By Celeste Durve
Eighteen-year-old Essena Oneil from Australia is gaining rapid fire after taking a big stand against social media. With more than 860,000 Instagram followers, 260,000 YouTube subscribers and 60,000 friends on Snapchat, her recent sound bite “Social Media Is Not Real Life” went viral.
According to the model, she was fed up portraying a fake image over social media, and she finally decided had enough. Not only did she delete all her followers and rename her account, she also edited every single caption of her old photos to tell the real story behind them.
If you looked at Essena’s account previously, you found a pretty typical page for an “Instagram model,” including beautiful selfies, candids with pretty backdrops, bikini photos, brand promotions and (of course) #fitspo photos.
But Essena is determined to make a point and tell people that all the “candid” photos you see are actually incredibly staged. In her case, the pressure to appear perfect over social media actually led her into real life depression, although you would have never known that based on her photos.
Essena sheds light on the fact most of the photos you see of girls in clothing brands are paid, and she admitted to making a great salary off of her Instagram posts. She also commented on how she doesn’t think its wrong to make money off of your posts, but people should at least be aware that it’s going on.
Of course, most people know Instagram is totally staged. I don’t think any of us actually believe girls on Instagram #WokeUpLikeThis with six layers of contoured makeup and false lashes perfectly in place. But nonetheless, social media has its way of being a direct attack at our subconscious minds.
I’m pretty sure I speak for everyone when I say we’re all sick of seeing promotions for skinny T-shirts, waist trainers and weird hover-board things, but that doesn’t keep us off social media. It’s refreshing to watch someone with personal experience finally tell the truth.
Essena is truly shaking things up. After posting a very raw and emotional video to YouTube of why she hates social media (see above), she soon launched her own website. Within two days, she had more than 2,000 emails thanking her for her message and encouraging her to continue.
Essena admitted to being incredibly overwhelmed but also very excited. She talks about how she is so thrilled to finally feel a part of something bigger than herself, which is new to her because she was used to feeling extremely alone.
This young star is truly a role model for many girls and her efforts to bring transparency to a world of masquerade are extremely respectable. Essena writes about feeling “miserable, stuck and uninspired;” her main goals are to help create a social media platform “based on real value and love [instead of] validation, views and likes.”
Essena is a total game-changer, and her fans can’t wait to see what she does next. #GetItGirl