Anna Saccone Joly is part of UK’s most influential family who this year celebrated ten years of online success.
Together with husband Jonathon, the Saccone Joly’s have over 6.8 million combined social media followers and were listed as Sunday Times’ most influential family in 2019.
Initially vlogging privately for the friends and family she missed when she and husband Jonathan moved to England from Ireland, the couple began documenting important things going on in their lives – ‘hobby’ which eventually evolved into the juggernaut that is ‘Saccone Joly’.
Anna has led a pretty extraordinary life – born in America (she maintains a loyal following across the pond), almost every day of the last 10 years have played out for millions of viewers online. At just 31 years old, she is the mother of four children, all of whom feature heavily on both her YouTube and Instagram channels where she has a combined following over 3.2million.
With a decade in the spotlight, Anna has experienced most of what the internet has to offer – the extreme highs and shocking lows. She suffered a very public and devastating miscarriage in 2016, overcame eating disorders and, along with Jonathan, has been the target of extreme trolling – something that has affected her in varying degrees both mentally and financially.
The Saccone Joly train shows no signs of slowing, and Anna is using her platform more and more to help raise awareness for the issues close to her heart, with body positivity and health at the forefront. All whilst raising her four wonderful children, maintaining a marriage, and looking after six (yes six) dogs!
Watch and subscribe to Anna & Jonathan Saccone Joly’s new YouTube channel, No Kids Allowed here: https://www.youtube.com/user/jonathanjoly
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I’m an online content creator, wife and mum of four kids and six dogs!
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
Definitely not! Jonathan and I were talking on our new YouTube channel No Kids Allowed recently about how non-strategic our entire career has been. I think our success is down to a lot of hard work but also good timing. We got in really early with the online scene but there was no clear plan involved. This job didn’t even exist when I was younger, there was no internet!
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
Sadly, any job in social media comes with trolling and we’ve been no exception to that, but it’s a small price to pay when we get to help so many people through what we do. The most important thing is that the struggles haven’t outweighed the positives and I pinch myself when I think how lucky we are to be able to spend every day with our children doing what we love.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
It sounds cheesy but my kids really are my greatest achievement as I feel being a mum is what I was born to do. Aside from that, recovering from my eating disorder was pretty monumental. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do but it’s something I’m really proud of overcoming and I’m not afraid to speak out about it if it means helping others going through something similar.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
When we started out on this career path we were literally just doing it for ourselves and to keep our families up to date on what was going on in our lives – we weren’t doing it to make money as there was no money to be made at the time. So when we realised we could actually make a living online, it was sheer hard work and determination that got us through, with an element of good timing and luck. To me though, success is happiness and a strong sense of self. If you’re happy in what you do, it doesn’t matter how much or how little money you make.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
Without necessarily intending to be, I have naturally fallen into that role for some people from our audience and I’m always conscious that we have younger viewers. It’s so important to me to mentor younger girls about body image because I wish there had been more positive role models for me when I was at an impressionable age. In terms of being a mentee – I’m always willing to learn from others, so I love finding people within the online community who have life experience I can glean from.
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?
In terms of gender equality in the workplace, I have to be honest and say that it hasn’t affected me because I work alongside my husband and we are fortunate enough to be complete equals in what we do and what we earn through our online platforms. However, I have four children who I want to grow up knowing they can be anything they want to be as long as they work hard and have compassion and understanding. Education on gender equality starts at home, and I think this is crucial to accelerating the pace for change. I encourage my children to talk openly and honestly about how they feel, to play with whatever toys they want, wear what they want. Our son Eduardo absolutely loves wearing dresses and we fully encourage that because it makes him happy and at the end of the day, that’s what’s important – making our children feel safe and accepted so they have the confidence to go out into the world and succeed.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
“You are perfect the way you are and you don’t have to change for anyone else.” I think that’s the key to unpacking so much – whether it’s body image, confidence about your intelligence, your career – anything. It’s natural for humans to compare themselves to one another, it’s just what we do, but it can get extreme and become so detrimental. I’ve been on a real journey with how I feel about myself and finally feel content and happy to just be me – I could have saved myself a lot of time and heartache if I’d have realised that I’m perfectly fine the way I am sooner, but I don’t live life with regrets – we learn and we move on.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
I can say with all honesty that I honestly do not know. In terms of my career, I have always gone with the flow and have been fortunate enough that this has worked out well so far. I’m a planner in terms of my diary and making sure my kids are organised and fed and happy, but I think there’s something really great about just seeing where life takes you. I was in such a dark place emotionally for a really long time that I am truly excited for the future now and happy to see what happens next.
WeAreTheCity has a back catalogue of thousands of Inspirational Woman interviews, including Cherie Blair, Paula Radcliffe MBE, Caprice Bourret, Anna Williamson and many more. You can read about all our amazing women here.