Student Voice


April 21, 2024



Fitness influencer Amelia Skye tells her story

December 4, 2018

Award-winning journalism

This story won first place in feature writing in the 2018 Collegiate Better Newspaper Contest sponsored by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association Foundation. Read more

A day at the office for Amelia Skye consists of taking and posting pictures for her 348,000 Instagram followers. After recently moving to Los Angeles, Skye was able to support herself off her large Instagram following. Skye’s passion for fitness, combined with skills learned at UW-River Falls have allowed her to build a career.

Amelia Skye, formerly known as Amelia Dunlap, graduated from UW-River Falls in May of 2018 with a marketing communications major. She moved soon after graduation, leaving her hometown of Hudson. Though she didn’t intend on moving so soon, Skye said she has always been a risk taker.

Amelia Skye
Social media influencer Amelia Skye is a marketing communications graduate from UW-River Falls. This is a photo from her fitness modeling. (Photo by David Burgoyne)

Skye was involved on campus throughout college, and sang the national anthem at several athletic events throughout her four years at UWRF.

“Singing the national anthem helped give me exposure, and I was able to gain followers from the area I grew up in,” said Skye. This also lead her to sing the national anthem for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Skye had tried entering several pageants during college.

“I ran for the title of Miss Wisconsin USA for two years in a row. I was told I was too built for the pageant so I never won the title, but after that I realized I loved expressing myself on stage,” Skye said. These pageants led her to enter bikini bodybuilding her senior year of college, and she also got into fitness modeling.

Her following has continued to grow since graduation, and Skye is now considered a social media influencer. Something many social media influencers have in common is that they have found a niche. For Skye, that niche is fitness. Through connections she made at Gold's Gym, a famous athletic facility in Venice, California, Skye was able to collaborate with other influencers.

“Teaming up with people allowed me to learned from them, as well as teach them. It’s like one big family in this competitive market. Collaborating with people in the same niche helped me gain followers from my new area in Los Angeles,” said Skye.

Skye attributes her success to her decision to follow her dreams, but also to the education she received in her time at UWRF. “My senior year, I took (former Visiting Professor) Amelia Reigstad's public relations class. I realized social media marketing is really taking over and that’s when I figured, with my modeling and fitness background, I could market for brands through my creativity,” Skye said.

Associate Professor David Bonko advised, taught and supervised internships for Skye throughout college.

“He really helped me with my schedule and making things work as I built my brand. I was provided with a lot of great resources to get through all my classes,” Skye said.

“For her internship she created a marketing plan based on herself as an influencer, since she was her own business and promoted herself. We found out her goals and objectives and went from there,” said Bonko. Bonko mentioned the importance of authenticity for social media influencers today, and commented that, “She found her soul and was able to communicate that with her audience. If you’re phoney, people can read through that. But it seems she has created a thing that is real and engaging.”

Though Bonko and Reigstad are just a few people, Skye mentioned that all her professors were instrumental to her success.

Brands began contacting Skye when she reached about 20,000 followers. “Brands will email me and offer money to post for their company. I’m trying to get a sponsor, like a supplement company, but the right one hasn’t come around yet. Once you sign with one, you have to stay loyal to them,” Skye said.

Skye’s instagram page offers fitness videos and positive messages. “A lot of people appreciate the messages. I try to offer motivation and inspiration to my followers,” Skye said.

Though things have been positive, there are challenges with being an influencer. Skye is currently seeking an agent, since hackers are always a concern to those who work through their Instagram accounts. Skye has also gotten several negative comments.

“It's a matter of knowing how to block out the hate. It’s all part of the process,” Skye said.

Skye said that any driven student could become a social media influencer.

“When you have a dream, go after your dream. I had people who told me I’d never make it on Instagram, but I knew I didn’t want to work for anybody, I wanted to work for myself,” Skye said. “It’s tough but you make it work.”

In the future, Skye will continue to build her following along with her personal training business, and hopes to one day own a fitness clothing line. Skye also has plans to go pro in bikini bodybuilding.

For students who wish to reach out to Skye, she is active in responding to direct messages. “It keeps me close to home knowing that I have a fanbase from where I’m from,” Skye said. Her Instagram can be found at @ameliaskyefitness. She is also available through email at