A teenage girl from Queensland, Australia, says she has grown weary of fabricating the illusion of her online profile. Online modelling has left her feeling empty and unfulfilled.
Essena O’neill, 19, had hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat when she decided to give up her life as a social media celebrity.
She spent years constructing an image as a beautiful, happy, and carefree young blonde woman.
“Social media has allowed me to profit off deluding people,” Ms O’Neill has said.
“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 would kind of think social media or no social media…teenage addictions to social approval, social status, and physical appearance are cyclical throughout the generations. Anyway, anyway– perhaps new technology heightens such adolescent feelings though– anyway, anyway…
She essentially sounds tired of spending 50 hours a week on Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube doing paid promotions for companies.
She has commenced deleting thousands of photos or giving them new blunt and honest captions.
“Nothing is candid about this. I felt the strong desire to pose with my thighs just apart #thighgap boobs pushed up #vsdoublepaddingtop and face away because obviously my body is my most likeable asset.”
In regards to the white gown above she has said: “I didn’t pay for the dress, took countless photos trying to look hot for Instagram, the formal made me feel incredibly alone.”
With hundreds of thousands of followers she has revealed that she would get paid $400 to post a dress, or even up to $2,000 to post a promotional image of a tea brand. You have to wonder if marketers actually get conversions from having rather tangential products posted on Instagram modelling accounts.
She would painstakingly take over 100 photos before being able to choose the right one.
“There is nothing zen about trying to look zen, taking a photo of you trying to be zen and proving your zen on Instagram.”
Ms O’Neill doesn’t want girls falling into the same trap as her.
“If you find yourself looking at Instagram girls and wishing your life was theirs… Realise you only see what they want.”
Now, Ms O’Neill is focusing on a new project called ‘Let’s be game changers’ – where she encourages others to live a life without digital distractions.
She hopes to initiate a movement where an individual’s worth is not determined by physicality or social media influence. She is using the web and social media to start the movement and has made two videos on a new website.
Overall, I do hope she is okay. The digital age can birth fresh young celebrities but they’re still capable of burning out like Macaulay Culkin in the late 90’s I guess.
I personally very much believe the internet is still real life, another dimension of it if we want to get ontological, because its capable of giving us real emotions.
She’s just had a John Lennon “fuck this the Beatles have become sellouts” moment. I’d get sick of selling tanning products and delivering analytics to marketers too. She still seems passionate about online communications, as seen with the launch of her new project (which is great).
So, good luck on your new adventures, Essena!