When Shir Ibgui and Jamie Wilkinson met, the first thing Ibgui asked for wasn’t Wilkinson’s name or major, it was her shoe size.
“I was kind of, like, taken aback,” Wilkinson said.
Ibgui is used to towering over most other girls, so when she saw Wilkinson, also 6-feet tall, she was thrilled at the prospect of finally having someone to share a wardrobe with, she said.
Ibgui and Wilkinson immediately bonded over their height, but later discovered their shared love of food, travel and wellness. In September 2016, the UF alumnae decided to turn their hobbies into a brand and launched the lifestyle blog, “NOT UR AVG.” With more than 28,000 blog views since it launched, the pair share travel tips, food recommendations, fitness guides and glimpses into their everyday lives.
“Our blog is not just about fashion, it’s not just about food,” Ibgui said. “It has a lot of depth to it.”
“NOT UR AVG” was a natural extension of the photos, stories and tips Ibgui and Wilkinson have been sharing with their friends and family for years, Ibgui said. After studying abroad the summer before their junior year — Ibgui in Paris and Wilkinson in Madrid — they realized people frequently asked them for travel guides and food recommendations.
It wasn’t until the summer before their senior year that the pair set the wheels in motion. Sitting at a rooftop bar in New York City with a laptop and cocktails in hand, Ibgui and Wilkinson created the first post on “NOT UR AVG,” Ibgui said.
Since graduating from UF in April 2017, Ibgui and Wilkinson live on opposite sides of the world. Ibgui is completing her master’s degree in international business in Tel Aviv, Israel while Wilkinson pursues a master’s degree in interior design from the New York School of Interior Design, Wilkinson said.
Keeping up with a blog together from more than 5,000 miles away requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice, Wilkinson said, but it also gives them the unique opportunity to show readers different parts of the world at the same time.
Every Tuesday, the women document their entire day via Instagram Story. Due to the seven-hour time difference, as soon as Ibgui signs off from Tel Aviv, Wilkinson picks up with the start of her day in New York. They’ve coined it “two-sided Tuesday.”
“I think we’re different from the average blogger because we’re sharing our experiences from halfway around the world from each other,” she said.
The team has plans to grow the blog in the future, Wilkinson said. Currently, they’re trying to create more Youtube videos for their channel and post more frequently on their blog.
Michal Paniry, a UF psychology sophomore, has been a devout “NOT UR AVG” reader since it launched, she said. Their blog is different from other lifestyle websites because the posts and videos give readers an intimate look at their lives, the 19-year-old said.
“I like how they really make you a part of their life,” she said.
Paniry believes “NOT UR AVG” has more to offer than travel tips and glamorous pictures. The 6-feet-tall authors spread a message of confidence and self-acceptance.
“They can be inspirations for other people,” she said. “It’s kind of like being confident in the skin that you’re in.”