When I first started my instagram account back in June, I told nobody. I, like every single person in the world had this major fear of judgment. I was so nervous about what people would say about me starting a wellness instagram account that I couldn’t even build up the courage to tell any friends. That’s like, so sad. I was putting more energy into what people might say about me vs into the actual instagram account. I won’t be too hard on myself, that fear of judgment is a real thing that holds so many of us back in our everyday lives and it takes a lot to show your true authentic self to people, I’ve definitely made progress but I still have a lot I’m holding in due to this obnoxious fear. But I’ll never forget starting my account and connecting with all these incredible people – I had NO idea that there were so many people out there that had the exact same interests as me. (There is only 7 Billion people in the world lol) I had a couple friends from home that were into the health and wellness space, but other than that I sort of felt like the odd one out burning incense while meditating in the mornings. I wonder why.
Morrea was one of the first people I started following, so the fact she’s over here on the blog opening up about her journey and how she began blows my mind. The universe is a fucking incredible place, boy did we ever come full circle. I wanted to bring Morrea on Still in Progress because I have forever admired her vulnerability, openness and genuine soul. It’s so obvious that she genuinely cares for other peoples happiness, that she wants the best for her followers and shows every single part of her journey – the good, the bad, and the bloated (I had to). She’s shown me the importance of owning your story, every single part of it. She’s shown the real side to having a following on social media – the insane messages she’s gotten from followers trying to tear her down, but also the amazing messages she’s gotten from changing peoples lives. Morrea is a real life example of the power that owning and telling your story holds. I am so excited to share more of her story on this platform. Here we go & ENJOY.
Hi Still in Progress readers! My name is Morrea Ollila. I am 20 years old, born and raised in Malibu California. I actually went to the University of San Francisco for my first year of undergrad- ironically enough, I was studying “entrepreneurship and innovation”, this was in 2018/19. Come April of last year, I had been chronically sick for months on end, newly dealing with GI issues, and for the first time in my life I experienced severe panic attacks. It was at that moment that I ended up essentially withdrawing from school and taking a leave of absence to take care of my mental health.
The past year of my life has been dedicated to sort-of picking up the pieces of my life, uncovering my true passions, and focusing on my mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Currently, I work with an amazing company, founded in my hometown: SunLife Organics. I have been recently promoted to manage their social media, which has been so fun for me. Alongside that, I run my own health and wellness blog, and I am studying at Institute of Integrative nutrition to become a holistic health coach.
What point in life were you in that inspired you to create @madebymorrea ?
I created @madebymorrea after I hit literally rock bottom in my life. I had just moved home from college, and I felt lost. During this time, I had realized how much food is medicine. In my efforts to heal myself from my Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), as well as my anxiety and overall wellbeing, I really started to see a big shift in my life. I was pretty much doing nothing else besides working out, meditating, and eating good food (what a life?!)
It’s funny because I initially just made my account as a place of accountability for myself. I started my account when the whole Food Combining trend was on the rise, and I actually befriended the lovely Kenzie Burke herself. I saw incredible results from Food Combining in just 3 days, and I was one of the first people to complete Kenzie’s 21 day reset. Kenzie shared my story on her page, and this is actually how many people discovered me!
I have always been so passionate about health and fitness. Creating a whole account dedicated to this was actually a dream of mine for many years. I was always fearful to pursue this due to criticism from people I know in real life. I finally decided to say “f*** that” and ~do the damn thing~. After going through a lot of life changing events in regards to my physical & mental health, I really wanted to create a space for other girls to come to to feel less alone. Because I felt SO alone when dealing with a chronic GI condition, anxiety, depression, etc. And I must say, taking this leap was one of the best decisions of my life. Hands down.
When did you realize that being in the health and wellness space was something you wanted to make a career out of?
Honestly, in creating madebymorrea, I never thought twice about the possibility of actually turning this into a brand, or even an income for that matter. I remember after receiving my first paycheck from an instagram post I kind of thought to myself… “huh, this might actually work”
I think as my page grew and started to evolve on instagram, the more intrigued and passionate I became about being in this whole wellness space. I truly couldn’t think of my life any other way now, I would love to eventually turn MBM into a sustainable business that I can support myself from to continue sharing my message.
If the person reading this feels like they want to get into the health and wellness space, but has no clue where to begin, where would you tell them to start?
If health and wellness is something you are truly passionate about, then just START! I actually get this question quite often in my DM’s… let me just say, I was TERRIFIED to make this page. I was scared of judgement from people I know IRL. Turns out, everyone has been so supportive. Even people I don’t know very well have come up to me to congratulate me on what I am doing online.
If I had let this fear hold me back, I never would be in the position I am in today. Get out there, go DO IT! You never know where it might take you.
I also want to touch on this which I think is really important: If you’re looking into getting into the wellness space on social media (or any other niche of social media really) PLEASE do not go in with the impression that you will make money. This is another question I get — how to make money off social media. My answer to this is always something along the lines of… don’t do this for the money. If you’re genuine and honest with your audience, then the money will come… somewhere down the line. Honestly, people can sense when you’re in it for the money. Make sure you’re genuine and honest… always!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Not to be cliche or cheesy, but probably that everything happens for a reason, trust the process, and everything is a lesson to be learned, ultimately leading you on the right path.
What has been your biggest form of inspiration throughout your wellness journey?
First and foremost, I would like to say my past self. As I have mentioned, I have dealt with a great deal of “ailments” in my past. Namely… anxiety, depression, eating disorders, GI issues…. The list goes on.
After leaving college, I made a vow to myself that I never wanted to feel the way I did going through all of this. It’s actually why I got the tattoo, “always forward” on my arm. I strive to be better each and every day because I remember how crappy it felt to be sick, depressed, and anxiety-ridden.
But, aside from myself, people that inspire me daily are…
Bethany Ugarte (@lilsipper), Ed Mylett, Dr. Mark Hyman, Lauryn Evarts (@theskinnyconfidential), Melissa Wood, Kenzie Burke… honestly this list could go on forever!
How do you continue to challenge yourself in regards to personal growth?
I think just making sure that I am always setting new goals for myself. I have found that when things get stagnant and repetitive, then I know it is time to mix up my lifestyle. Whether this be with my diet, lifestyle, healthy habits… I think theres always room for improvement and opportunities to level tf up.
What were the fears you had to face to get you and your brand to where it is now? How did you overcome them?
Oh god, I had a lot. Self-doubt (failure, not being good enough, not knowing enough etc…) and honestly a little bit of insecurity.
The first thing that terrified me in regard to making this account was the fear of being judged by people I know in real life. Turns out, everyone has been so supportive of my endeavors; whether they know me well or not, it doesn’t matter. This is something that easily passed for me. I learned how to just OWN IT instead of trying to belittle myself and meh passions.
Another big one was self doubt. After I gained a substantial amount of followers in the beginning (when this was supposed to be an accountability account for me… mind you) I was a little terrified. Things that often crept inside my head was… “am I good enough?”, “am I qualified enough?”, “Can I really do this?” And so on, so forth… you get the gist. I was scared. And I still get scared sometimes.
Having a good amount of people watching everything I say is really damn scary… and I have gotten called out on the bs so many times. At this point, I think I have developed thicker skin but this is something that used to get to me a lot. I used to get a lot of hate comments on youtube which absolutely tore me down.
The biggest thing that has helped me overcome these fear and insecurities is just simply reminding myself that I am on here to share my story. I do not need to know it all, I just need to simply share from experience. And guess what? That is how I relate to and reach the most people in my message.
Knowing what you know now. What’s one piece of advice you would give yourself exactly 1 year ago?
I would tell myself that everything is going to work out, and that you are not alone.
A year ago I was depressed, and feeling majorly defeated by my intense (& painful) bloating due to my SIBO. I felt so alone, and I thought that nothing would ever get better. Honestly I wish I could just give myself a big hug a year ago.
Morrea a year ago was los insecure, depressed, and fearful of the future. I wish I could turn back and just tell myself that everything will be OKAY!! Things will work out just the way they’re supposed to.
When the motivation starts wearing off. What keeps you disciplined and focused?
Don’t get it twisted, I sure have my days! This past month with mercury in retrograde has really been testing my motivation and discipline… like A LOT.
Honestly one of the biggest things that helps get my motivation back is just doing the opposite of what you would think to do. Do nothing. Relax. Unplug.
This has been something that has been really hard for me to come to terms with… the action of literally just doing nothing. I have biiiiig Capricorn energy: meaning… relaxing is simply not in my blood. I am all about hard work and dedication.
Learning how to actually relax and unplug has been game changer for me. In fact, I am on a little social media hiatus as I type this. Making sure I am avoiding burnout is so crucial for me in maintaining motivation, discipline, and focus.
Do you have a morning routine? If you do. Spill the deets.
Yes!! I live by my morning routine. Ill break it down for you into steps 😉
- Wake up – usually between 6 and 7. I really like to get an early start on the day.
- Full disclosure, I usually do sit on my phone for 20 minutes before rolling out of bed… I’m working on this ok!!
- Once I finally get out of bed, Ill read over to my kitchen to go get a big glass of water and also my daily coffee. I hate to say it, but I am not a lemon water girl. Sorry!
- Some mornings, I will roll out my yoga mat and do a quick yoga flow and stretch to wake up my body and digestive system.
- Next, I’ll read a page out of my daily meditation book (Journey to the Heart) and get out my notebook to do a “brain dump” (essentially Ill just write out everything on my mind and things I need to do for the day)
- Take my vitamins and supplements – Currently I am taking Seed Probiotic and Ritual multivitamins.
- If I am hungry that morning, I will make a quick breakfast- usually a fruit bowl or a protein smoothie. After that, I am ready to start my day! I will either go to work at Sunlife, go to the gym, or set up camp at a coffee shop to get my own work done.
Must – have beauty product?
GLOSSIER SOLUTION!!! This stuff has literally made the biggest difference in my acne scars and overall skin texture. Also, glossier’s milky jelly cleanser is that only cleanser that has ever worked for me. (big glossier girl)
Where can all readers find YOU on social media?
@madebymorrea baby! I pretty much spill my entire life on that instagram- its almost like my own diary.
My blog is madebymorrea.com, and I also have a youtube channel that often gets neglected (oops) it is Morrea Ollila.
I hope you guys are just as obsessed with Morrea as I am now. If you made it this far, thank you SO much for the support, like you rock. Let me know who YOU want to see on the blog next! Your feedback means the damn world to me, so don’t be shy. I’m literally begging you to DM me. XOXO.