Case Study: How One Artist Uses her Instagram to Spread her Faith

How one artist uses Instagram to spread her faith
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Walking into the university classroom meant to be our interview space, I’m greeted with a huge table that’s an orchestrated mess of every makeup product known to man. The sight isn’t a shock – not when you know the person behind it all. I’ve known Ica Macazo since junior year, and she’s constantly doing something with her hands. This time, it happens to be friends’ makeup for yearbook photos. But whether the brushes were for makeup or paint, Ica knew her way around art – as well as sharing it. So if I wanted to talk to anyone about starting passion projects to share with the world, she’d be a pretty good bet.

Ica’s passion project is something both familiar but still pretty unique. She uses her Instagram account to share her lifestyle. But stepping away from the usual sharing of typical food, travel, or even art posts associated with most lifestyle influencers, she zooms in on an aspect not many people share on Instagram: her Christianity.

According to her, “What I wanted to highlight was the aspect of brokenness.” Brokenness. I find myself thinking that it’s the anti-thesis to what many influencers seem to chase: the image of perfection. Ica affirms this when she adds, “Like, you see this influencer who’s so perfect. And you see so many people want to be like them. Then they fail at it, or they don’t feel like they’re complete or whatever when you can just find your peace with things that are more eternal.”

Instagram: @_imanuelle

Ica handles her small Instagram community by posting questions or opinions about a subject – say, friendship – and then getting people to react or respond to her posts. She even makes it a point to follow up with those who respond, genuinely treating everyone as friends who deserve a constant check-up to see how they’re doing.

She’s comfortable sharing in a number of ways: one, most notably, is through her art; another through Instagram stories. (Right now, she’s working on a series called Sanctum Sessions on her Instagram, where she shares her thoughts about verses in the Bible.) But if you ask her, no, she doesn’t have a blog or a YouTube channel, and she prefers to stick to Instagram for sharing passion projects.

This wasn’t always in the plan

“For a while, I thought I was going to get into talent managing,” Ica admits. The idea stemmed from her genuine belief in the world of social media influencers. “So instead of, like, TV shows influencing people, it’s people influencing people.” And because of that, she really saw herself going into the talent management industry. “But then I didn’t,” she adds, laughing.

We see that whole belief – where if you strongly believe in something, then you ought to share it – translate in her projects. After all, you can’t always keep a good thought to yourself.

And the funny thing is, the whole idea of running an account like this wasn’t exactly part of Ica’s original plan. She works for a Christian company, and confesses that marketing their brand isn’t easy. So for a time, in attempts to get people to engage with them, she’d commission friends to help. Whether these friends were writers, models, or photographers, Ica enlisted anybody willing to create content for their brand.

“But I guess from that vein, it kind of went back to me,” she explains. Then it dawns on me that Ica didn’t really plan on starting these individually-run accounts from the beginning. She continues, “I was trying to achieve [the content I wanted to create] through people.”

Eventually though, Ica saw that she couldn’t completely control what her friends were creating for her. And that just got in the way of what she herself (and even what her friends) wanted to do.

But at the same time, the work she was doing for her current company, yesHEis Philippines, was getting her Instagram the audience she wanted to reach out to. She figured: she’s got the channel, so why did she have to get someone else to share her message for her?

Then the rest is history.

Today, her Instagram account has reached micro-influencer status, and she intends to keep using it to share her faith-grounded lifestyle – one devoid of any pretense of perfection that can be crippling to most people.

Instagram: @_imanuelle
Starting passion projects: not exactly rocket science

“One of the projects I’m working on right now is myself” is what Ica tells me jokingly at the beginning of our interview. We both laugh, but somehow, the joke hints at a truth we don’t often think about.

We all fantasize about starting passion projects of our own because, somehow, that’s one way of working on ourselves.

And if you’re reading all the way here, maybe starting passion projects that mean a lot to you have always been in your bucket list. Maybe you’ve never really started. Maybe you’ve asked yourself: am I even ready? (Here’s my response to that last question that you can apply to any context, not just one about starting passion projects.)

So taking a page right out of Ica’s book, here are a couple things to remember about getting started on that idea you’ve always wanted.

3 takeaways from Ica’s passion project journey
  1. Keep it simple. You don’t need an elaborate website or a marketing campaign or even a Facebook page when you begin. Though there’s no harm in having them, stick to something simple first.
  2. Take something you’re passionate about, and find an angle from there. Faith and the Gospel mean a lot to Ica, but she takes it a step further when she highlights brokenness. The best thing about a passion project is that it’s yours, so you can always branch out and do whatever you want with it later.
  3. Fall in love with the process. Starting passion projects doesn’t have to complicated – it’s a process you’ll learn from (and have to enjoy), after all. “It’s like in a relationship,” Ica explains. “There’s a point where you don’t share your relationship with everyone yet because it’s about you two first. So it’s the same thing with your passion project.”

Spend time with your passion project, and learn it inside and out. So when the time comes for sharing it, you can always go back to the reason why you love it.

Ica Macazo

One of the reasons I highlight these inspiring stories of passion projects is because I know there’s a lot more to gain than lose by having one.

In one of my posts, I list down 3 life-changing reasons for everyone to start a passion project. You can read more about that here, but I particularly want to highlight one point in that post that says one practical benefit for having a passion project is that it has the potential to turn into a profitable side hustle.

So to help you get started, I designed this free 5-step mini course on how to turn your passion into a real, profitable side hustle. There are actionable lessons, tips and tricks, and even worksheets to guide you along the way.