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WATCH: Why this Instagram star revealed she was 'living a fake life'

She has deleted thousands of photos and quit social media.

INSTAGRAM CAN MAKE life look wonderful: sepia-toned lovely long brunches, rambles down foggy streets, showing off your fit body on the beach.

At least, that’s what it can appear to be.

The life of popular Australian teen Instagrammer and model Essena O’Neill seemed to encapsulate the glamorous side of Instagram.

But now she has decided to come clean to her half a million followers about what’s really behind those photos, and how damaging it can be to use Instagram popularity as a benchmark for living life.

She has deleted around 2,000 of her photos, and gone back to put new captions on many older pictures, giving the ‘true’ story behind them.

essena 1 Instagram Instagram

On her Instagram, she 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. It’s contrived images and edited clips ranked against each other.
It’s a system based on social approval, likes, validation in views, success in followers. It’s perfectly orchestrated self absorbed judgement. I was consumed by it. I spent majority of my day aimlessly scrolling, hours on YouTube…
There’s a select few photos I left here, half are original captions that I believe to be educational, the other half are photos that deluded you. It was never my conscious intention, but I deluded a lot of people…Call it deception, manipulation, lying, not saying the whole truth… I was both addicted to social approval and terrified no one would value me for myself.

She also made this video on why she made her decision:

Essena ONeill / YouTube

Describing her move as “a wake-up call” to anyone who follows her, O’Neill said: “I had the dream life… to a lot of people I made it.”

I was surrounded by all this wealth and all this fame and all this power, and yet they were all miserable, and I had never been more miserable.

“It consumed me,” she said in a second video about social media, describing how she would get up every morning and immediately look at Instagram and Tumblr. “I was living in a fake life.”

She also detailed how she took part in a system that prized people for their appearance, and how she did not realise how much money there was in social media.

essena 2 Instagram Instagram

Now O’Neill has set up a new sit,, where she says the aim is not to gather likes, views, or followers.

Her move has been applauded:


What do you think of what Essena O’Neill has done?

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