A Dramaturgical Analysis of Latina Influencers Use of Props and Settings to Signal Identity




Soto-Vásquez, Arthur D.
Jimenez, Nadia

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Dramaturgical analysis has been applied by scholars to social media influencers, but how props and settings are used to signal identity is understudied. This study uses a series of in-depth interviews with Latina influencers who live and work in a mid-size city on the U.S./Mexico border and an analysis of corresponding posts to explore how props and settings can be used to signal gender and race while also communicating authenticity. The findings show that influencers have to carefully and strategically navigate the use of props and settings not to appear fake and contrived. They blend the use of frontstage props with calibrated sharing of backstage settings to approximate an authentic online performance of their branded identity that is approachable but also monetizable. When performing their gender, the influencers adopt a having-it-all performance, balancing family, beauty, career success, and health while using backstage settings to create connection. Finally, Latina influencers on the border portray it as a setting that differs from its mainstream representation as a place to avoid. They also strategically deploy Latina identity to market themselves and localize national trends.



influencers, Latina, U.S./Mexico border, Instagram


Journalism and Media 3 (3): 407-418 (2022)