There’s more behind social media fitness sensation Jennifer Selter than just a carefully sculpted figure.
For Selter, 20, of Roslyn, who will be appearing in this month’s edition of Vanity Fair, the grueling daily workout routine -- and hundreds of selfies it’s produced -- is all about positively influencing the lives of others.
“My passion in life is inspiring others,” said Selter, who has risen to a certain amount of fame through the workout photos and videos she posts to social media. As of publication, Selter had 3.1 million followers on Instagram, 962,000 likes on Facebook and 478,200 followers on Twitter. She also recently signed a marketing contact with The Legacy Agency Inc.
Selter said the combination of two of her favorite pastimes -- social media and fitness -- turned out to be a powerful tool.
“Every day I get fan mail from people who tell me I’ve helped to push them to limits they never thought they would reach,” she said. “That’s how I know this business is for me.”
Selter said appearing in the April issue of Vanity Fair was an honor.
“Being a part of Vanity Fair is a privilege and an honor,” she said. “As girls, we read fashion magazines for advice and inspiration, and I can only hope people look at me the way I look at the features in fashion magazines. It was also very humbling because so many great people have been featured in Vanity Fair, and I definitely don’t consider myself up there with Scarlett Johansson."
In the article, writer Alex Beggs also focused on Selter’s ability to inspire others.
“When fans recognize her #seltering -- posing for her iPhone with a leg raised and buttocks in full focus -- on park benches and subway stairways, they tell her she’s inspired them to go to the gym that day,” she wrote.
Selter first took an interest in fitness when she was a senior at Roslyn High School and secured a job working at the front desk of her local gym. While juggling what she described as long, frustrating hours, Selter began to convert her aggravations into positive energy.
“I learned to channel that negative energy into working out and making myself better,” she said. “I saw amazing results, my body began to transform.”
She said after she started posting pictures online, her Internet popularity grew gradually. She was about a year in when she started to notice other people taking an interest.
“When I started posting pictures of myself, I was looking for motivation,” she said. “I never thought that I would be the motivation, but suddenly people were looking up to me. I didn’t plan to promote myself on social media, it really just happened.”
Selter works out at her NYC home’s private gym, which she said she prefers because it eliminates interruptions.
“I can focus on my routine,” she said. “Once I’m finished working out, I’m here for all my followers and always down to take a picture.”
When training, Selter directs her focus on exercises involving her core (abs), glutes and cardio. Selter’s also a big proponent of squats -- which her fans already know. Her strongly-developed glutes are the focus of many of her selfies.
“Squats are a girl’s best friend,” she said. “[They] work your core, your glutes and they keep your legs toned. They especially strengthen the muscles around our knees. My overall fitness goals are to look tone and lean, so I‘m not trying to build muscle or gain weight.”
The photos have helped spawn a #belfie trend on social media (when someone posts pictures of their own backside), as well as #seltering.
“I was never one to use many hashtags but I needed a unique way of branding myself and something to call my unusual pictures, like climbing up walls and stuff,” Selter said.
“It felt right since we live in a world almost defined by hashtags.”
Even though she receives fitness tips from professionals and friends, Selter creates her own fitness regimen.
“I like working out and doing my own thing,” she said. “I know what’s best for my body, and no one can cater a workout to my body except for me. Knowing your body is one of the most important things when you’re trying to better it.”
Though much of her life focused on her gym routine, Selter said strength-training is only part of the package.
“It’s 20 percent in the gym and 80 percent in the kitchen,” she said. “You can’t outrun a bad diet. I eat as clean as I can. I try to avoid refined sugars and flours, and I incorporate a lot of lean protein, like grilled chicken. I also eat throughout the day to keep my metabolism up.”
Selter emphasized two key factors to those looking to shape up: Consistency and hard work.
“Results do not happen overnight,” she said. “Be patient and never give up. Always remember to push yourself. You'll be surprised at what your body can achieve once you've set your mind into it.”
Brian T. Dessart is a nationally accredited Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, a New York State Critical Care Emergency Medical Technician and an FDNY firefighter. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter: @briandessart.