Essena O’Neil, Instagram star and Australian model, has just announced she’ll quit social media. According to the star, it was all fun and games and hundreds of likes on Instagram, but in reality, she felt lost and lonely.
Her take on social media? It’s not real. Much like some of us have heard ‘never believe anything you see on television’, O’Neil suggests you don’t believe on social media either. The Aussie became Instagram famous thanks to shots of herself in great clothes and great backgrounds, and fans were surprised to see her delete her account and come back with an entirely different one. She deleted thousands of her pictures and edited captions to say ‘social media is an illusion’. The nineteen-year old felt she was worth only as much as her Instagram posts, and her reception there and in other social media.
For some posts, she was paid to wear outfits and promote certain products, and like many social media personalities, they are even told what to say and when to upload pictures. The model decided to delete her Instagram as a wake-up call to her public, reminding them to remember that even social media can be synthetic. Since age 12, Essena O’Neil has gained over 500,000 followers across her social media accounts, but she felt it wrong that modern society associated followers, likes, views and comments as validation of popularity, and ultimately of worth.
From now on, O’Neil wants to handle herself differently, and treat social media as a way to tell teens that fame, especially on social media platforms, doesn’t make you any better or worse than anyone else. She wants to find a radical way to call out the double standards on social media, and tell her followers that they should always give themselves their best chance to be happy.