Is Ballerina Farm The New Kardashian?

Influencers are a dime a dozen these days, but there are a few that stand out and are impossible to miss – like Ballerina Farm.

By Gina Florio4 min read
ballerina farm instagram

With millions of followers across all her platforms, she regularly generates millions of views on every single video she posts, along with thousands of comments, likes, and shares. It’s hard to look away from Ballerina Farm, whose real name is Hannah Neeleman.

Hannah Neeleman is a beautiful wife and mother of eight children who manages to do it all: She milks cows at the crack of dawn on her sprawling farm, homebirths all of her children, makes sourdough and various meals from scratch, and competes in beauty pageants. Anyone who uses social media knows who she is, and many people have strong opinions on her level of influence.

We live in a world that props up figures like Kim Kardashian and her sisters. The entire family initially became famous just for being socialites with a reality TV show, and now they’re all either millionaires or billionaires who are some of the most recognizable people on the planet. People love celebrities and influencers, but with the rise of Hannah Neeleman and similar figures, are we perhaps moving in a different direction regarding which kind of famous individuals we love and follow? 

Who Is Ballerina Farm? 

Hannah Neeleman, a 33-year-old rancher and entrepreneur, captured the prestigious title of Mrs. American 2023, representing South Dakota at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino last year. She also recently competed in Mrs. World in January, just 12 days after giving birth to her eighth child; while she didn’t take the title home, she was definitely a fan favorite.

Despite her recent pageant victory, Neeleman is perhaps better known for her role as the face of Ballerina Farm, a social media sensation that has captivated millions. With 6.9 million TikTok followers and 8.7 million on Instagram, she, along with her family, has become renowned for producing visually captivating content. Despite her online transparency, many followers still find Neeleman to be somewhat enigmatic.

Neeleman's journey began in Springville, Utah. She first gained public attention as a gifted ballerina, which led to her training at the Juilliard School in New York City. Following her marriage to Daniel Neeleman in 2014, the couple moved to Sao Paolo, Brazil, where she continued her dance career while Daniel pursued business opportunities.

Before her success in the Mrs. American 2023 pageant, Hannah held the titles of Miss New York City in 2010 and Mrs. Utah in 2021. Her response to a question about empowerment during the Mrs. American contest, referencing her role as a mother of seven at the time, resonated with the audience and bolstered her image as a value-driven influencer.

In 2017, the couple returned to Utah to establish Ballerina Farm. This farm-to-table agricultural venture offers a range of products, from meat to kitchen essentials. The Neelemans' children are often featured in Hannah's social media posts, which depict her life as a hands-on mother, preparing homemade meals with ingredients sourced from their farm. Her consistently polished and feminine presentation has made her one of the most engaging content creators on social media. Both Hannah and Daniel, who also attended Brigham Young University, were inspired by their time in Brazil to embark on this agricultural journey. The farm, characterized by its free-ranging pigs and cattle, was born from their vision of a more natural farming method.

Ballerina Farm Has Received Backlash in the Past 

Despite their popularity online, Ballerina Farm has been at the heart of a couple of controversies. Many people have discovered that Daniel comes from significant wealth – his father, David Neeleman, is the founder of JetBlue with a net worth of $400 million. This has altered public perception of Ballerina Farm, leading to accusations of a lack of authenticity, as the couple's portrayal of a simple farm life seemingly belies their substantial financial backing.

In November 2021, Hannah's Instagram post about their move to Utah – buying farm essentials with no prior farming experience – further fueled the controversy. Followers started questioning the authenticity of their "bootstrap" narrative, feeling misled about the real resources behind their lifestyle shift. The discovery of their expensive AGA stove, costing upwards of $20,000, exacerbated these feelings. The high-end appliance, while fitting into the aesthetic of Ballerina Farm, seemed to contradict the image of humble beginnings and self-sufficiency they had cultivated.

Critics have taken to social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, voicing their discontent. They argue that the Neelemans’ failure to disclose their financial background paints an unrealistic picture of rural living and misleads followers about the attainability of such a lifestyle. Blog posts and online discussions have scrutinized the family for perpetuating a problematic image of traditional womanhood, suggesting that their portrayal is a carefully curated facade rather than a true reflection of farm life.

Hannah was criticized once again recently for choosing to compete in Mrs. World just 12 days after giving birth. Many people said she was being irresponsible for working out, traveling, and trying on various gowns and dresses in preparation for the event. Others accused her of setting unrealistic standards for the millions of mothers who follow her.

Is Ballerina Farm the New Kardashian? 

Much like the Kardashians, Ballerina Farm is either loved or hated by people who watch her. Some may think that the controversies have shed a less-than-desirable light on her, but they actually just fuel her forward into the forefront of the conversation, making her more famous and well-known than ever before. There’s no doubt that there’s been a shift in recent years online, resulting in many consumers demanding authenticity over perfectly crafted images of celebrities and influencers. Although Ballerina Farm is gorgeous and literally a beauty pageant winner, the vast majority of her content features her in raw, real moments of her everyday life. She milks cows, she cooks food in a messy kitchen, and her hair and makeup are hardly ever done. And yet she is naturally beautiful and mesmerizing. 

This is very unlike the Kardashians, who are constantly surrounded by a glam team, private chefs, private jets, and pure opulence. Not to mention the wide array of plastic surgery that the Kardashian-Jenners have done to both their faces and bodies. Ballerina Farm may have almost as much money as a Kardashian sister does, but she chooses to do something very different with her wealth. The family is ensuring that an important piece of land is cared for, they’re engaging in thoughtful cattling, and they’re doing it all while raising a large family of children.

With the rise of the “trad” trend, Ballerina Farm perfectly represents what so many of the so-called “trad” proponents want to see: a faithful marriage and many children born to a happy couple. It doesn’t matter if they have a lot of money. Hannah is clearly involved in the everyday lives of her children. They may have nannies or tutors to help with home education, but she certainly isn’t leaving the kids alone every day to be at a 9-5 job or jet around the world doing fashion campaigns. 

There’s no doubt that Hannah is helping to usher in a new vision of womanhood and femininity, and it’s hopeful to think that so many people are more interested in following her journey rather than watching the mindless reality TV stars that are the Kardashians. Is Hannah’s rise a sign that we are finally ready to turn away from stars like the Kardashians and instead support something more meaningful and follow individuals who are choosing to do something fulfilling and positive with their lives? Hannah doesn’t pretend like she’s poor, and she doesn’t even tell others how to live their life. Instead, she just influences by inspiring others with her own captivating life. And it’s a good thing for our culture that millions of women just can’t look away. 

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