Eighteen-year-old Australian Instagram star Essena O’Neill has publicly turned her back on a lucrative #fitspo-filled social media platform, a move that is apparently the teen equivalent of taking a swan dive into the smoking pits of Mordor.
Over the past week, Elle reports, O’Neill deleted 2,000 Instagram photos, renamed her account “Social Media Is Not Real Life,” and deleted her widely trafficked YouTube, Snapchat, and Tumblr accounts. On the remaining Instagram photos, she replaced the captions with how she was actually feeling when that photo was taken and whether the post was paid for.
Ironically, since the story surfaced, O’Neill’s half a million Instagram followers have increased to nearly 800,000, but she’s quitting anyway, leaving her desolate hangers-on with the promise to only publish content “organically” from now on:
Yesterday, O’Neill published an emotional and #grateful video to her new website, Let’s Be Game Changers, writing: “Never did I think this would be shared so globally. I have so much I want to say and talk about. Thank you to all these media outlets for helping start this discussion. I am so so so grateful.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever been happier than this moment,” she says, from an empty concrete room. There are so many tiny, beautiful little nuggets of irony nestled into this situation, but do you know what? I can’t really blame her, because I imagine that getting famous for arranging your stomach muscles on Instagram would be very confusing.
Our good pal Essena is rearing up against The Man in the only way she knows how—by getting even more attention—and all I can say is: Namaste, girlfriend.
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Image via screen grab.