The 18-year-old blogger and YouTuber Essena O'Neill had amassed over half a million Instagram followers with her stunning beauty and fitness Instagram pictures. Despite having received offers to model and 250,000 followers on YouTube, Essena was so unhappy with what social media was doing to her that she decided to edit her Instagram by deleting over 2000 pictures, then changing each caption of what was left with what she was REALLY thinking and feeling during the seemingly candid shot.
She wrote about her decision to leave her social media success behind, saying: “I'm quitting Instagram, YouTube and Tumblr. Deleted over 2000 photos here today that served no real purpose other than self promotion. Without realising, I've spent majority of my teenage life being addicted to social media, social approval, social status and my physical appearance. Social media, especially how I used it, isn't real.
"I was addicted to what others thought of me, simply because it was so readily available. I was severely addicted. I believed how many likes and followers I had correlated to how many people liked me. I didn’t even see it happening, but social media had become my sole identity. I didn’t even know what I was without it.”
Here are some of our favourite 'edits' from Essena's Instagram:
"I had acne here, this is a lot of makeup. I was smiling because I thought I looked good. Happiness based on aesthetics will suffocate your potential here on earth."
"NOT REAL LIFE - took over 100 in similar poses trying to make my stomach look good. Would have hardly eaten that day. Would have yelled at my little sister to keep taking them until I was somewhat proud of this. Yep so totally #goals"
"Serious 😳 edit: I was definitely serious about proving my sexuality... Why? For who? Social expectations. Impress people. Live up to society's effed up standards on young women. Don't know what they are? Walk through a shopping mall. Pick up a magazine. Modern media is limiting our view of self."
"NOT REAL LIFE - paid tea post. Yep likely if you see a girl with a large amount of followers promote a tea with an Instagram tag. They were paid a lot.... I did it when I started at like $300 a post. With my following now I could make $2000AUD a post EASY. I don't think anything is wrong with being payed to promote products, I will still feature ethical/stuff I use on my site. But not saying it's paid, that's deceit."
"EDIT REAL CAPTION: paid for this photo. If you find yourself looking at "Instagram girls" and wishing your life was there's... Realise you only see what they want. If they tag a company 99% of the time it's paid. Nothing is wrong with supporting brands you love (for example I proudly would promote Eco sheets or a vegan meal in exchange for money as its business for a purpose to me). BUT this ^^^ this has no purpose. No purpose in a forced smile, tiny clothes and being paid to look pretty. We are a generation told to consume and consume, with no thought of where it all comes from and where it all goes."
"Edit: "Please like this photo, I put on makeup, curled my hair, tight dress, big uncomfortable jewellery... Took over 50 shots until I got one I thought you might like, then I edited this one selfie for ages on several apps- just so I could feel some social approval from you." THERE IS NOTHING REAL ABOUT THIS. #celebrityconstruct"
We love her all the more for her honesty then her pretty Instagram snaps, especially now that she is now focusing on her other interests here!
What do you think of Enessa's revelations? Tweet us @sofeminineUK!
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