If you have an Instagram account, chances are you follow many of today’s most popular fitness influencers, or fitspos. Even more chances are that you completely idolize them and daydream of being in their shoes even for a second.
Am I right?
I’m not wrong.
I had the
honor nightmare of becoming a Tone & Sculpt Ambassador for one of IG’s famous fitpos: Krissy Cela. She launched her fitness app in January 2019 and within a few weeks she already had tens of thousands of users. At $16/month, $38/quarter, or $100 (or something)/year… I tried doing the math in my head and was blown away. What the fuck does one do with that kind of money?
Let me start off by stating: I left the program due to the build up of events I am going to explain below. I have been asked numerous times about the experience and if I was still an ambassador. I am not going to sugar coat shit and pretend it was a great experience and that I parted ways because it didn’t fit into my schedule or something lame like that. I’m going to be completely honest and I’m confident in sharing this experience as there are at least 8 or so other girls who can vouch for all of the details below. Current ambassadors will be in denial and continue to defend the program and Krissy (for what reason I will never understand – embarrassment, perhaps, that they are still a part of something after being treated so unfairly. Or better yet, they truly do not mind the treatment and are perfectly okay with promoting her with minimal benefits. And again, THAT’S OKAY. It wasn’t okay for me and many other ex-ambassadors and I feel that some exchanges between Krissy/Hollie and I and the others were unfair and proved to us that the sincerity just isn’t there. Could I move on and just unfollow them? Yes, that’s what I did, but I have a blog for a reason and it’s to express my feelings and experiences on certain topics. By receiving the interest I have in this topic, I felt it was a perfect opportunity to deliver for my audience and followers.)
The initial excitement I felt of receiving one of Krissy’s copy & paste (unbeknownst to me at the time) messages that I was chosen to be one of her ambassadors… wore off MUCH more quickly than I anticipated. I honestly thought the high would last forever. Girls all over the world were chosen (maybe about 20/25 of us) and a group chat was created among the ambassadors who became friends and would chat daily about all things fitness, life, love and everything in between. Fast forward a couple of weeks and many of the girls, including myself, were wondering what we were really getting out of this program.
We were promoting a fitness influencer and receiving absolutely nothing in return. She didn’t even follow us on IG to support us back… we were paying full price for the app while convincing our friends, family, and followers to also download and pay for her app…
Sounds like a one way street if you ask me.
I started sharing my feelings with the other girls, who many of which were on the same page as me – to my relief. Many of us weren’t being reposted to the Tone & Sculpt fitness page and many of our workout videos and pictures weren’t being acknowledged by Krissy or her team. Many girls were feeling discouraged as they were under the impression that they would get more face time with Krissy herself… Which isn’t asking for a lot, considering we were promoting HER and her brand, right?
The drama skyrocketed within weeks… when one of the young, naive cult members decided to screen shot the messages of the group chat complaining about our lack of benefits and recognition and sent them to Krissy. Can you imagine?
All I could think was, “Omg, I feel like I’m in high school again.” Krissy’s ambassador “manager” (imagine having a manager for a group of girls working completely for free? LOL), Hollie, sent a tasteless e-mail essentially advising us we had a snitch in the group chat and to remind us that as Krissy’s
ambassadors slaves, we were not owed anything, including reposts and resharing, which is done out of the goodness of Krissy’s heart. ALL HAIL KRISSY CELA.
It was also exclaimed that Krissy felt as though we were using her for IG fame for expecting support in return, twisting our words and only emphasizing quotes from the group chat with zero context (the context of which was the most important factor and motivation for our venting).
That was pretty much my last straw as I felt none of us were being treated with respect or receiving any of the benefits many other ambassadors receive in return for promoting a brand. I decided to take down anything indicating that I was an ambassador from my profile and unfollowed Krissy and T&S. Not to mention, the app itself, while fun and modern and exciting by design, just wasn’t effective for myself and many other girls. The lack of intensity, reps and sets just was not cutting it. The macros were extremely incorrect, advising someone weighing 155 lbs at 5′ 5″ and working out 5 days/week to consume 2,500 calories for fat loss which is more than maintenance per any other macro calculator out there. Some girls in her T&S Facebook group expressed concerns of weight gain… This isn’t a surprise to me because barely sweating + consuming way too much food = weight gain (or at least not fat loss in most cases).
Here is an example of a reputable and accurate macro calculator for the stats of 155 lbs, 5′ 5″, working out 5x per week and looking for fat loss:
About 778 calories difference. That is a huge discrepancy. This is SCIENCE. And while the goal of speeding your metabolism to be able to consume 2,500 calories and remain relatively lean is an amazing goal to have… that takes a LOT of time and a lot of lifting and consistency. Most of her audience likely come from restriction as that is what the fitness industry makes you feel you have to do to lose weight. Going from, say, 1,500 calories to 2,500 is definitely going to bulk up the average girl.
The few months I was an ambassador became full of negativity and feelings of being used and treated unfairly. It just was not an enjoyable experience. Some girls were overly obsessed with Krissy which became annoying real fast. I knew instantly I did not belong because 1. I could never put someone like her on a pedestal like that and kiss her ass the way the rest of them were and 2. I clearly valued the little free time I do have much more than most of these girls. It just wasn’t gonna work. I felt like I was helping this girl’s brand grow and getting no support or appreciation in return.
I finally returned to my first true love, the CCFIT app, for my workouts. My love for training returned INSTANTLY. I was sweating again and seeing progress pretty quickly once I threw T&S out the door. Isn’t that ironic?
I began posting all things CCFIT as I truly believe in the influencer and her app. Following one of my CCFIT posts, I received an e-mail from Hollie:
I hope you’re well?
Im just getting in contact as i need to know if you are still interested in being a tone&sculpt ambassador?
You haven’t got anything on your profile to insinuate that you are one and you haven’t posted any content regarding T&S either?
If you are still wanting to carry on as an ambassador, although there are minimal requirements you do haven’t to post content e.g workout videos/ food posts/ inspirational posts that we can share with our community like the other girls do.
Its unfair if you aren’t putting in the same effort but receiving the same benefits as the other ambassadors so i would hugely appreciate if you could let me know.
My instant reaction was: WHAT IMAGINARY BENEFITS IS SHE SO CONCERNED ABOUT ME REAPING?
I’ve posted so many times without recognition or reshares (which further proves they didn’t even take a second out of their day to acknowledge them). I stopped believing in the legitimacy of the app and the influencer after about week 7. After a few months of working for free, I still had nothing to show for any of it. So I shared my feelings with her, and pretty bluntly.
Here are a few of the points I made in my reply e-mail:
- Krissy had not personally followed any of her ambassadors to support them back (from January through the end of March… except for 2 who she randomly decided to support out of the 25. The two she chose coincidentally kissed her ass more than the rest of them. Something that was not part of the original ambassador requirements. If I had known, I would’ve flipped my shit much sooner.)
- Everyone was paying for the app while promoting it. It’s important to note that I sent a mass e-mail to Hollie/Krissy sharing ideas to make the program run smoother, which I received no reply. And in the screen shots that were shared with Krissy, the bulk of the complaints included the fact that we should not be paying for use of her app while also promoting her. Soon after these were shared with her, there was a mass e-mail to the ambassadors which included promise of commission links and free app use for ambassadors. My question is: Why the fuck were you acting so UPSET and HURT by our messages regarding this… as if it it were not a reasonable request… and then turn around and make plans to offer it as if you came up with this generosity on your own? I believe the remaining girls now get the app for free (after about 4 months of which will not be reimbursed as well as any ambassador who paid up front for the year who will also not get refunded. I’ve learned that the question has been posed but no acknowledgement from Krissy or Hollie on it. Not surprised.
- Only a select few girls get reshared on the T&S page and have the luxury of communicating with Krissy. The rest of us were chopped liver, barely getting so much as a reply back from Hollie (our manager).
- Krissy hasn’t made a single effort to get to know any of her ambassadors – we could all be serial killers for all she knows. Constantly turning around and playing the victim. My favorite was when she would constantly use her and Hollie’s mothers being ill as her reason for treating us poorly, while not realizing she has ambassadors who’s mothers/family are also going through the same thing. We’ve all constantly showed support and love (whether she wanted to open our e-mails or DMs isn’t on us) about what they were going through. Everyone in the world unfortunately goes through hardship. She didn’t even know these ambassadors names, let alone that they were dealing with such hardship. Again, extremely hypocritical. Not only that, but having the ability to post daily on your IG and Youtube channel, but claiming due to those reasons you are unable to prioritize your ambassadors is bullshit.
- The app basically is ineffective for anyone who has been working out for a while and the macros are ridiculous. Since girls get a meal plan based on those macros and prepare the meals according to the app, they would be consuming those macros. It does not provide guidance to understand how they are being calculated and how to know how many calories/grams of macros are in each meal… which I feel is extremely important. Once you decide to move on from the app, you will have no idea how to continue to track or use that guidance.
Although it took 3 months for the T&S IG account to follow our accounts, it took them .0007 seconds to unfollow me. I’m willing to bet they didn’t appreciate my brutal honesty about our treatment and that I quit. Immediately after my e-mail, Krissy went and followed the rest of her ambassadors. *Thanks for taking my advice but acting like you did it on your own accord*
Now fast forward another couple of months and it was brought to my attention that Krissy and Hollie sent out an e-mail announcing their “Ambassador Academy” (Whatever the fuck that means) and their short-term plans for photoshoots for their ambassadors in LA and UK. Right after that e-mail, they sent additional e-mails informing many of their original ambassadors that they were being let go so they can focus on the ambassadors who are TRULY DEDICATED. (Again, whatever the fuck that means) So at least 8 of the original ambassadors wasted 5 months of their time promoting Krissy and her app, paying for the app, waiting for delivery of their benefits STILL, and then got kicked to the curb and recycled like scrap paper. On top of it, she added a handful of new girls to the program (all of which have a hefty follower count, probably so she doesn’t have to worry about them using her to become IG famous)… so what happened to cutting your OG girls so that you can focus more on a smaller group?
Many of those girls posted consistently and were even part of the select few who countlessly defended Krissy when most of us were venting. It’s also been heard through the grapevine that Krissy sent one of her ambassadors (with a large 12k following) a surprise birthday gift, while not even acknowledging or being aware of the birthdays of the rest of her ambassadors, & promising this same girl free flights/accommodations to the events. I recall one of Krissy’s reasons for leaving Gymshark was the favoritism that was being displayed for certain athletes. Sounds pretty hypocritical if you ask me.
EVEN LONGER STORY SHORT: Krissy was just as fake as I suspected she was. She preaches how much love she has for her “familia” on Youtube, but didn’t actually express one ounce of care or concern for the 25 girls who were promoting her day in and day out.
It just opened my eyes and helped me understand the main reason so many influencers are successful is because they prey on young, naive and lonely followers who would do anything for them, without question and without demanding anything in return for their work.
I was so disgusted by the news that I sent them an e-mail expressing it. In one of their replies, they mentioned how “my rude manner of conversation is why I was one of the first ambassadors to be let go” which was comical considering I quit months ago.
I emphasized again in the e-mail that her calorie guidance is for line backers, not a 145 lb girl trying to lose fat. Hollie came back with the fact they have an experienced dietitian on their team and they do not advocate starving yourself to reach your goals. I would hardly consider even cutting 500 calories from their baseline starving yourself. If anything, you would probably still be at a maintenance. I had to adjust my goals to state I was working out 2-3 days per week to get remotely normal macros for fat loss even though I was working out 5-6x per week.
My favorite part is when it was discovered that she randomly did an update to the app and everyone’s calories were decreased by 200 calories (estimate). Again, dismissing my valid points and arguing against them, and then immediately taking action she would not have done otherwise. I feel like I should have gotten paid for my e-mails.
The loving and caring fitness influencer you see on Youtube was so quick to use and then dismiss her own ambassadors. She barely ever replied to our concerns personally and when I would reach out regarding her macros, she would reply to every e-mail as if I were a new person (she had zero knowledge I was an ambassador and would just continue asking for me information I already provided; such as my weight and height…)
Goes without saying that she was absolutely no help.
She claims her goal is to help all of the users of her app (which is probably over 50k by now)… how can you make that your goal when you have 20 or so ambassadors whom you completely ignore? Sounds like a pipe dream to me.
Another friend of mine who I met through becoming an ambassador, also quit for the same exact reasons. When she expressed similar concerns to Krissy, she responded extremely rudely telling her that she’s entitled and how she *Krissy* can treat her ambassadors how she pleases, talk to whichever ambassadors she pleases, fly out whichever ambassadors she pleases, and repost whatever she pleases. The amount of times she mentioned money and called her entitled was too much to handle. She also continued to emphasize how shocked she pretty much is that my friend isn’t grateful for this amazing opportunity. She also constantly brushes off her ambassadors complaints of her treatment toward them with “what your saying is purely a matter of opinion”. Oh, so the fact that 50% of your girls have the same exact opinion means absolutely nothing to you? Good.
What amazing opportunity? An amazing opportunity to continue making Krissy more money with nothing in return but lame ass promises and the bare minimum at that. Sounds like a bunch of ‘ could’ve, should’ve would’ve’ bullshit to me.
If you’ve read this far, you’re the greatest. Feel free to share my story with anyone you know who idolizes Krissy. It’s a shame how that experience went from 100-0 real quick. It’s an even bigger shame that no matter how poorly she treats people, she’s most likely going to continue being successful and getting richer. For every person who tries to open the eyes of social media users, there will be one who continues to idolize them and put them up on a pedestal when they don’t deserve it.
My main message is to choose wisely who you give your support to and try your hardest not to become blinded by all the bullshit.
Update: It’s been brought to my attention that many of Krissy’s current ambassadors are personally offended by this blog post. And to that, all I have to say is, if you are personally offended by me sharing MY EXPERIENCE, then perhaps you should reevaluate and ask yourself why my experience with the program has such a heavy burden on you. I’ve also been told that my blog post is considered slander. By definition, slander is the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation. There is absolutely nothing false about anything I have written above. The proof is in the puddin’, babes.