Major Papers


influencer, sponsored brand trip, calculated authenticity


Since 2016, beauty brand Tarte Cosmetics has been utilizing social media influencers to advertise their new product launches by bringing them on sponsored brand trips, also known as #TrippinWithTarte. This growing phenomenon within the beauty industry involves brands paying for airfare, lodging and other expenses of influencers in exchange for promotion of the brand and their products while on the trip. Trippin’ with Tarte destinations are often luxury beach locations like Bora Bora, Costa Rica, and Hawaii. While this certainly looks glamorous to the consumer, these trips should not be mistaken for a vacation. While participating in various excursions, influencers are required to post on Instagram regularly, as this is the reason the brands have invited them, and how they make their living.

This paper examines the use of “calculated authenticity” (Pooley, 2010, p. 79) by influencers working for Tarte to create an authentic seeming, yet glamourous, persona to their audience of consumers. It will also critically analyze the hidden and precarious labour behind the work of influencers that is often not discussed. A variety of themes are found in various #TrippinWithTarte Instagram posts by multiple beauty influencers to support these points and the intended research questions. Sponsored brand trips are a relatively new advertising tactic that has been taking over social media, as a result, this paper aims to shed light on this particular topic area that is growing into a phenomenon in the influencer marketing industry.

Primary Advisor

Kyle Asquith

Program Reader

Susan Bryant

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Communication, Media and Film

Document Type

Major Research Paper

Convocation Year