Instagram

Instagram celebrities: Maybe you've heard of them.

They're models and bloggers, photographers and, err, more models living in Los Angeles, so-called "influencers" showered with free gifts to show off to their millions of coastal followers. 

Or at least, that's what you might think. 

They're also Nebraskans — Midwesterners who live right here — and their massive followings watch them depict heartland lifestyle, share culinary creations and play video games.

Oh, and some of them are models, too.

But all of them put in hard work.

Sarah Stewart, who boasts more than 118,000 followers on Instagram, was an early adopter of the platform, and she's spent years partnering with other bloggers and slowly building up her following.

Her following is now big enough that she quit her full-time job after 19 years in the insurance industry (with an MBA, too) to be a blogger. 

"I always thought of my blog as a hobby rather than a job. But by 2016, it had become apparent I was working two full time jobs and something had to give," she said. "At the same time, I was landing large sponsored contracts with brands I respected and knew I could build my brand even further if I was able to dedicate all of my time to my blog. Looking back, leaving corporate America was one of the best decisions I've ever made."

Being from Nebraska helps, too.

While there may be more Midwest-based influencers than you think, it's still a relatively small group.

"It's refreshing knowing there are national and international influencers right here in Omaha that aren't only based in New York, LA or other big cities," Stewart said.

These are the most popular Instagrammers around these parts. (Or that were at least once from these parts.) 

Jack & Jack

Followers: 10.6 million (jackgilinsky 6.1m, jackj 4.5m)

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lil hank doin big things! great meeting u partner

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As two high schoolers attending Westside, Jack Gilinsky and Jack Johnson became stars. Seriously. They were hugely popular on Vine, the now defunct social media platform where users shared six-second videos. They've parlayed that into a singing career as a pop duo, and their following has only grown on Instagram.

ashleygraham

Followers: 7.4 million

The Lincoln Southwest graduate became a model in 2000. She's now a supermodel, appearing on the cover of the famed "Sports Illustrated" swimsuit issue in 2016.

DrLupo

Followers: 1.7 million

Omahan Benjamin Lupo plays video games full time, earning money by streaming his sessions (especially the battle royale shooter "Fortnite") on Twitch. He's also racked up an impressive follower count all over social media, but especially on Insta, where he uploads clips from conventions, tournaments and even an old-school arcade.

fishing_with_flair

Followers: 354k

Andrew Flair fishes. And he catches big fish. The Omaha man primarily catches bass (and shows his techniques on his popular YouTube channel), but he also catches exotic marine life in places such as the Amazon.

alysia_magen

Followers: 282k

When she left Plattsmouth, Nebraska, Alysia Macedo only had the military on her mind. But then she started posting photos to Instagram. Now out of the military, she's a Florida fitness model with a massive following and a website full of workouts and diet advice.

Maynard Triplets

Total followers: 247.7k (storybook.Missy 84.4k, storybook.Mandy 46.3k, storybook.Erin 117k)

Omaha natives Erin, Missy and Mandy Maynard are the founders of Storybook Cosmetics, and the blonde triplets showed off some makeup brushes that resemble magic wands from a certain series of films and novels about wizardry and witchcraft. It went viral, and now they run a multimillion dollar business.

lifeonvirginiastreet

Followers: 118k

Sarah Stewart was once an insurance executive in Omaha. But she ditched that to be a full-time lifestyle blogger that focuses on DIY projects and home decor.

sarasab

Followers: 88k

Sara Sabaliaskas Roth is an Omaha blogger who has run her Sabby Style blog — all about fashion and lifestyle — since 2014. 

isachandra

Followers: 71.5k

Where do we begin? Isa Chandra Moskovitz is many things. She's a vegan chef. A cookbook author. Oh, and her restaurant, Modern Love, has locations in both Brooklyn and Omaha

chicandmodishblog

Followers: 55.5k

Lydia Swanson is a mom to two (soon to be three) and a teacher at Millard West High School. In what little spare time she has, he runs the Chic & Modish blog and shop.

HerHeartlandSoul

Followers: 41.8k

By day, Erin Fairchild works in marketing, but she has also blogged about lifestlye, fashion, food and travel as Her Heartland Soul since 2011.

Jake Ellenberger

Followers: 39.8k

A Millard South grad, Ellenberger went on wrestle at UNO and UNK. He also later coached at UNO, helping the team win national titles. Then he became famous. Ellenberger went to the UFC and earned a 31-15 record before retiring last month.

somethingfancyblog

Followers: 38.5k

A mom to two little boys and a nurse practitioner, Tara Sands also somehow finds the time to blog about style, beauty and lifestyle.

erikaetzelmiller

Followers: 30.8k

Back when she attended Lincoln Southwest, Erika Etzelmiller was crowed Miss Teen USA. Now that her reign has ended, she's back to being a cheerleader at UNL. 

NinaStreetPhotography

Followers: 28.9k

Henry Myint is an Omaha photographer, and his Insta feed is full of his shots. Most of his shots are of female models in nude, semi-nude or, well, just plain scantily-clad poses. 

dominicholmes_art

Followers: 25.1k

A tattoo artist at Big Brain in downtown Omaha, Holmes is also a prolific painter. People fly in to get his tattoos, he's tattooed famous people and his art is now appearing on a series of watches. 

a_thomsen3

Followers: 11.7k

Alex Thomsen is on the UNL wrestling team. So what's a freshman wrestler doing with this many followers? Well, Thomsen won Iowa state wrestling titles four times straight. The kid is good.

Reporter - Entertainment/music/concert

Kevin Coffey covers music, whether it's pop, indie or punk, through artist interviews, reviews and trend stories. He also occasionally cover other entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @owhmusicguy. Phone: 402-444-1557.

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