Snug inside Flat White, a coffee shop positioned on a bustling market street in Soho, I caught up with the ray of sunshine that is Elle Adams, or, as her trusty social media clan know her best, The Elle Next Door. Clutching hot coffees, we delved into her words of wisdom for those wanting to make themselves known on social media, as she traversed topics including trolling, influences and how it all began.
Across her various platforms – YouTube, Instagram and TikTok – Elle, who has an Instagram following of 108,000 and millions of video views, is a pop of colour, with a fantastic aesthetic flowing throughout.
How did you choose the name, Elle Next Door?
Elle: I remember being 19 and sat in my living room with my family and I thought ‘right, I want something like girl next door, something chilled. Maybe it’ll rhyme with Elle?’ I think my dad suggested Gossip Elle because I loved Gossip Girl; but I wasn’t a fan. I can’t remember what happened really, but I thought I was quite girl next door-y type, and then it just sort of stuck.
How did you build your following?
It took me around a year to build my following and I’ve never really had overnight growth like some people do. It was always so gradual for me. Zoella shouted me out and in 24 hours I had 12,000 followers. That was the only time I had a big boost. Instagram was a different time then. It was a lot easier to build a following than it is now.
How did you decide on your bright and popping aesthetic?
It looks like a rainbow has thrown up everywhere! Colour wasn’t popular when I started and I’m always in colour. I posted one picture which was literally a rainbow and people just liked it. I think that at the time it was cool to be neutral. The more I did in colour; the more people became engaged. I really found my passion creating that type of content. It became one of my things: London, flowers and colours. Once I’d discovered my niche, I experienced my biggest growth in followers. A lot of people say they come to my page because it makes them happy, how nice is that?
Do you ever get negative comments? How do you deal with them?
I think that everyone, at some point, if you’ve done it for long enough, will get negative comments. I really don’t get that many. When I get comments they’ll be things like ‘this looks photoshopped.’ Sometimes it does affect me; if it’s really savage, I find it quite funny but if it’s personal it can make you think ‘oh, did I offend you?’. On the whole, I’m really lucky and I have a lot of friends with much bigger followings than me that get a lot of negativity.
Do you post every day?
Oh, no. Maybe around three or four times a week, because I feel like I’m focusing on so many other things now that I wouldn’t be able to go out and create a picture a day. I deleted my app, which I do quite often, and when I went back on, I had all of these DM’s and I felt really bad.
I found that, without even knowing I was doing it, I’d open my phone and go straight to Instagram, so I just had to delete it. Even if you don’t think that things are affecting you, in the background, without you really realising it, you do compare yourself to others. Sometimes I need to just delete the app and focus on what I’m doing.
Your outfit choices are amazing – what’s the inspiration behind them?
I tend to, yes, it’s sad that I’m aware of this, picture where I’m going to shoot and then match the outfit to it. I get it wrong all the time. I think the funniest thing about Instagram is that people will scroll back and like pictures from three years ago and I’m like ‘oh god’! I went through a stage of trying to make everything colourful, all the time. Sometimes I’d just pick out really obscure things for the sake of being colourful and it was an interesting time, let’s just say that.
Who are your biggest inspirations on Instagram?
There’s a girl who has a massive following called Marta Sierra and she travels a lot and is so much fun. In every picture she looks like she’s having the time of her life and I see a picture and it makes me feel happy. So, people like her! From a fashion point of view there’s so many people – my whole phone is full of thousands of screenshots.
Which are the best brands that you’ve worked with?
Tourism boards are always the best ones for me. For them to trust you to go to a different country and show it in its best light is amazing, really. I used to work with Primark all the time and River Island as well, they were one of my favourite brands growing up. I’ve worked with Starbucks as well, and Spotify. My all-time favourite job was working with Gray’s Anatomy, promoting the new series. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love the show, I’ve watched the whole thing through four times.
What are your plans for the future?
I’d like to start doing more presenting this year. I went to a YouTube conference recently and hosted a chat with Joe Sugg. Suddenly the room was filled with 600 people! That was an amazing platform because MTV and Facebook were in the room. It went down really well apparently, so I’d love to do some more of that kind of thing.
You can discover the beauty of Elle’s feed at @ellenextdoor