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Teen Instagram Star Quits Social Media to Live an Authentic Life

“Without realizing, I’ve spent majority of my teenage life being addicted to social media, social approval, social status and my physical appearance,”

Australian 18-year-old Essena O’Neil had over 500,000 Instagram followers and 200,000 subscribers on YouTube, but a recent change of heart has given her the courage to blow it all up. “Without realizing, I’ve spent majority of my teenage life being addicted to social media, social approval, social status and my physical appearance,” she said. “Social media, especially how I used it, isn’t real. How can we see ourselves and our true purpose/talents if we are constantly viewing others?”

O’Neil changed the name of her Instagram account to “Social Media Is Not Real Life” and has removed over 2,000 photos of herself showing off her ultra-thin midsection and posing in bikinis. Now she works to expose the lies of social media stardom by re-captioning her posts to tell the real story.


“NOT REAL LIFE - I didn't pay for the dress, took countless photos trying to look hot for Instagram, the formal made me feel incredibly alone.”

via Instagram

“l had acne here, this is a lot of makeup. I was smiling because I thought I looked good. Happiness based on aesthetics will suffocate your potential here on Earth.”

via Instagram

“Was paid $400 to post a dress. That's when I had maybe 150k followers, with half a million followers, I know of many online brands (with big budgets) that pay up to $2000 per post. “

via Instagram

“The only thing that made me feel good that day was this photo. How deeply depressing. Having a toned body is not all we as human beings are capable of.”

via Instagram

“There is nothing zen about trying to look zen, taking a photo of you trying to be zen and proving your zen on Instagram.”

via Instagram

(H/T US Weekly)

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