that list, and she now eats 8-10 pounds of it a week.
DM: Tell us a bit about your background in the food & wellness industry.
I popped out of the womb, ready to “influence” those who care to listen to me, to eat higher quality foods, and adopt a glass half full perspective on life… Because ever since I can remember, I’ve been corralling the attention of others so as to share my point of view! My insane passion for living healthfully absolutely comes from my mother and father. Sure, my father, a man who adores all things cooking and food, especially the sinfully rich and delicious dishes served in abundance in France, isn’t exactly a health conscious person, but he instilled a love of food in me that just doesn’t dissipate. My mother’s focus on food is all about how it affects the body and from a young age (I swear I heard her talking about how food influences how you feel while in vitro) I became enamored by how food affects the body thus my focus in life now is all about creating deliciously rich dishes (with a huge focus on salmon, because it’s my favorite food) that also provide innumerable health benefits. My fixation on this passion only intensified when I was diagnosed with autoimmune diseases, food allergies and food intolerances because I then used myself as a “guinea pig,” so to speak, to figure out which foods make me feel best (and salmon is at the top of the list).
DM: What are some notable career highlights?
I’ve had the pleasure of rubbing elbows with some cooking bigwigs in “my day” and experience some incredible adventures… But I truly believe the HIGHLIGHTS in my career come every day, when I get messages from those who follow along on my salmon-obsessed culinary journey, telling me that I’ve inspired them in one way or another. These messages/comments are absolutely priceless to me and continue to fuel my fire.
DM: Do you think nutrition & wellness are more important today than ever? Why?
No. I believe nutrition and wellness have ALWAYS been important but these days, it’s far easier to communicate about nutrition and wellness and that’s why we hear far more about these topics. Another reason why we may be hearing more and more about nutrition and wellness is because of technological advances and cohort studies that have resulted in, say, for example, showing us that sugar does not do anything nutritionally beneficial for one’s body.
DM: What message would you to share others about food & nutrition?
Eat more salmon. And if you’re a plant-based eater, get the healthy fats found in salmon from hemp/flax/chia/algae. These healthy omega-3 fatty acids have innumerable health benefits that I can’t sing my praises to loud enough!
DM: How do you feel you’re a disrupter in the food industry? What do you think makes you stand out as an influencer?
I eat 8-10 pounds of salmon a week. Not too many people eat this way and I’m not actively TRYING to achieve this “goal,” I just do it because I love and crave salmon THAT MUCH. Because of my overwhelming obsession with salmon, and my showcasing this fact with those who follow me, I’ve been able to encourage more people than I can count to incorporate more salmon into their lives. People who have hated salmon for years and years on end, message me regaling over how, with my advice and specific cooking techniques, they now incorporate the fish into their diets numerous times in a week!
DM: How much time a week do you dedicate to your IG page? Any advice you for other smaller influencers to help their page stand out?
I’m on Instagram hours upon hours every week! Because Instagram is my full-time job, I have to be, but even if it weren’t, I would be on this social media platform throughout the day because I have made so many valuable friendships and I just love to check in with my peers! On top of that, I just love creating content and my open-book personality encourages me to share almost every aspect of my life… Emphasis on the word “almost”.
My advice to smaller influencers out there would be to ask yourself WHY you’re on social media. If it’s to “make a buck” then prepare to fail because I personally believe nothing is more unattractive than noticing someone “selling out”. Instead of trying to make a buck, why not focus on trying to make an impact? Utilize your strengths (whether it be cooking, make up, jewelry, fashion, wood working, etc) and show them off! The more authentic you are to YOU, the more TRUST you will build, thus more and more people will want to follow you.
DM: What are some of your favorite items to cook & why?
Salmon. Duh. Salmon is my all time favorite food to cook because to me, it’s absolutely FOOLPROOF, resulting in delicious perfection every time, and it’s insanely versatile! Salmon baked with clam sauce, salmon puttanesca, salmon ceviche, salmon tacos… The possibilities are endless!
DM: Are you known for anything in particular?
At this point you’ve probably gathered that I’m known for my SERIOUS long-term relationship with salmon. We have been “going at it” since I was 15 years old, and we are still stronger than ever! That being said, I’m also known for “#400for28”… This hashtag represents my favorite salmon cooking technique. My tried and true way to perfect (Atlantic) salmon every time, put it in the air fryer at 400 degrees for 28 minutes. Some people see 28 minutes and their eyes pop out of their head because they think 28 minutes is entirely too long but trust me. Just trust me.
DM: As an influencer, what type of companies do you like to work with? Have any stood out that you love?
I like to work with companies that have a personality, that have FACES behind their brands, this typically equates to smaller brands (or start-ups). I love starting from the bottom with companies and helping them build and grow their brands but most importantly, I love working with brands I truly believe in. I pride myself in not selling out, and promise I never will. Instead I work with companies that align with my interests and give me creative control to “do my thing”. I’m a personality not often considered “the safe choice” but my personality seems to be appreciated by those who follow me (blunt, crass, sarcastic, and vivacious but all in a light-hearted and playful way) thus if a brand tries to dictate how I should appear in the content they want, my audience will know I’m not being 100% authentic. If a brand ever tries to control my demeanor, I quickly and amicably sever ties.
DM: What were the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career and how did you overcome them?
As I mentioned above, “I’m not the safe choice,” thus I’m not always inundated with sponsorships every month, I.E. my life has no routine or structure and it varies every single day. I personally LOVE living a structure-less life, however there are a few things that I like to keep routine and every so often I think about how it would be nice to have a stable income every month. That being said, I absolutely WOULD NOT change what I do for a living, as I truly love each and every day! I have been doing what I do (professionally eating salmon?) on social media since 2011, thus at this point I know how to handle a month that is lacking in sponsorships.
DM: If you could go back to your past self & give some advice, what would it be and why?
“Take videography and video editing more seriously BECAUSE it WILL BE your full-time job in the future.” I went to journalism school where I learned all about video production and video editing. However, as technology advances, one must keep up with said progression and I definitely didn’t take these technological advances seriously back in the day. I was filming content in“Photo Booth” on my Mac Book Pro and editing in an outdated version of Final Cut Pro that would scream at me to update it every time I opened the program (but I couldn’t because my computer wouldn’t allow me to). The push to take this world more seriously came when I met my now husband in 2014. He’s a commercial director and knows a thing or two about video production (far more than me) and cringed at my video set up when he came over to my apartment (film set) for the first time. While I’m definitely hard headed, his advice made its way through my thick skull and I now embrace technology and I’m eager to sign up for video editing classes to further improve on my skill.
DM: Where do you see yourself in a few years? What are some of your dreams and aspirations?
I’d like to be a few more cookbooks deep, honestly. I am the author of a book called She Does Keto, and I am currently shopping my second cookbook around to publishers. My goal is to have this second book published as soon as humanly possible, and then start on my third! I just have so many ideas and so many recipe cocotions up my sleeves… I want to share them with the masses!
DM: What wisdom would you want to share with others? What lessons can people learn from you?
IDGAF. If you don’t know what that acronym means, go look it up. IDGAF is my mentality when it comes to at least 95% of my life. I confidently do my thing, and don’t care what other people think. All too often people do things because they’re trying to seek the approval of others but the only person you should try and get approval from is yourself.