How a Snapchat Creator Makes $750,000 a Year Making AR Lenses

  • Cyrene Quiamco, known to online followers as “CyreneQ”, joined Snapchat in 2014.
  • The Snapchat creator has built a lucrative business developing augmented reality lenses.
  • In 2021, Quiamco earned around $750,000 and earned over $179,000 in 2022, mostly from Snapchat.

When Cyrene Quiamco joined Snapchat in January 2014, it marked the start of a lucrative business venture and a turning point in the web designer’s career.

The Little Rock, Arkansas native at the time was working for Verizon and developing a website as a side gig that could generate additional revenue. But after a colleague introduced her to Snapchat, Quiamco began experimenting with the platform, creating intricate artwork that she first archived on her website, The 11th Second.

“I had no idea that with that in mind, it was going to lead to becoming an influencer or a creator and doing it full time,” Quiamco said.

A first Snapchat project, “Celebrity Selfie Series”, in which Quiamco lured celebrities into their selfies, gained exposure and led to an actual selfie with Kevin Jonas. MTV also reached out to see if it could do more Snapchat selfies with celebrities.

As the Quiamco star rose, more brands came knocking, including NBC and Disney’s “The Voice,” asking if she could creatively work their brands into stories. sponsored. She began publishing three to four Brand Stories per month, with each Brand Story generating $10,000 to $30,000, depending on brand payouts and audience engagement with each story.

“Probably the most significant moment for me was when I started earning as much as I would earn at Verizon in a year — and I would in a few months,” said Quiamco, who quit his job at Verizon in 2015. to focus on making Snapchat content. “I could always go back to corporate work, but I was still young and thought it was time to experiment and see where it would lead.”

After Snapchat announced Lens Studio in late 2017, allowing Snapchat creators to create augmented reality lenses for the app for free, Quiamco focused more on creating AR lenses, which overlay art on selfies. or alter the image in different ways, eg. a range of brands including


Marriott, Ulta and Verizon.

Quiamco fits into a subset of creators who don’t just create content, but create tools that others can use to power virtual experiences and create their own content. Creators like Quiamco may find their work even more in demand as the metaverse grows in popularity and brands deliver more experiences in the digital realm.

The move into lens development proved to be a smart move for Quiamco, which earned around $750,000 in 2021, largely from its lens work, with a small amount also coming from investments. Insider verified its earnings with documentation provided by Quiamco.

The Snapchat designer, who now sets her own schedule, said she works seven days a week, almost from the time she wakes up around 10 a.m. to 1 a.m., designing up to two lenses a day at using graphics software such as Blender. , Adobe Illustrator and ZBrush. Depending on the brand, the size of the project, and the amount of work required, brand projects can earn Quiamco between $5,000 and $75,000, up to $25,000 per lens.

Now the sought-after Quiamco, which has won AR lens contests, is at a point where it picks and chooses the brands it works with, she said.

2022 is proving to be another productive year so far for the designer, with Quiamco earning an estimated $179,600 in the past two months or so. In the coming months, Quiamco said she would like to take on more of an art director role, managing the creation of Snapchat designs, which would free her up to focus on developing concepts and “really pushing the boundaries of objective”.


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