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“I think I have traits of it, definitely.” Keira Maguire on narcissism and social media.

Chances are, we all know one. But who really is a narcissist?

Having a big ego or a high level of self-confidence can often be seen as synonymous with narcissism. And although an inflated ego can be a narcissistic trait, the label itself has overwhelmingly become associated with vanity and arrogance.

Add social media to the mix and it’s the perfect storm.

Since starting out on The Bachelor Australia as a contestant on Ritchie’s season, Keira Maguire has been a hit with viewers, known for her quick wit and a lot of self-love.  

But according to the reality TV star turned beauty influencer, there’s a level of narcissism that is kind of needed of you if you wish to thrive in the industry.

The best of Keira on The Bachelor Australia. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.

On SBS this week, Insight unpacked the topic of narcissism, interviewing people who have been diagnosed with the personality disorder, those who have been affected by it and also those who have been accused of being a narcissist.

The one major point addressed: does the word “narcissist” get flung around too often?

With over 140,000 followers on Instagram, Keira has built herself a strong audience who are interested in all things beauty, fashion, skincare and the ‘character’ of Keira herself.

Perhaps it’s this characterisation of Keira on reality TV where people have started to attach the term narcissist to her.

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“I’ve only been called a narcissist in the last couple of years, maybe five times,” she said on Insight.

“On the last show [of The Bachelor franchise] I was on, I was a very strong and confident character, and that is who I am I’m not going to deny that. I speak with a lot of conviction and I back myself but a lot of people tend to see that as a narcissistic trait.”

Media personality and influencer, Kurt Coleman, has had a similar experience.

In his early teens, Coleman became known for his “self-obsessed and proud” shtick on Instagram, regularly posting selfies and captions such as, “I love being pretty.”

“I’ve been known to the public since I was probably 15. I was one of the first ‘influencer’ people to be on Instagram. I was really open about loving who I am. And the reaction straight away was ‘that’s narcissism’.”

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It was a public perception that landed him interviews on the Today Show and Studio 10 among others, with the hosts often asking him some pretty leading questions.

“Have you always been obsessed with yourself?”

“How many selfies would you take a day?”

Speaking on Insight, Kurt admits that people would often want him to play up an arrogant personality. “A lot of jobs that I’ve done they’ve said, ‘can you just walk around the street and say how obsessed with yourself you are.’ I thought it was just funny, I didn’t really think it would be taken as a serious thing.”

“As soon as I started to feel happy with myself, people would start calling me a narcissist.”

Erlias, another influencer who spoke on the SBS program, felt the same.

“I think uploading a shirtless photo on Instagram doesn’t make me a narcissist I think I just look great that day and want to share it with my followers.”

So, what exactly is narcissism and some of the traits associated?

Most, if not all of us, can display narcissistic traits throughout our lives. But research shows that only one to six per cent of us have actual NPD: narcissistic personality disorder

According to Dr Zhen Zang from Wesley Hospital, there are three key traits that make up a narcissist:

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1. Grandiosity.

2. Feeling a lack of empathy.

3. Egotism and needing constant admiration.

Is there a link between social media and narcissism?

Keira noted on the program that her reason for using social media has always been financially motivated rather than a platform to promote herself.

“It’s my job and it’s how I make money. If I had a choice, I probably wouldn’t use it.”

She believes she does in fact have traits of narcissism, but those qualities are relatable to her line of work.  

“Yeah of course I do. You need to have some sort of narcissistic traits: you need to have an ego to be in this industry … you actually need an ego to survive in today’s day and age.”     

“I don’t think that I have a 'narcissistic disorder', but I definitely feel like I have traits of it.”

No Filter: Keira Maguire the cult figure of The Bachelor. Post continues after podcast.

So, it’s not so much whether social media causes narcissism in a person, but whether it brings out those traits in someone who actually has NPD or narcissistic tendencies. 

“People with narcissistic traits or narcissistic personality disorder tend to use social media because it provides a good platform. On the other hand, whether social media has increased the incidence of narcissism, there is some evidence but to me it’s not enough to convince me,” says Dr Zang.

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And there’s no denying that social media can be a great place to find affirmation from others.

Also on Insight was model, author, pageant queen and influencer Kanika Batra, who has been formally diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder.

“Social media is great for external validation. It fuels self-worth. But it’s very fleeting, for narcissists specifically.”

“When I was doing Miss Universe in 2019, I was flying back from Thailand and my first-class flight attendant said, ‘omg I recognise you from Instagram.’ It just made me so happy.”

Kanika is concerned, however ,that the label is being flung at influencers too quickly. 

"The word gets thrown around far too often at social media influencers, models, Hollywood celebrities, and essentially anyone that’s considered to be vain, arrogant or, in some cases, just happy with themselves. It has diluted all meaning and trivialised the personal struggles that those with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) suffer through."

Kurt is also wary. “People should really understand what it is [before labelling].”

To watch the full Insight program, click here.

Feature Image: Instagram @keiramaguire; @kurtcoleman

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