At Coastal Carolina University, we have students who used creativity and digital prowess to become social media influencers. In our Social@Coastal series, learn how these tech-savvy Chanticleers ascended to influencer status.
Name: Walker McKnight
Hometown: Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Year in School: Sophomore
Instagram Handle: @walker.mcknight
Social media has been a big part of our next influencer’s life for quite some time. Starting with owning Instagram accounts and growing them in high school, Walker McKnight has become an expert on social media strategy. Growing his first main account to over 24,000 followers, Walker has successfully shown his portrait photography to an ever-growing following.
Unfortunately, Walker’s main account, started in 2011, was hacked and he had to start from the beginning. Where some might give up, Walker has been able to rebuild his following to over 7,000 followers in a short span of time. From the time he took his first photo, Walker has been dedicated to his craft and pushing himself to create visually creative content. Walker has built a network of clients, locals and CCU students alike, allowing him to build a vast portfolio of stunning portrait photography.
With any creative field, coming up with new and engaging content can be a big obstacle to overcome. Just looking at Walker’s Instagram account, you can see the passion and creativity behind each photo. Walker is currently at the very beginning of his college career and has so much more to look forward to and accomplish. When he graduates in 2021, it will be interesting to look back at this feature and see how Walker’s social media presence has evolved.
Name: Chamira Wylie
Hometown: Rock Hill, S.C.
Year in School: Sophomore
Major: Graphic Design
YouTube Channel: Chamira & Shantal
Move-In Day is a favorite moment for many incoming students. But the weekend itself can be quite a blur. You are meeting new people, attending events, unpacking and setting up your life. For Chamira Wylie, she decided to vlog her Move-In Day experience to capture her initial CCU memories. Once she posted the vlog to her YouTube channel, the video amassed more than 70,000 views. Her channel that she shares with her sister, Shantal, started to take off with her senior prom vlog. Chamira has been honest and completely open about her disability and how she overcomes day to day struggles. Her journey and her honesty are a few of the many factors that draw viewers to the Chamira & Shantal channel.
Both sisters never imagined reaching the 10,000 subscriber milestone as quickly as they did. Like with many influencers, the growth happened relatively quickly. Through the channel’s influx of popularity, they have continued to grow and put out fun content. Chamira has not only been able to create life-long friendships through her videos but also has shown off Coastal, attracting her viewers to our campus. With every video, you can see the joy and hard work that goes into planning and editing.
Chamira has found her home here at Coastal, where she has been able to thrive academically and stay on top of her YouTube channel. Studying graphic design, she has been able to explore what she loves while trying experiences out of her comfort zone.
Name: Taylor Freeman
Hometown: Camden, S.C.
Year in School: Junior
Major: Public Health
Instagram Handle: @tay_the_ginger
Imagine standing in front of a glacier, surrounded by luscious green fields and snow-capped mountains. This bucket-list adventure is the reality for Taylor Freeman, who spent time in Iceland doing photo shoots all over the island. The life of an influencer was not what Taylor had in mind when she first started gaining followers and becoming recognized by big-name photographers. Through the journey, Taylor has taken the role and made it her own. With every photo shoot, she aims to spread her message of body positivity and raising awareness for those suffering from PTSD.
Here at Coastal, Taylor dived head first into being a part of #TEALNation and started working with the LiveWell Office. She helped with their social media and was even selected to represent Coastal Carolina and LiveWell at a peer educator conference. Taylor has always been passionate about helping others. She found the public health major here was the perfect option for her. Studying public health has provided her with the foundations to advance her social media skills while guiding her towards achieving her goals in the health care field. Being a transfer student and a commuter can be a tough barrier to overcome, but Taylor found her home here at Coastal and we are happy to have her.
With aspirations after graduation to attend The Medical University of South Carolina to pursue a master’s degree, Taylor’s dream is to open a nursing home one day and cater specifically to veterans with a specialty in PTSD care. We are honored to have her kick off our new series, Social@Coastal.