You may follow Essena Oneill on Instagram, and if you don’t you will have probably come across her on your discover page because she has over half a million followers and 250,000 Youtube subscribers! But now this 18 year old Aussie has decided to quit the insta-fame game for good.
“I found myself drowning in the illusion. Social media isn’t real. It’s purely contrived mages and edited clips ranked against each other. It’s a system based on social approval, likes and dislikes, validation in views, success in followers… it’s perfectly orchestrated judgement. And it consumed me.” Explains Essena.
She could make up to $2000 for posting a single picture through endorsements, but she has turned her back on quick cash to live out what she is truly passionate about.
“I guess I decided it was easier to better myself with superficial things like booking big jobs, more money, nice apartment, car, clothes…Now I’m realising none of that makes me feel stable – being myself, learning, giving, writing, expressing does.”
Essena has rewritten all of the captions on her pictures to explain why she posted it and what she was really feeling at that time, rather than what the image was supposed to portray.
“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.”
“I have created a large following through creativity, hard work, passion and drive since I was 16 on social media. Before that I worked at McDonald’s, then a fashion boutique. I fully support myself financially. I went to university because I was scared I couldn’t pursue my true passions…I was scared I wouldn’t be ‘relatable’ and that I should ‘do the right thing’. I was scared I wouldn’t have enough money if I didn’t have a stable job. I was scared I would fail. I told myself ‘you’d never make it’. Now I’m at a point in my life where I can either peruse modelling/endorsements full time or be my creative self and write (my biggest passion)/ make videos/ talk about real change.” Says Essena.
“I legitimately think this is a different person. Oh 15 year old Essena I just want to hug you and tell you how much more free time you would have had if you didn’t care about your appearance, social media, what others thought. You probably would have pursued writing, or something real to you. But everything happened for a reason. And I only look at my younger self with compassion and purpose to change current social expectations.”
For more, check out her new website letsbegamechangers.com