Georgia Harrison hosts UK Top Influencer Awards at Northumbria Students’ Union

The Love Island star reflected on her career in a heartfelt opening speech


Northumbria University’s Students’ Union welcomed an extra special guest on Saturday 20th April for the inaugural UK Top Influencer Awards.

The awards, presented by reality TV star Georgia Harrison and coordinated by model and DJ Chris Henderson, invited content creators from across the UK to celebrate their digital achievements in style at Event Northumbria’s venue Domain.

The Love Island and The Only Way is Essex star reflected on her “wild” journey on social media in her opening speech.  “My journey through reality television has catapulted me into the spotlight as a public figure, an activist, author, and presenter.

“I’ve taken my platform from just fun and entertainment to a space where I voice my personal journey, encourage body positivity, and embrace self-love.”

Georgia bravely waived her right to anonymity and opened up about her experience with revenge porn at the hands of her ex-partner in her ITV2 documentary Revenge Porn: Georgia Vs Bear, which aired in March of last year. This in turn led to an amendment to existing revenge porn laws, which previously required the prosecution to prove that perpetrators shared sexual images or films in order to cause distress.

Georgia Harrison arriving in Newcastle for the event, image via Jay Firth

Following Georgia’s campaign, the Online Safety Bill now also covers the sharing of intimate “deep fakes” which will be criminalised for the first time. 

She added: “We all know, this industry isn’t always a walk in the park… yet, it’s also been a source of immense positivity in my life, allowing me to touch the lives of others by sharing my own experiences and support.”

Georgia is now set to release a new docu-series which picks up where the 2023 documentary left off, detailing her activism and her career since the high profile trial.

Organiser Chris Henderson, who himself is an advocate for mental health and wellbeing, elaborated on why he chose Newcastle as the host city for the awards: “It was important to me that the event as a whole was as inclusive as possible.

“When doing my market research, I spoke to a few different disabled influencers and asked them what it’s like going to these types of events; the barriers they face. So using a Students’ Union building seemed like the perfect choice as I knew it would be completely up to date and accessible for all.”

Chris expanded on his decision to host the event in the North East rather than London, where most awards ceremonies are based: “Unfortunately places in the North East, like Teesside, Middlesbrough – where I’m based – really don’t have a good PR rep. It doesn’t look good on paper. But Newcastle is just as simple to get to as London, and the North East is a beautiful part of the world. It has everything. It’s such a great place to visit.”

Chris spoke about his desire to give young locals embarking on their careers a platform through his event: “I wanted to give them that confidence; just because you are from the North East it doesn’t mean you should be excluded from any opportunities.”

Organiser Chris Henderson with host Georgia Harrison, image via Jay Firth

The Newcastle Tab also had the chance to meet and speak with some of the evening’s winners. 

Numerous winners expressed how they found solace in content creation during the Covid -19 lockdowns. Among these was Comedy award winner Tracy Graham, who told The Tab: “I started my Tiktok during lockdown, and throughout having people message telling me I’d make them smile and bring laughter back into their day from my videos was amazing.” 

Similarly, creator All About Me Mrs B, the recipient of Top Macro Influencer, reflected on the huge impact creating her online persona has had on her life and mental health: “Three years ago I developed an alter ego to help me out of a very dark place. Somehow, she ended up helping lots of other people along the way.”

All About Me Mrs B now has over 1.2 million followers on her Instagram. In spite of this significant following, she emphasised that her motivation was never fame or celebrity status: “I want to be clear;  I started this journey to save myself, and in that process I found strength in a character. She has become something way bigger than just me.”

Christina Warren, voted Top Family Influencer, was another winner who has been stunned by her online success. She commented: “I originally started off just as a mum and baby account and didn’t expect anything from it. It’s weird having so many people reach out, but really really nice. I think it’s just a case of believing in yourself.”

The Tab also had the opportunity to speak to Damian Kutryb, owner of GFFDamian Pole and Aerial Dance Studio in Manchester, who won Top Dance Influencer as well as Business Influencer.

Top business and dance winner Damian Kutryb, image via Jay Firth

Damian looked back on his career over the last decade: “This is a really big achievement for me. I’m super proud of all my work and all my team who have supported me. When I moved to England, I felt excluded and that pole dancing was a sport only for women and not a gay man like me.

“10 years later, I have my own studio, promoting inclusivity – I have created a space where everyone can be themselves and feel safe, and equally where I can be myself and share my skills and my passion to other people.”

Another influencer who has taken to showcasing her talents online is singer Anuska. Formerly part of duo Rara Loud, Anuska opened up about going solo: “It was such a big thing for me; it was tough. From the get-go it was always me and her. But I’m embracing going down this new lane and having the freedom to be completely creative.”

On her musical inspirations, Anuska expressed how meaningful it was to meet Ne-Yo, who showed support for her latest single: “I met him a couple of weeks ago on his closing tour and that was such a dream come true for me.”

Featured images via Jay Firth before edits.

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