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NICHOLAS MERCER: Corner Brook's Instagram maven

Corner Brook's Beckii Curnew has an Instagram account that has close to 200,000 followers. This picture is from one of her first photo shoots. - Photo courtesy Robert Stratton
Corner Brook's Beckii Curnew has an Instagram account that has close to 200,000 followers. This picture is from one of her first photo shoots. - Photo courtesy Robert Stratton - Contributed

Grabbing her green-cased cellphone, Beckii Curnew opens her Instagram account. 

Maneuvering around the app with ease, the 24-year-old Corner Brooker is attempting to pinpoint the exact time her Instagram “blew up,” as the kids say nowadays.

It isn't long before she finds what she is looking for.

The owner of an account since 2013, Curnew's online popularity didn't explode until Oct. 18, 2017.

A quick scan of her account points to a photo of her drinking from a bottle of what looks to be champagne.

It isn't anything provocative or risqué, but it does reach over 1,000 likes and draws a number of comments, including one from current Toronto Raptor Chris Boucher from his time with the Oregon Ducks, his college team.

Before, her feed was populated by photos with friends ready for a night out, photos of working out and leisure activities — nothing that you wouldn't find on any other local Instagram account.

Things are different now.

With her modelling career in full swing — she went to school for hairdressing — the pictures that hit her feed now could not be any different from her earlier posts.

The pics are a bit more revealing than your average Instagram and show Curnew in lingerie, swimsuits and others. Some are poolside and some are on beach somewhere on the west coast of the province. While this is sure to conjure up a particular image, know that they are all presented with a sense of taste.

Putting yourself out there in the way Curnew has can't be an easy decision.

For all of its good, the Internet is also a cesspool of degradation. There are any number of people looking to body sham, career sham or tear down someone over a piece of work. These trolls are quick to point out flaws, belittle a person and shame others into deleting their accounts.

When Curnew first started out, there were days when she didn't know if she was going to continue with the medium she has come to love. Some of her online comments that were anything other than positive. They were getting the better of her.

Imagine doing something you're immensely proud of and having people tear a strip off you just because they can.

Curnew got by with the support of her friends and family, and she began to re-evaluate how she moderated her interactions.

Now, she limits comments on her posts and has no time for people who doubt her. She deletes any direct messages she gets from people she doesn't know.

Curnew is forceful when she says she is completely comfortable doing what she is doing and showing what she is showing.

In the just over two years since the champagne photo appeared, Curnew has amassed a following of some 196,000 followers.

It’s incredible when you think that following has grown off of just 122 posts. It makes it seem like a new post is a big thing.

"I like to think they're all a part of Team Beckii," she said with a laugh.

It is an impressive feat considering she has only turned serious attention to modelling for the last two years.

Sat at a table in the middle of a Corner Brook coffee shop, Curnew presents herself with confidence. Sometimes, she turns to her Instagram account to help make her point, other times she looks you in the eyes and delivers her message.

Scrolling through her Instagram feed, Curnew stops and taps a photo. She starts pointing at the analytics behind this particular post.

She's stops and goes over a breakdown of what she can see with each post.

It is something Curnew recently started keeping track of. She can see how many of her viewers are male, how many are female and where they're from. She can also track what are the peak view times for her posts.

She has many followers in Los Angeles and Toronto. If she's going to hit them at peak time, it doesn't serve her any good to post a new photo at a time when no one is watching.

In this game of Instagram influencers, peak exposure is the goal. If she's promoting a certain product, the powers that be want it seen by as many people as possible.

In the beginning, a big obstacle was telling her parents about the type of modelling she does.

After showing them, she pledged she would never do anything to disrespect them or where she is from.

Her short career has taken her to Toronto where she shot for Skyn Magazine and has some exciting opportunity on the horizon that she is not ready to talk about.

She has a close group of friends that help her navigate a modelling world that can be full of deception and shady characters.

Rarely, does she go to a shoot or a meeting by herself. She takes careful consideration for any work she gets offered and carefully examines the portfolios of photographers who message her.

She knows there are people out there who support her and others who want to tear her down.

She's seen people who had little time for her before this famous streak now trying to befriend her.

Such is the way for people like Curnew who find themselves in the limelight after humble beginnings.

They're fuel for her now, and she's gotten a thicker skin because of it.

Curnew doesn't care what they think. She keeps some of them as followers as a way to tell them she is doing this despite their hate.

She isn't looking for their love or support. Instead, all she asks for is respect for her work and her choices.

"I want to grab the bull by the balls," she said.

She knows that isn't exactly how the saying goes, but the emotion behind it is the same.

Curnew wants to succeed.

And she's going to do everything she can to do so.

Find Beckii Curnew's Instagram here

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