Sara Adrian is known online as a luxury influencer, sharing curated content with a three million strong audience. By founding The Royal PR Agency with co-owner Massimiliano B. and through features in Vanity Fair Italia and The Art of Luxury Magazine, Sara has become a leading figure in displaying the finest that Italy and Europe have to offer. A year and a half after choosing to move to Florence, we sit down together at Villa La Massa’s poolside bistro as Sara recounts her start as an influencer, the profession’s creative capacity and the city’s international vibe.
How did you get into influencing in the first place?
I’m coming from this creative place. I was a photographer and I was strong on Facebook with 80,000 fans. Then there was this thing called Instagram and I tried to migrate my fans. At that time, it was zero; everybody had 500 followers. This was the plan: tell everybody I’m on Instagram now and they can find me there. At the beginning, I didn’t know what I was doing, honestly. I was doing the same thing as on Facebook, showing my photography.
Do you even like the word influencer?
No, I don’t like it. It sounds strange, like a disease! We have to come up with a better word. I see myself as an artist, as a creative person, and I just want to express myself and my ideas on social media. I started with photography many years ago in the music business, which is when I met Massimiliano B. We went to Cannes a lot and to music fairs, working with major record labels, and we were working together on projects for the music industry.
Then you found an opportunity in the luxury segment.
At the beginning, we didn’t know if it would work because nobody was doing it. Everybody was doing the same on Instagram: fitness, fashion, and all that. We wanted to think a bit outside of the box and live the best life possible. We’re happy that we had the guts to do it. It turned out well and now we are working with billionaires and global luxury brands like Rolls Royce.
Today we’re here at Villa La Massa, which will be the venue of Excellence, an iconic supercar event this October. Will you be covering it?
Last year they planned it and I was invited. We started our coverage of luxury cars through Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza, Villa La Massa’s sister hotel on Lake Como. We showed all the stylishness of Concorso d’Eleganza on our profile and then somehow everybody was talking about classic cars on Instagram.
That must have been rewarding.
People didn’t even know what an influencer was back then. We had to explain that we are like press and that millions of people will see. In the beginning, it was tough and then people started to get it. An influencer is a powerful tool.
You went from having a decent fan base on Facebook who followed you onto Instagram. How did you get to two million plus?
It wasn’t a boom; it was gradual. I was writing and posting photos of me on vacation in Viareggio, and then our first hotel collaboration came about with a good friend. Massimiliano B. said to him, “We have a lot of followers. We’ll do some photos and you can use them for your website. You can also post them on Facebook, Instagram and what not.” Our friend posted the photos and said, “For the first time in my life, people are writing me messages, like ‘It’s so beautiful, we want to book your hotel.’” That’s the power of social media. This is what we do. We decided to work the niche of showing the best places in Europe. Back then I had pink hair to really stand out, but that worked.
Tell me about your connection with Florence.
It was a lifelong dream because I painted as a teenager. The masters are from Florence, the best painters are in Florence. When I was a child, my grandma asked me what she should send me as a present and I asked for a book of Florence. I still have it and it features everything: all the churches and museums. That was my first encounter. The next time I came to Florence was on a school trip. It was a life-changing moment because Germany is very functional and here I saw in real life what I was feeling inside.
How do you find living in Florence?
It’s a small city, but at the same time, it’s so international. Everybody’s coming here. I’ve made a lot of friends in the British community. I was also baptised in the Duomo in a four-hour ceremony with 7 or 8 people from South America because they were getting married here. It was very emotional.
Do you still paint?
I want to do some courses. I want to learn oil, but watercolours and pencil drawing, all this stuff I like.