Today we’d like to introduce you to Shalifa Anderson.
Shalifa, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in LA. Pasadena is my hometown. I love to eat everything. I’ve never turned away a vegetable or a donut. I grew up in the Muslim community here in LA where a lot of people are from the Middle East so that cuisine was a huge part of my childhood.
My mother was from Uganda. Making sambusa and chapati early in the mornings to prepare for cookouts was one of the many things that kindled my love for food, the people that make it and why they make it. I watched more hours of Food Network than the average person I’m sure. I couldn’t get enough of seeing restaurants in all of these different places. In 2016, I just decided to start posting what I ate. It was interesting to me, maybe it would be interesting to other people.
I soon (like after 15 minutes) found that food was a huge deal on Instagram and had been for some time. It was a revelation to see a food community like that outside of a food channel on tv. Not only do I get to connect with other people that love to find new foods but I could connect with restaurants. It sounds a little weird now but then it was a new and wonderful thing to me. It still is. I immediately started trying to figure out the food scene here in LA. What were the classics? The hometown favorites? The trends? It’s been a fun two years.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Staying original was a huge issue for me. I feel like I tried too much to emulate bigger foodie accounts instead of just showing people what I loved and what I grew up with. I thought I had to be more like others to be taken seriously. This lead to an even bigger issue: staying inspired. I felt like wanted to delete for months toward the end of last summer. I didn’t feel like I was contributing anything or fulfilling a need.
I definitely fell into the trap of trying to hard to be like other accounts because I bought that a respectable food account needed to have a certain look or tone or food from certain places. When I started going to more media events and just food events in general and people say things like “I know your account!” or “I see your posts on exploring all the time!” It was like woah. People have been feeling this the entire time? What was I thinking about? Why was I making everything so hard?! I’m glad I know now to just go where my palate takes me instead of thinking I have to go to certain places to be taken seriously.
What makes any account great is when it’s just you being yourself. That’s what people connect with. People trust my opinions. I have a responsibility to them.
Your L.A. Foodie – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Your L.A. Foodie is a place for people to experience L.A. and So Cal theme parks through food. I’m proud of the connections I make. I’m proud when someone tells me they tried something I featured because it was their first time trying a particular cuisine or I helped them find a lunch spot near their work or I convinced them that not all theme park food is bad. I like to help. I don’t want to just post a photo. I want to get people excited to try things.
When my friends from out of town tell me I post things they’ve never had (and even some of my friends here), it makes me feel good. I’m not here to provide food porn. I want people who want to try new foods but don’t where to start to feel like now they have options.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success is going to bed at night and being able to rest easy because what you’re doing is in line with who you are.
Success is affecting a life other than your own in a positive way. That’s success at its core. It’s not as difficult as people make it seem. It’s not about accomplishing whatever your big goal is for your life. You’re a success along the way.
- $25 per post
- $120 (for up to 8 hrs) to work an info table or host a food event
- Website: Instagram.com/yourlafoodie