EMILY Rayna Shaw was at her lowest point in 2020: jobless with a prestigious college degree and living at home.
Now, she's an interior design content creator who owns a home at just 23 years old and she told The Sun exactly how she got there.
Shaw was always an over-achiever with a steady vision who grew up in a lower-middle-class family in New Hampshire.
She graduated at the top of her class with an interior design degree from Endicott College and had a job lined up at "one of the world’s largest architecture firms" (she declined to reveal the exact firm).
Unfortunately, Shaw was let go of the company in 2020 due to staffing cuts, and she saw her whole world crumble before her eyes.
"The job I had lined up for after school was one that I worked hard for, and it was where I pictured myself for years to come," she told The Sun.
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"It seemed as though all of the dedication I had put towards my future to turn my life around was for nothing because my whole future was stripped away from me to no fault of my own.
"I learned very quickly that nothing is for certain."
Although she described this as the lowest point of her life, she knew she had to do something worthwhile, as she was not one to sit around and do nothing.
So, Shaw decided to renovate her parent's home with a very minimal budget to get her creative juices flowing.
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"I was sitting in my thoughts at home, trying to find a new path for myself when I had been in a one-track mindset for so long," she noted.
"Renovating my parents’ house would be my first hands-on experience, so I knew it would be a new type of challenge."
To hold herself accountable, Shaw posted her renovation progress on TikTok and got more than she could have ever imagined: more than 5 million followers and fans, which resulted in a seemingly endless amount of paid work opportunities and brand deals.
SHAW'S LIFE ONLINE
With her newfound fame, Shaw moved on from renovating her parents' and other family members' homes to being flown across the country to design spaces for other social media stars.
"I expected a response to my content from my followers and maybe a couple videos to reach some new people who were interested. …
"Under no circumstances did I even consider having millions of followers, let alone in just a few weeks," she told The Sun.
Now, Shaw has converted into a self-employed full-time content creator who focuses on interior design.
She bought her own house and is currently in the midst of renovating it – and of course, is sharing the journey with her eager fans.
While she did not reveal how much she makes as an interior design influencer, she said she has "created more than a new future" for herself.
"My goal growing up was always just to be able to live comfortably without stress, and I am now in a position far beyond that where I can live freely and experience all of the things I’ve missed out on," she said.
And if you're ready to get in line to have Shaw give your space a touch of her magic, you may be waiting a while.
She no longer takes private clients due to her busy schedule as a content creator, but she often will reply to questions from her followers and even give them mock designs for their potential spaces after listening to their desires.
"By doing this, I’m able to educate my audience with similar spaces while also giving back to the community that has changed my life," she noted.
"Maybe in the future, I will hire like-minded designers and start a firm, but for right now I’m enjoying navigating this new path!"
Anyone can also easily find budget-friendly tips and tricks on Shaw's public TikTok page, from how to make the most out of a tiny college dorm bathroom to how to hide a trash can in your kitchen for an affordable price.
SHAW'S SECRET SAUCE
While Shaw's story is unique, she said others can find just as much success as she did in their own special way.
Her best tip? Keep going even if you feel like you have nothing left to fuel you.
"I would tell other creatives at a low point to take a risk," she said.
"If you’re feeling stuck in a one-track mindset and struggling to accept change around you, try putting your brainpower somewhere
"I could have sat and sulked in my parents' home until things opened back up and I could have waited and found a lackluster job to become comfortable.
"However, I knew that I had worked too hard to give up on my creativity so I allowed myself to put it elsewhere, even though
it made me uncomfortable."
Surprisingly, despite knowing how hard she's worked, Shaw still struggles to feel like she's earned her position in the design world.
"I’m not able to comprehend the number of people who keep up with me, and I often feel silly when recording myself because I feel like a nobody," she admitted.
"When I have amazing opportunities, it’s hard for me to feel important enough in society to be doing those things."
However, she said she doesn't let those doubts stop her.
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"If you know you have creativity and you know you have a lot to offer,
find a way to offer it instead of being silenced by the circumstances around you.
"You may be switching to a new community of people that wasn’t your initial motivation, but you never know what that new community may have to offer you when it comes to fulfillment and growth," she theorized.
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