Saturday 1 October 2016

'I can't afford my own real life' - Instagram star who publicly quit platform now can't pay her rent

Former social media star also claims she was proposed an "online relationship" to build her follower base

Published 12/11/2015 | 10:50

Essena O'Neill/Instagram
Essena O'Neill/Instagram
Picture: Essena O'Neill/Instagram

Instagram star Essena O' Neill(19) has revealed that she is struggling to pay her rent after quitting the life of a sponsored social media star.

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Essena went viral last week for quitting Instagram, posting a video revealing her presence on the platform "was not real life" and editing all of her photo captions to show the "real" side to the snaps.

She blasted the online culture as fake, contrived and "not real" and announced she was deleting her accounts - with 500,000 followers on Instagram and over 200,000 on YouTube and 60,000 on Snapchat. She announced the launch of her new site, letsbegamechangers.com and promised fans that her new content would never be sponsored. She asked fans to "pay what you think (the website)'s worth" in order to allow her to forgo this method of income.

Read more: This Australian blogger got real about what it takes to be Insta-famous and the reality is pretty grim  

However, Essena recently posted a video update to the site in which she admitted that she has not made enough income from her new venture to afford her rent.

"I can't afford rent right now" she said. "It's like I am embarrassed to admit that I need help... if this (website) is of value to you then please support me because I can't afford my own real life".

"I'm not a purist. I need money to cover the basics. If you get something from what I'm doing, pay what it's worth to you", she wrote on her website.

Since that video Essena has posted another new video on her website which claims that she was asked to fake a relationship with another social media star to increase both of their follower base.

In the video, hosted on Vimeo, Essena claims that a "famous male supermodel" approached her and proposed an "online relationship".

"He thought that it would go crazy.... He said we’d have all this free travel, that if we became a couple we’d both bump up our followers. We could make YouTube videos and make heaps of money".

"He referred to a lot of people who were doing just that. And he said in the industry it is not unheard of to do this, that it is actually really smart and that I should think about it as a business proposal".

She referred to the proposal as "sad".

"I think it really shocked me that this person was only pursuing me because I had a big following".

The edited captions on her photos included "would have shouted at my little sister to get (the picture) until I got one I was happy with" and "I didn't pay for the dress, took countless photos trying to look hot for Instagram, the (dance) made me feel incredibly alone".

Social media stars claiming to be friends of Essena's blasted the teenager's move after she went viral around the world, labelling it a "hoax".

Read more: Essena O'Neill: Friends of the Instagram star claim her social media boycott is a 'hoax'

Irish blogger Suzanne Jackson since weighed in on the debate, saying "there's some truth" to the accusations of the nineteen year old.

Read more: Top Irish blogger Suzanne Jackson on Essena O'Neill's social media storm: 'There's some truth in it'  

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