Social media celebrity Essena O'Neill has amassed hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr and Snapchat. But now the 18-year-old Aussie says she was living a fake life and is done with social.
"Deleted over 2000 photos here today that served no real purpose other than self promotion. Without realising, I've spent majority of my teenage life being addicted to social media, social approval, social status and my physical appearance," she wrote in a message on Instagram. "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."
She says that she edited dozens of captions on photos on Instagram to more properly reflect what was actually going on. In one pic of her wearing a long white dress, she admits that she didn't pay for it. In another photo, she says he was paid $400 to wear a specific dress.
Essena says she is launching a new website called letsbegamechangers.com. She says that she was so caught up in generating "likes" and "shares" and that the new website will not be about that.
"P.S when the new form of social sharing comes out, something that doesn't revolve around likes and views but based on similar topics/quality for example, I will see you there, whenever that day comes.... We must create change," she says.