Instagram personality Amber Wagner is one of the eight people we'll be watching in 2019. Click here to see our full list, and buy a print copy of The Now Issue here.
Amber Wagner has the most iconic nails on the internet. They are brightly painted, occasionally rhinestoned, and always incredibly, precariously long. Sometimes, the 27-year-old will film videos where the nails are all you see, waving and pointing as her voice off-camera drops line after line of hard-earned life wisdom to her 1.6 million Instagram followers. “If they talkin shit, you got something they don’t equip!” goes one recent video. As @jstlbby, Wagner doles out positive mini-pep talks that go beyond your parents’ Hallmark inspirational quote books. Relatable, honest, and hilarious, Wagner has built a career from believing in every part of herself, and you too.
AMBER WAGNER: This is my third Instagram. My first Instagram was @justlivinbby and after that one it was @amberlivin. I posted videos [and] from those two I made it on Keke Palmer’s TV show. But I was not positive, I was more ratchet and ghetto and negative. I kept getting deleted.
I was going through a dark time, but I had got back in church and I started being more positive. I felt my life shift and once that happened to me, I was like, OK, let me tell other people about this. And that’s what made me start being positive. [Now,] even if I’m at the club until three or four in the morning, I still get up and go to church.
I think now, people want to be more funny than motivational. Which is cool, I don’t see anything wrong with that. But some of these people in the young generation, they need to be guided. I try to switch it up because I don’t want them to get too bored with all the motivation. Because I used to be funny as heck. I just flow off the top of the dome most of the time. I’m speaking from my heart and I’m a regular freaking person out here so I put myself in other people’s shoes and be like, ‘You know what, we can get through this! We can pick ourselves up!’
I pray a lot. When I wake up in the morning, throughout the day, I just pray by myself. That keeps me going. Sometimes I have these daily quotes that I will read or the Bible app will send me a verse every day at the same time, which will keep me going, just keep my spirits up. I get my nails done every week, it’s mandatory. I love getting my nails done. I try not to ever break one. If I do I can’t leave the house.
I’m supposed to be starting a podcast soon, that’s in the works to get my word out more. It’ll just be a 30-minute segment. I’ll speak on current issues, mix a little comedy in there, have couple of special guests every now and again. Giving out daily motivation of the day, word of the day. I was also thinking about throwing an event. I just have to get all my finances, everything together. I want to throw some positive, motivational events and little mixers where people can talk about what they’ve been through and know that they’re not alone.