Image: Kayla Itstines/Instagram.
Essena O’Neill, 18, had accrued almost 600,000 Instagram followers and 250,000 Youtube subscribers who were drawn to the breezy, beautiful, carefree-yet-glamorous lifestyle she depicted. However, this morning she quit social media altogether.
O'Neill's Instagram username has been changed to 'Social Media Is Not Real Life', and she's updated all her existing captions to reflect exactly what was happening in each of her styled-to-perfection photos — with fairly brutal honesty.
"I had acne here ... I was smiling because I thought I looked good. Happiness based on aesthetics will suffocate your potential here on earth," she captions the above image. (Post continues after video.)
Now, inspired by the 18-year-old's "fantastic" candour, another high-profile Instagrammer has shared her philosophy on keeping social media realistic.
Adelaide-based personal trainer Kayla Itstines has almost four million followers thanks to her wildly popular fitness guides, but she's determined to keep her feed as honest and authentic as she can in a world where perfection and artifice tends to get all the likes.
"Three weeks ago, I made a post explaining 'a side of social media that you don't see'. What it REALLY takes. I explained that it's not as simple as posting a few photos of beautiful food, new clothes, luxury items (whatever celebrities post) and ?BAM?, life is amazing," Itstines writes.
"On my account, I'll tell you now, you don't see a lot of things. Not because I don't want to show you, because I cannot physically take a photo of them. Things like... the 5am wake ups, the late nights, the constant bullying, the lack of support and understanding of friends, the stress.... and so much more."