Why there's more to your life story than filtered pouts
She was the beach-hopping, bikini-clad teen with more than 800,000 followers on Instagram. But Essena O'Neill has now taken a stand against the social media site's "contrived perfection". The model has revealed that she is now struggling to pay her bills after abandoning the life of a sponsored social media star. It's time the rest of us moved on from boasting via jpegs too.
One photo, O'Neill has explained, had to be taken over a hundred times to get it 'Kodak-ready'. In another, she revealed that she was paid hundreds of pounds to wear a particular dress. She also spoke out about how she would starve herself for days to get her stomach perfectly flat and a new caption under a smiling selfie ends with a disclaimer, all typed in upper case, saying: "There is nothing real about this."
In an emotional, 17-minute YouTube video, the final one she will post, O'Neill (pictured below) explains: "I'm the girl that 'had it all' and I want to tell you that 'having it all' on social media means absolutely nothing to your real life… I let myself be defined by numbers and the only thing that made me feel better about myself…really was the more followers, the more likes, the more praise and the more views I got online. It was never enough."