Australian model breaks down during what she says is her final You Tube video, giving an explosive expose of the social media “business”, and some powerful life lessons she’s learned that are well worth listening to.
Essena O’ Neil is an Australian girl who was made ‘famous’ on social media for her sexy Instagram pictures.
She’s just made a moving, raw video that will probably get shared more than any of her other vlogs combined, telling her followers that she’s giving up social media for good.
And whether you care who she is or not, her passionate and often emotional rant about what is really important in life has a really hard-hitting message for all of us.
“This is for my twelve year-old self,” O’Neill says, referring to the age she was when she began her professional career as a vlogger and serial Facebook poster.
“Back then, she says, she had no self esteem and obsessively stalked models online, dreaming of being as “valued” as she perceived them to be. Gazing too long at Billabong models made her hate her own body. O’Neill, now 18, told herself she would be “of more value if I had more views on YouTube.”
“I let myself be defined by numbers,” she says, breaking up at times and telling viewers over and over to go talk to real people, interact, turn off the phone, stop defining who you are by your popularity.
“If you google the symptoms of depression and anxiety I had all that times a billion,” O’Neill says, mentioning a rich, famous ex-boyfriend who was depressed as hell (like all the wealthy people she met, coincidentally).
“I had everything I ever wanted. Now I’m here and I see how contrived, fake and forced consistently proving to the world ‘how amazing my life/body/self is,” she says.
“I spent everyday looking at a screen, viewing and comparing myself to others. It’s easier to look at shiny and pretty things that appear happy than stopping and just getting real with yourself.
“Social media only became great for me because of the amount of effort I put in trying to portray this ‘perfect’ person. Posting on Instagram consumed me.
“I can’t you how beautiful life is without a phone, without social media, without comparing, or likes or followers. We are not followers, we are beings of individuality and love.”
O’Neill’s testimony also covers how companies and sponsors of social media “stars” are cajoled and bullied as much as any celebrity in the music industry.
People like her are actually told what to post and at what time, she reveals. It’s a big business, workers are exploited, and all that matters is the click-bait. ‘Fame’ brought O’Neill nothing but misery and emotional trauma, judging by this video.
O’Neill’s message to screen-addicts far and wide is one of those must-watch videos. She makes us think about what really matters: Is it love, friendship, leisure time and real-life connections, or how many facebook likes your holiday snaps are getting?
She has created a website where she will start blogging about the dark side of the social media “business,” and she’s re-captioned all her Instagram posts (you HAVE to check them out) with brutal honesty since her recent (spiritual awakening?). Instagram is currently going crazy over it- she’s definitely started a big movement. Here’s one comment:
“I’ve been crying for about 10 minutes at how accurate and devastating the social construct of our generation is. @essenaoneill I can not tell you how inspired I am- I’m a 15 year old girl, like many other teenage girls I struggle with self acceptance and ‘norms’ to a somewhat high degree.
“My mum showed me your page and it’s funny because I used to follow you when I was a little younger, saying to myself, wow she is my goals, and of course there is nothing wrong with that but eventually I did end up unfollowing you since the perfection in every picture was dimming my own self esteem, as were all the other perfect Instagram famous girls.
“I can not describe in words how happy I am that you’ve started this movement, I literally can’t put it to words- it’s the most important thing in our generation right now. Teens are killing themselfs [sic], starving themselfs [sic], editing their pictures to no end, being someone their [sic] not, trying so hard to be accepted, struggling with the one concept we all feel forced to conform to: perfection.
“We need kindness, realness, acceptance, less judgement, social hierarchy to not mean a thing anymore! You are so so inspirational, this is exactly what is going to chance the world for the better, it’s a true chance to empower with REALNESS!”