On The 'Gram
I went to Instagram's Creator Cafe at VidCon 2024.

I Spent 48 Hours At VidCon With Some Of Instagram’s Most Inspiring Creators

The Friends-inspired Creator Café was one of the many offerings IG had at the influencer mega-event.

Rachel Chapman/Elite Daily

Instead of endlessly scrolling on your phone, you can see all your fave online personalities in one place: VidCon. The annual convention, which takes place in cities like Anaheim, California, and Baltimore, Maryland, allows popular content creators and their fans to interact IRL at different pop-up experiences and panels, making it a highly coveted event for the Instagram-, TikTok-, and YouTube-obsessed.

For aspiring influencers, VidCon can be like a crash course in what it takes to be a full-time creator. And if you needed some inspo or a little spark of creativity to take your Reels and posts to the next level, that’s where Instagram’s first-ever Creator Café came into play at the 2024 experience.

Exclusively for the event, the people behind the social media platform built an immersive space where attendees could further their skills through hands-on activations and programs. Though I wouldn’t consider myself an aspiring influencer, the look behind the curtain of what it takes to be a creator really inspired me to have more fun with my own Insta account.

The Creator Café Had A Real Friends Vibe

Whether attendees needed a break from walking panel to panel during the convention, or simply wanted a vibrant spot to meet up with their mutuals, those with Creator Track or Industry Track tickets were able to stop by Instagram’s Creator Café from June 26 to June 29.

The appropriately Insta-worthy space, held at the Hyatt Regency Orange County, down the street from the Anaheim Convention Center, was crafted to give creators a place to connect with each other and meet staffers from IG and ambassadors for the brand. I ran into singer Bryce Xavier at the pop-up who shared, “Coming to VidCon, I always look forward to the Instagram lounge.”

Rachel Chapman/Elite Daily

The design was heavily influenced by nostalgia and the Central Perk Café from Friends. After picking up an iced vanilla latte from the coffee bar, I found a cozy couch to sit on as I charged my phone, and people-watched as influencers met up with their friends to chat and experience the different booths around the room.

Along with photo ops you’d want to post in your Stories *and* on main, the Creator Café also had a swag shop and AI corner to learn more about new features within the app. There was even a Ray-Ban photo booth to try on Meta Smart Glasses, and a pop playlist heavily featuring my girl Taylor Swift.


Of course, the space wasn’t just for pics and videos. The Creator Café also hosted programming to help guide, inspire, and teach users how they can utilize all the tools Instagram has to offer.

For instance, I had no idea you can use AI to make your own stickers for Insta Stories. If you want a pic of a dog wearing a party hat alongside a video of your actual pup on their birthday, Meta’s Gen AI tools can help make that happen.

While a lot of Instagram’s presence at VidCon could be seen at its exclusive Creator Café, the brand also hosted a few panels over at the convention center. Below, you’ll find a two-day recap of my time at VidCon, going to a variety of these panels, activations, and a lunch celebrating its LGBTQ+ creators for Pride Month, as well as the first-ever live taping of Instagram’s Close Friends Only podcast.

Day 1: Checking Out The Space & Establishing Some IG Goals

The first stop on my list was obviously the Creator Café. Throughout the weekend, IG hosted different informal events like two coffee chats on how to successfully use Reels and Threads, in addition to a Meta AI-powered happy hour trivia hosted by comedian Scott Rogowsky (@scottrogowsky).

Rachel Chapman

After snapping some cute pics for the ‘Gram, I headed over to the convention center for the “Finding Success: Creator Stories of Instagram” panel. During the 45-minute discussion, host Kristie Dash (@kristiedash) interviewed creators Landen Purifoy (@landenpurifoy), Ve’ondre Mitchell (@veondremitchell), and Carter Kench (@carterkench) on their influencer journeys and how they were able to grow a large following in such a short amount of time.

I make the trends work for me, I don’t work for the trends.

Success can mean so many different things for each creator, but Mitchell shared the milestones are what she really looks for. “On a surface level, of course, the comments and likes feel amazing, but I love when I can reach an audience that isn’t just my own,” she shared.

It might seem like following what’s viral at the moment is how you can grow your audience, but the 20-year-old said, “I make the trends work for me, I don’t work for the trends.”


Day 2: Getting Close Friends & Leveling Up

Rachel Chapman

Since VidCon took place during Pride Month, Instagram hosted a lunch for LGBTQ+ creators at its cafe. While enjoying a delicious meal, attendees got to hear from Madison Werner (@madisonwerner) and Nate White (@nene_la_shiro) about their journeys as a queer creators on Insta, and how the platform has helped them find a supportive community.

Continue posting because I didn’t know Rihanna was watching my stuff like that.

White’s following includes queen Riri herself, Rihanna. The 31-year-old fashion designer encouraged the audience to keep posting, because through his Instagram, he was able to meet the “Work” singer. “Continue posting because I didn’t know Rihanna was watching my stuff like that,” he said. “Celebrities that I’ve been watching for years are coming up to me fangirling.”


Around the same time as the Pride lunch, Instagram hosted a “Creators and AI: Uplevel Your Instagram Strategy” panel back at the convention center. AI seems to be everywhere these days, which can be overwhelming since it’s such a new technology.

Obviously, I didn’t have a time-turner necklace to be in two places at once, so I missed Instagram Product Manager Melanie Rodriguez (@thee_melanie) and creators Don Allen III (@donalleniii), Madi Monroe (@madimonroe), Chris Ashley (@chrisashley), and Kallaway (@kanekallaway) chatting about how they use the latest GenAI powered tools.

“My Creator sounds exactly like me,” Madi Monroe said about Meta’s new AI Studio tool that’s currently in testing. “It uses my same lingo and all of my emojis, which is super helpful to get links out and to let people know what’s happening with my life. It also allows people who support me and want to chat with my AI to feel closer to me,” she continued.

My favorite thing about VidCon this year was getting to see some of the biggest creators and celebs, as well as witnessing live recordings of podcasts. The Close Friends Only taping was a chance to combine those two experiences into one.

For the podcast’s first-ever live taping, creator Reece Feldman (@guywithamoviecamera) and actor Storm Reid (Euphoria) chatted about how they met during the press tour of Missing. Listening to them discuss their fave trends and what inspires them the most creatively really felt like I was invited into their Close Friends Circle on IG.

Rachel Chapman

Reid even shared she has a finsta in the rapid fire round, and admitted that she prefers carousel posts over Reels and Stories. “I love a good carousel, because I’m indecisive and I also take a lot of pictures. So, the more the merrier,” she said.

I love a good carousel, because I’m indecisive and I also take a lot of pictures. So, the more the merrier.

The two friends ended the pod with an award show game Feldman came up with called the Instagrammys. Similar to senior superlatives, they each shouted out different creators they love for made up categories. For the “creator that you get fashion inspo from” on Instagram, Reid had to give it up to her on-screen sis from Euphoria Zendaya (“I just have to give it to Z,” she said), but also shouted out creator and multi-hyphenate Wisdom Kaye.


Even though I’m not trying to pursue a full-time career as an influencer, I definitely felt inspired to keep creating, making memories, and sharing those authentic moments with my friends and followers. The biggest takeaway was that IG really is like your social media BFF. Whether you just want to scroll through foodie pics of too-cute-to-eat dishes or be the next viral sensation, you have everything you need right on your phone.