Teenage Instagram Star Reveals The Truth Behind Her “Perfect” Photos

Nov 3, 2015

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

Teenage Instagram Star Reveals The Truth Behind Her “Perfect” Photos

Nov 3, 2015

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

Essena

You know how people photograph their happy moments and rush to post the photos on Facebook and other social media trying to make the world think their life is all peachy? Well here’s one person who made a living doing it; and why she stopped.

Essena O’Neill is a 19-year-old from Australia who used to spend a considerable amount of her time showing off her perfect life on various social media platforms.

With over one million fans, followers and subscribers Essena reached a point where she was able to support herself through sponsorships and was receiving modeling offers from some of the largest agencies out there.

Even though she says she had everything she ever wanted, yesterday she posted a video (without even putting on makeup) explaining why she has decided to quit all social media.

While some accounts will be shut down completely, she decided to leave her Instagram account active but edited the captions to reflect the truth behind those “perfect” moments.

Taking herself off social media “is a wakeup call to anyone and everyone who follows me” Essena said, adding that “’Having it all’ on social media means absolutely nothing to your real life”.

At the time Essena decided to quit social media she had over 570,000 followers on Instagram, over 250,000 subscribers on YouTube (with many of her videos receiving hundreds of thousands of views), 250,000+ subscribers on Tumblr (each), 60,000+ average views on Snapchat.

As you can see, she had a following many could only dream of. While her Snapchat and Tumblr accounts have been closed for good, she left only her vegan-related videos on YouTube but what she did with her Instagram is where it gets really interesting.

Renaming her account to ‘Social Media Is Not Real Life’ and deleting thousands of her photos, she left her Instagram active and edited the captions of the photos “to expose the harsh and often humours reality behind the #goals #instafamous culture”.

https://instagram.com/p/bI1AUFtDU6/

https://instagram.com/p/oc4moYtDUF/

https://instagram.com/p/TsY-IztDdu/

https://instagram.com/p/guiwwjNDUD/

stomach sucked in, strategic pose, pushed up boobs”. A lot of work was put into these “candid” shots:

https://instagram.com/p/W55kWGNDTq/

Even a simple selfie isn’t so simple anymore:

https://instagram.com/p/kLtAJTtDSq/

https://instagram.com/p/lJ-vvXNDTm/

https://instagram.com/p/mmt6C-tDaY/

So why did she do it? Essena asks and answers this question on her new website ‘Let’s Be Game Changers’:

“I found myself drowning in the illusion. Social media isn’t real. It’s purely contrived mages and edited clips ranked against each other. It’s a system based on social approval, likes and dislikes, validation in views, success in followers… it’s perfectly orchestrated judgement. And it consumed me”.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyI2Sugw6Yc

For more information on Essena’s process and some interesting details about how people get sponsored to post certain photos on social media head on over to ‘Let’s Be Game Changers’.

If you have no idea (yeah right) what I was referring to when I said peoples’ lives look good on social media, here’s a video that shows it how it is:

YouTube video

You can also get a humorous look behind Instagram’s lifestyle/travel accounts in a video that will leave you never trusting Instagram again (in case Essena’s story wasn’t enough).

[Let’s Be Game Changers via BuzzFeed]

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels

Liron Samuels is a wildlife and commercial photographer based in Israel. When he isn’t waking up at 4am to take photos of nature, he stays awake until 4am taking photos of the night skies or time lapses. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Facebook.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

18 responses to “Teenage Instagram Star Reveals The Truth Behind Her “Perfect” Photos”

  1. Gvido Mūrnieks Avatar
    Gvido Mūrnieks

    Bueee~!
    I have money and fame, but I am miserable!
    Bueeee~!
    I have to work, to get this money, and sometimes, I have to dirty my hands.
    Boo-hoo!

    1. Gvido Mūrnieks Avatar
      Gvido Mūrnieks

      To be fair. It looks, like girl has finally grown up, but still…
      …Look, what her low self esteem motivated her to do: Work for something and become famous. Is it bad? If someone is motivated to earn riches, by motivation poverty, we look at it as positive.

      Sure, right now, she feels miserable, but, she can get a good therapist and fix her issues in a few months.
      Because in the end – it is all in her head.

      1. Ian Hecht Avatar
        Ian Hecht

        Saying it’s “all in her head” is about as unhelpful as telling someone with a broken bone “it’s all in your arm.”

        1. Gvido Mūrnieks Avatar
          Gvido Mūrnieks

          Well, it is a lot more productive, that saying, that she is miserable because of fame and fortune.
          The difference between rich/famous people and poor people isn’t “happiness”, but options. She just have to realize, that with her hard work, she have earned a lot of options, Now, she just have to learn, how to use them, to become “happy”.

  2. J. Zaring Avatar
    J. Zaring

    Seems to me like:
    A: An almost sensible ploy to start a new venture by having a public breakdown, which is really all she knows at this point.

    B: A legitamate mental breakdown related to being overwhelmed by more popularity than any one person needs.

    My take? Go for the modeling career. Be in charge of what companies you represent that you truly enjoy and/or believe in. During this time building up even more savings, decide what you really want to do with your life now that so many doors were opened for you. Trust me, this is a gift and people will look at you strangely for rejecting the opportunity that they have to work so much harder for.

  3. Sebas Mas Avatar
    Sebas Mas

    nice try to get more followers…

  4. Ian Hecht Avatar
    Ian Hecht

    I applaud this young woman’s push for authenticity in public spaces. With so many young people’s aspirations capped at becoming the next Kardashian, it’s nice to see someone who “made it” speaking out about the realities of the situation. Kudos to her, and I hope she finds something more fulfilling to do with the free time she will now have.

  5. Marcel Schutte Avatar
    Marcel Schutte
  6. Nick Dunlap Avatar
    Nick Dunlap

    Ugh so self righteous. Gag

  7. Arwen Gilbert Avatar
    Arwen Gilbert

    One for school Mandy Crellin? (Above comment notwithstanding)

  8. John Wylie Jr Avatar
    John Wylie Jr

    That there is even a title of ” Teenage Instagram Star” is joke.

  9. Rebecca Maier Avatar
    Rebecca Maier

    It sounds like she was obsessed with the wrong things. She could make a change with social media by making real change. There are many youtubers who show some awesome experiences that aren’t obsessed with self image.

    Social Media isn’t the issue its her train of thinking about wanting to be popular. She could of taken all this popularity and directed some of the money and opportunities towards charity work and the real people she is talking about. Why? because then she could feel the love again

    1. Andy Lyon Avatar
      Andy Lyon

      I was thinking the same, I feel she has misinterpreted her worth to her followers. The accounts are hers, she can change the content over time if she wanted. She can change their direction. It doesn’t need her to just pull the plug, seems a little extreme. However it does sound like she left it a bit too long before she realised it was getting too much for her.

      I simply see this as growing up, her opinions and ideologies have changed and that is to be expected surely.

    2. Rebecca Maier Avatar
      Rebecca Maier

      If you look at her Lets change page it’s still asking if you want to you can support her change and such. My thing is she is still utilizing what she knows best and this may not be her last look online and over generalized.

      She wasn’t happy because she was never satisfied with herself. Just because you become popular doesn’t mean you can’t still try to connect back to others

  10. Rebecca Maier Avatar
    Rebecca Maier

    Also looking on her page she is utilizing social media to “change” how things are. Not a bad message but if you don’t know how to be who you are…. how have things changed?

  11. Demetris C Christodoulides Avatar
    Demetris C Christodoulides

    Look at me, i am too hot. Crying, sobbing. First, hot world problems.

  12. Sarah Richard Avatar
    Sarah Richard

    l’idée de départ est bonne mais le fait qu’elle fasse une vidéo pour s’adresser à tout le monde pour révéler sa “découverte” qu’internet nous rend tous narcissiques et en attente d’approbation, ce n’est pas un peu le serpent qui se mord la queue des fois ? je pense que tant qu’elle aura pas rangé sa caméra elle ne sera pas guérie : vis ta vie petite !

  13. cbenci Avatar
    cbenci

    What a stupid article. Ridiculous and a waste of time. Dear me.