Colorado is betting big on vaccine influencers

It’s unclear if people will ‘like their message

John Ingold
The Colorado Sun
A collage of Instagram posts created by some of the more than 120 influencers paid by the state of Colorado to encourage vaccinations.
Illustration by Eric Lubbers/The Colorado Sun

In April, a Breckenridge stylist who uses the Instagram name @ilikeprettyhair sat down in front of her phone and recorded a message for her roughly 5,000 followers.

“What’s up, my mountain mamas?” the stylist, LaRissa Marie Chapa, said in a serene voice. She wore a bright red wide-brimmed hat and a sleeveless top that displayed her intricate arm tattoos. Behind her, the vines of a pothos plant creeped down a shiplap wall.

“So I wanted to pop on here and talk a little bit about an upcoming campaign that I am doing over the next few weeks with the state of Colorado. They’ve reached out to people across the state and local communities to help spread factual, proper information about the vaccine and getting vaccinated.”

A couple weeks later, Chapa posted about an upcoming vaccination clinic in Frisco. For a feed primarily devoted to sharing pictures of eye-catching hair styles, the turn to public health messaging might have appeared odd, especially since the messenger seemed a little cautious in the role.

“There’s just so much information out there it’s overwhelming,” Chapa said in the April video. “This will help to kind of decipher fact from fiction and then empower you to make the best decision for yourself. By no means is it me pushing it on you.”

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