Alisha Lehmann: WC’s most popular player on Instagram

Alisha Lehmann: WC’s most popular player on Instagram
Alisha Lehmann: WC’s most popular player on Instagram
Thanks to the fans: Alisha Lehmann after the victory over the Philippines.

AUCKLAND (VG) Swiss Alesha Lehmann (24) has become a phenomenon. Experts disagree on whether marketing it is the right way to go.


On Tuesday, Norway will stand in the battle of fate at the World Cup in Russia.

On social media, she is older than fellow countryman and tennis legend Roger Federer.

With her long hair, often in a high ponytail, with loose eyelashes and heavy makeup during battle, she attracts attention.

She is the most Instagrammed World Cup player with 13.7 million followers, clearly ahead of USA star Alex Morgan (10.1 million) and completely ahead of the “world’s best player”, Spain’s Alexia Potellas (2.9 million), who won the Ballon d’Or two years in a row.

In the past year, the number of Lehman followers has increased by more than 75 percent. On Instagram, she also surpasses Roger Federer (11.9M).

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Lehmann himself does not play in the Champions League, nor in a world-leading national team.

How did you manage to do that?

She wears shorts and shows off her body. There are many examples of how if you post something like this, you get a lot of followers, says Elise Thorsnes, NRK World Cup expert, Vålerenga player and 130-cap.

See glimpses of what made Lehmann go viral here:

Lehman has been open about the harassment she has received for appearing that way.

When I was younger, a lot of people told me that I couldn’t wear makeup and that I couldn’t wear eyelashes when I played. At some point I thought, “Why not?” I want to look feminine. It’s my passion,” Lehmann said in an interview times.

Two years ago, she had to take a break from the national team for nine months, due to mental problems. She asked her mother to stop reading the comments under the pictures she posts.

But what should a soccer player look like? Is it true that female soccer players who look feminine are not taken as seriously as men?

“Be Brave”: Lyman’s tattoo reminds her of courage. She was clear that no one should be anything other than herself.

– I’m afraid that will be the case in today’s society. Look at David Beckham for example. She’s not in the same league as him as a player, but she’s undoubtedly a world-class player. Was he surprised to appear as a lingerie model? Maybe from some, but not from society as a whole, says Peggy Simcic Brønn for VG.

A reputation expert and professor in the Department of Communication and Culture at BI Norwegian Business School, she believes Lehmann’s life can be compared to the movie “Barbie”.

– This movie made shock waves when it put Barbie in a completely different light than that of a dumb blonde. Barbie is called Self-Awareness and is seen as a commentary on what it means to be a woman. It makes right-wing extremists in the United States so crazy, but no one listens to them, says Simchik Brun.

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Ex-Spouses: Ramona Bachmann (TV) and Alisha Lehmann were former lovers. They both play in Switzerland. Here during the Player of the Year award 2019. Right, Germany’s Julia Simic, who has now retired.

The reputation expert has no doubts that Lehman’s marketing is intentional, but why doesn’t he do it that way?

– In my opinion, it contributes to the promotion of sports. As a top-tier athlete, she promotes herself and her career in a way that many male athletes do. She is not ashamed of her sexuality or the use of her beauty. I tell her hats off.

Lehmann was previously with fellow national team member Ramona Bachmann and Brazil star Douglas Luiz, also at Aston Villa. This surprises Simcic Brønn.

It’s interesting that she’s open about being bisexual. Homosexuality in women’s football has always been a way of insulting the sport, but that’s changing a lot, thanks to women like her, she said.

Anne Gondal, professor of the sociology of sport, notes that research has documented how female athletes have to play traditional gender roles in order to successfully market themselves on social media.

However, it can become problematic when it becomes apparent that women must produce content that conforms to narrow gender and gender norms in order to be successful.

Professors: Anne Tjondal (left) and Peggy Simczyk Brun.

In this way, social media contributes to shifting the responsibility for covering women’s sports from the media to the athletes themselves, says Tjondal.

The professor warns that such an approach could hurt the brand in the long run. International research indicates that sexual content often damages reputations, she points out.

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This can lead to them not being taken seriously as footballers, something that can be transferred to women in other professional contexts, says Tjønndal.

Lyman himself has referred to this in many interviews in the past. She often gets comments that she needs to “get back in the kitchen”.

And if she doesn’t post sports content for a few days, followers doubt if she actually plays soccer.

– It doesn’t affect me. I know these people are not important. I stand firm in what I do, and if people aren’t happy about it, it’s their choice.

The only thing female soccer players want is to play and live the dream, says Lehmann.

WC photo: Alisha Lehmann in the official WC photo.

Tjønndal criticizes placing the responsibility for increasing interest in women’s football on individual athletes such as Lehmann.

That responsibility rests with the media and sponsors. She says Lehmann and other players who post pretty pictures of themselves do nothing but do what they can to secure sponsorship deals and income.

She continues:

– If the framework conditions were better for women playing soccer, she and others wouldn’t have had to spend so much time producing this kind of content for social media.

On Tuesday, Lehmann and Switzerland stand across from each other in Norway’s battle for the World Cup pot. There is Norway with great desires to get back to itself and maintain its reputation.

Norway – Clare: Alesha Lehmann and the Swiss prepare for the meeting with Norway.

Then we’ll see if it’s Lehmann who crushes Norway’s dream of a World Cup play-off. Accomplishments on the pitch are what matter, not popularity on Instagram, Elise Thorsens points out.

– I once saw something here: being famous on Instagram is the same as being rich in Monopoly. I think that describes it well, says Thorsens.

Norway and Switzerland will meet at ten o’clock on Tuesday in the second group stage match in the World Cup. You can watch it on TV3.


Najuma Ojukwu

Najuma Ojukwu

"Infuriatingly humble internet trailblazer. Twitter buff. Beer nerd. Bacon scholar. Coffee practitioner."

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