The Student News Site of Kent State University

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The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

An Interview with Isa Duffy: College Advice, Her Clothing Brand & More

Photo: @isaduffyy

Isabella Katherine Duffy, better known as @isaduffyy on her social media, is a 22-year-old influencer and entrepreneur from Miami. Duffy started her own clothing line, IKD Active and her podcast, IKD Advice after graduating from the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.

Instead of following the traditional 9 to 5 corporate job path, she decided to keep investing in her social media career, creating her own athletic-wear brand and starting a podcast to share life advice. On her TikTok alone, Duffy has over 243,000 followers and 102,000 on Instagram. Just like the rest of us, she was once a college student trying to balance her studies and social life. Duffy is a classic lifestyle influencer doing fit checks, daily vlogs and “get ready with me” videos, but she also gives amazing advice to empower women to be their best selves.

The CEO of IKD Active can look back at her college years with a more mature perspective. On her podcast, she has an episode titled, “My Guide to Surviving College” and TikTok videos where she shares what she learned in her four years of college. When talking with her, Duffy said if she could give anyone college advice, it would be to, “Be yourself as much as you can because in college the person you walk in at 18 years old is going to be so different by the time you’re graduating at 22,” she said. “So, just go with yourself and like I always say, you know, ‘Show me your friends, I’ll show you your future’ definitely. Take note if the people you’re surrounding yourself with are living a lifestyle that you feel like you’d be proud to be a part of.”


New on spotify! IKD Advice 🫶🏻

♬ hospital beach – Cottonwood Firing Squad

As chaotic as college life can be, many people fear the transition into real-life post-graduation. Duffy was actually surprised at, “how peaceful postgrad is in a quieter sense,” she said. “In college, you’re walking on campus, you’re constantly surrounded by young people, you’re sitting in classrooms. Well, there’s a lot of energy and hormones and stuff going on. No one knows who they are yet. So, in postgrad, it’s surprising how calm life can be.”

She also said in her podcast episode, “My 10 Rules to Live By” how she sees the corporate life being pushed onto people. She has gotten some side-eyes when she says she chose a different path. Still, as the saying goes, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Duffy recommends not looking at what other people are doing, “because if you’re comparing yourself to somebody who got a job immediately right before graduation and you haven’t found what’s meant for you, don’t feel like you’re falling behind,” she said. “Maybe it’s just not the correct time. Like I always say, if one job falls through, you get fired or it doesn’t work out, maybe it’s because you’re supposed to be somewhere else, so just don’t compare yourself to the people on LinkedIn. You’re on your own path.”

When it comes to following your own path, Duffy certainly paved her own. She first started using social media for fun during COVID-19 to stay motivated and be productive. “And then by the time the pandemic ended, it was just already a part of my life, like it was ingrained in my routine,” she said. “So, it kind of became part of who I am as a person.”

As toxic as social media is with comparison, we can change our mindset and have a more positive outlook when using these platforms. “It can be inspiring to see what other people are doing and their sense of style,” Duffy said. ”And I take it as an inspiration rather than a competition or a toxic jealousy mindset. I definitely use other people’s platforms as guidance for myself. If I see something and it seems desirable to me, I think about it in a way where I’m like, ‘OK, how do I get there or how do I do that?’”

Duffy also has a podcast episode titled, “How Starting Social Media Changed My Life” where she explains more of the process and how to get started. During our interview, she advised anyone who wants a social media career not to “look at what everyone else is posting,” she said. “Don’t just do what’s trendy. Try to find your own thing or start your own trend, and then also, people are going to say whatever they want about you, whether your life’s online or your Instagram private with 100 followers. So, why not just do what you want? You know, if you’re inspired and you have something you want to share, why not share it?”


moral of this Ted talk is live your life and if someone doesn’t wanna be ur friend because you post a tik tok then they were never ur friend to begin with 🙂

♬ original sound – Isabella Duffy

Not that trends are bad, she clarifies, “I mean, it’s cool to do trendy stuff,” she said. “Like, I do trendy stuff, but I feel like what’s cooler is if you’re posting something that you feel really proud of or really good about or you’re feeling passionate about. When I share advice, I feel very passionate about it, and not like ‘let me do this trend’. Even if the video does not do well, I don’t care. I liked it.”

Duffy releases daily content on her platforms and weekly podcast episodes every Monday. Honestly, they feel like a big sister giving life advice and sharing her life stories. She decided to start her podcast when she realized that it would allow her to connect more to her audience with 20 to 30-minute episodes, instead of the shorter TikTok videos and Instagram Reels. “I also wanted people to know a different side to me because I think TikTok is very curated and people only see like 15% of your life,” Duffy said. “So, for people to feel like they know you or know more about your life or who you are, it was inviting to me.” It definitely felt like I was talking with one of my friends when I listened to IKD Advice.

@isaduffyy So my podcast is OUTTTTTT! search IKD Advice on spotify ;)) 💕👀 #greenscreen ♬ I bet you think about me – (Taylor’s version)

On her podcast, she also has an episode named, “How I Launched My Own Brand at 22 Years Old,” where she tells the story behind IKD Active and the year-long process building to the launch. IKD is an acronym for Isabella Katherine Duffy, but also for Innovation, Kindness and Desire, the pillars of the brand. IKD ACTIVE is “on a mission to empower those to be their best selves on their fitness, mental and personal growth journeys.” Duffy said on her podcast, that the idea originated from wanting to create a woman’s golf and athletic apparel as a former competitive golfer. Still, the process takes time.

When asked what was the most challenging aspect, Duffy said, “Just to even get things moving with manufacturing, I think the hardest part of it overall was finding a manufacturer that could produce the level of quality that I wanted for the right price because I knew if I was going to put my name on something, I wouldn’t want it to be something that I myself wouldn’t walk into a store and be drawn to it and want to purchase it. So, going through that was definitely a big part of it, but I definitely took the lead creative direction when it came to the styles and production and trying different fabrics. We tried one at first that I liked, but I wasn’t crazy about it, so, then we switched. So, that’s kind of why it took a little over a year.”

As many Kent State Fashion students are interested in having their own brand, it can be tough to bring ideas to life, but Duffy advised to, “Find an absence in the target market for something that you feel like your followers would like. I feel like I have a heavy female following, so that’s good for that. So, find your market gap.”

Also, find one characteristic that makes your brand unique. Duffy said that what makes IDK Active stand out is its personality, “There’s not really many Miami-based yogalates, activewear type of stuff,” she said. “So, I feel like it’s marketing more than just the pieces. It’s the lifestyle of the brand and also the color palette is very Miami. Very pastel, very feminine.” IKD Active has its own TikTok and Instagram accounts where you can see multiple outfits, and outfit suggestions and stay updated with new launches.

Another topic that Duffy talks about in her podcast is confidence and body image. In both episodes, “Why Confidence is a Mindset; Tips & tricks on How to Grow Your Confidence” and “ADVICE: Jealousy, Growth & Body Image,” the social media influencer shares her confidence journey and advice for listeners to build a healthy relationship with their bodies.

The first lesson is to stop comparing yourself with other people. “I heard this quote one time on Tumblr when I was like 17 and it changed my life,” Duffy said. “’Roses and sunsets are both beautiful, but they look nothing alike.’ And that’s so true. They’re completely different categories. So, I feel like that’s what I try to think of when I’m comparing myself to someone. Well, we’re completely different people with completely different lives, paths, missions and genetics. So, why am I going to compare myself? Also, at the end of the day, there are no mistakes in life. If we’re made a certain way, it’s for a reason. We just have to roll with it. And I think social media has made us so oversaturated that we’re addicted to comparison, but we’re not supposed to live like that.”


if you guys want i can make a longer video talking about building confidence in yourself 🌱

♬ Karma – Taylor Swift

She also talked with me about the roots of body image issues, which she previously discussed in her podcast.

“So, I was talking about how I think body image issues are created through trends, I was saying how we’ve had this trending ‘Kardashian Era’ where all these people were going and getting BBLs to get this curvy body, but then you’ll see other magazines that are like the ‘heroin-chic/ Kate Moss era,’ like super skinny,” she said. “They’re using people’s bodies as trends. So, once you hit one expectation, say you go get that BBL and then you have the ideal body, maybe for two years you’re the beauty standard and then, they change the trend. They’re trying to make it impossible so that women are always doing new procedures or buying waist trainers or diet pills,” Duffy said.

“They do it because they make money off our insecurities. It is supposed to be unattainable because if you can obtain it, then why would you spend your money on these products?” she said. “Even before social media, we have been creating these weird, idealistic, impossible standards.” As a social media influencer with over 17.3 million likes on TikTok, it is admirable that Duffy uses her platforms to build women’s self-esteem and talk about more serious issues.

On her platforms, Duffy goes in-depth on these topics and talks about other aspects of her life. Even if outfit checks are fun to watch, it is refreshing to see an influencer using her platform to talk about the negative aspects of life and give advice to followers, so they can better navigate their own lives.

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Hi! I’m Annie Gleydura, A Magazine’s editor-in-chief. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine. 

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