How many of you, like many others around the world, are addicted to Instagram? How many of you think that one day, someday, you’ll be able rid yourself of the addiction?

One popular Australian “social media celebrity” lives to tell her tale.

Before deciding to quit Instagram, 18-year-old Essena O’Neill had over 600,000 followers. After she put up her (now removed) YouTube video a few days ago, her Instagram followers count leaped drastically to a total of 922,000 followers. Why, you ask?

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Source: instagram.com/essenaoneill
Source: instagram.com/essenaoneill

Because social media is not real life. Her words, not ours.

The Australian teenager-turned-model first shot to fame for her healthy vegan lifestyle, inspiring fitness advice, and seemingly beautiful world. However, in her “Why I REALLY am quitting social media” YouTube video, she revealed that her “perfect life” was staged, and that it does get lonely at the top. “Everything I was doing was edited and contrived,” she said, urging other to quit social media.

On 27th October, Essena deleted more than 2,000 pictures “that served no real purpose other than self-promotion”, and dramatically edited the captions to the remaining 96 posts in a bid to to reveal the manipulation, mundanity, and even insecurity behind them.

Source: instagram.com/essenaoneill
Source: instagram.com/essenaoneill
Source: instagram.com/essenaoneill
Source: instagram.com/essenaoneill
Source: instagram.com/essenaoneill
Source: instagram.com/essenaoneill
Source: instagram.com/essenaoneill
Source: instagram.com/essenaoneill

As seen in the posts above, her re-edited captions point to a lonely world full of pressure and isolation, with beauty and fame the only aspiration. She describes the world that she was living in as “2D” and says it made her “incredibly insecure”.

But prior to deleting all her social media accounts, Essena was able to generate an income from marketing products on Instagram. “$2000AUD a post EASY,” she revealed.

Alas, it came with an even higher price as she confessed:

A 15-year-old girl that calorie restricts and excessively exercises is not goals.

Insecure and lonely, Essena skipped meals in order to stage her “perfect life” while working on her “Insta-career”. Needless to say, her dramatic rejection of being a “social media celebrity” has won her praise – and more followers.

After a whirlwind few days of garnering attention for her courage to quit social media, Essena opened up again about how she feels about the way people have responded to her radical shift to quitting Instagram.

In a new video, a teary Essena says, “I don’t ever think I’ve been happier than this moment. I was scared that no one wants to hear the truth, that everyone’s going to think I’m an attention-seeker, that I’m just complaining. But this message that likes, followers, views – that we’re more than a number – it’s going global.”

Watch Essena’s emotional video below:

https://vimeo.com/144421923

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What do you guys think though? Does she really sound like a girl who has simply cracked under the pressure of advertisers and modelling agencies? Or is she just doing this for more attention?

Feel free to discuss in the comments box below!

Sources: The Guardian, Yahoo! Health, Teen Vogue.

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Lainey
Eats, sleeps, & breathes music, but drinks mostly coffee & okay, some wine - sometimes, a little too much. A little too obsessed with the number seven, is deathly afraid of horror movies, believes that she writes better than she speaks, & currently feeling a little strange writing a profile about herself.