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Instagram Model Quits Social Media to Reveal the Truth Behind Her Photos

Daily Mail
There is no doubt in my mind that social media 'likes' and followers are key components to Generation Y's collective self-esteem. We have all been disappointed when an Instagram-worthy shot doesn't receive the appraise that was expected, and felt the joy when a spontaneous selfie receives the attention of tens of Facebook friends. However one Instagram 'star' is causing a media storm by revealing the ugly truth to those picture perfect social media moments.

Essena O'Neill is an 18-year old girl from Queensland, Australia, who at a young age made it her mission to become a social media sensation. For the most part, she succeeded - with 500,000 Instagram followers, 250,000 YouTube subscribers and over 60,000 Snapchat contacts. However, the online minor celebrity has done a complete 360 and condemned the vacuousness behind the photos that have brought her both fame and wealth. Earlier this year, an Australian model agency revealed that clients demand models with at least 10,000 followers on social media. 

How does she choose to broadcast the reason why she is quitting social media? On social media, of course. The video, posted to YouTube, documents the young girl's realisation of "how contrived, fake and forced consistently proving to the world 'how amazing my life/body/self is".

The teen has deleted several social media accounts connected to her, and has chosen to re-caption her images on Instagram detailing what really went on behind the image. Whether it was paid sponsorship for a dress she was wearing, how little she ate the day she took that bikini shot, or the mental process behind a selfie, the 'inspirational' model wants to show that her 'perfect' life was very far from that.

And despite claiming her video of revelation would be her last on YouTube (it's since been taken down) - as she doesn't want to support "social sharing sight [sic] that makes billions off advertisements I don't agree with" - Essena has since posted another video continuing her opinion on superficial social media.



Whilst I think that Essena's change of attitude is refreshing, I don't find it wholly convincing. To me, there seems to be something quite paradoxical about using social media to criticize social media. Her messy hair and no make up does little to persuade me that this is not a girl still enamored by her own ego, despite feigning what looks like a mental breakdown. Social media celebrity or savior, she's still reliant on social media to spread her message, and wouldn't have received the attention and publicity that she has without it. Oh, and she isn't very good at spelling.

Her website, www.letsbegamechangers.com, includes a forum where users from around the world can connect over topics such as veganism, gender inequality and, of course, being social media free. Posters to the forum boast of being social media free for three years, for giving up sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but isn't there something distinctly, well, social media-ry about sharing these views online? Just a tad?

Whilst I'm sure her intentions were pure, there still seems to be an inescapable air of narcissism connected to her mission. To post twenty minute videos solely of your face and your own dialogue, even if you are talking about philanthropic topics, still seems pretty high-and-mighty. That being said, I can't really negate the fact that she has started a conversation - a worldwide conversation that will hopefully make a difference to thousands of impressionable young girls who struggle with body image issues. It's definitely about time that the glamorous people and lives depicted on sites such as Instagram are revealed for what they really are - nothing but glossy, exaggerated hyper-reality.



SMF rookie, fresh out of academia, looking forward to more creative ventures. With a love of current affairs, green tea and an ever insatiable wanderlust, Katie is ready to have her voice heard. Follow her @KatieAtSMF


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Instagram Model Quits Social Media to Reveal the Truth Behind Her Photos Reviewed by Katie Gascoyne on Wednesday, November 04, 2015 Rating: 5

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