By: Katrina Gross ~Staff Writer~
Thousands of likes on an Instagram photo of model Essena O’Neill with a perfect beach backdrop could lead social media users to believe that the woman’s life is as perfect as the picture. The social media model has recently caused quite a stir, however, by claiming that her pictures, and many social media stars’ photos, as well, are not as perfect as they appear.
Since she was 12, Australianborn O’Neill has been regularly posting on Instagram, YouTube and Twitter, among other social media platforms, to gain followers from all over the world. This has led to an accumulation of nearly half a million followers. Like many other social media celebrities, O’Neill successfully created a career out of posting the blissful photos that show her in perfect outfits with perfect backdrops.
However, in a recent video posted to her Youtube channel, she said that despite all the followers and likes she gained, the happiness from the attention was only temporary. In the same video, O’Neill explains why she decided to quit social media. “What you see on social media isn’t always how it works in the real world,” O’Neill said.
She explained in detail the things that went into many of her photos by changing their captions on Instagram, revealing that the truth behind seemingly perfect and candid photos is that they were often posed. She went to extreme lengths and preparation in order to appear perfect to her followers. O’Neill said she continued to go through the process of posting the videos and photos because the followers and likes made her feel good about herself, giving her a brief a sense of validation that she did not receive from her immediate physical surroundings.
O’Neill has received backlash from other social media stars concerning her decision to reveal the truth behind her posts, with many people claiming she is the only one living a lie. While O’Neill has yet to delete her social media accounts completely, she has deleted many of the photos and videos on them.
This all coincides with her launch of a new personal website, http://www.letsbegamechangers. com, where her message is to spread the truth about her life and what she feels are important messages for those who viewed her and her life as a “goal.”