health

Rawvana has 1.3 million Instagram followers. Here's how it felt when they turned on her.

In early March, a five second clip of 28-year-old Yovana Mendoza went viral.

She describes discovering it as “one of the worst days of [her] life“.

Mendoza, known to Instagram as Rawvana – a portmanteaus of ‘raw’ and and ‘nirvana’ – has an Instagram following of 1.3 million.

Her brand was built off the promotion of a raw vegan lifestyle, encouraging followers to “eat an abundance of delicious fruits and veggies”. Only recently, she launched a new “21 Day Raw Vegan Detox and Yoga Challenge” which she sold for USD$69.

Listen to Mamamia’s daily news podcast The Quicky discuss why the world of vegan Youtubers is imploding. Post continues after audio.

In January, Mendoza shared a photograph of her sitting on a table, holding a basket of vegetables alongside the caption: “6 Years ago I discovered a healthy way of life I want YOU to EXPERIENCE the amazing benefits from a plant based diet. Clear Mind, Weightloss, Clear Skin, Better Mood, More Energy and MUCH More.”

 

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Do you want to cleanse your body and lose weight?? ????OFFICIAL LAUNCH of my new 21 Day Raw Vegan Detox & Yoga challenge starting Next Monday February 18 ???? 21 DAY DETOX for FAST results! ☀ Includes: 1. ???? MEAL PLAN: 100% Raw Vegan meals, Shopping list, Meal prep for the week & Delicious, easy recipes! 2. ???? Yoga Fitness PLAN: Effective & easy to follow video routines that you can do from home! 3. ???? MOTIVATION: Tips & support videos through the week on all my platforms. Supportive online community using the hashtag #RawvanaChallenge2018 Join to achieve a transformation in body, mind and spirit! Everything in the challenge (shopping list, recipes, videos) is in the program???? LINK IN MY PROFILE & STORIES ????. ❤#RawvanaChallenge2019 —————————————————————- Quieres limpiar tu sistema y bajar de peso?? ????LANZAMIENTO OFICIAL de mi NUEVO Reto de 21 Días! Comenzamos este Lunes 18 de Febrero????Link para descargar en mi Perfil???????? Incluye: 1. ???? PLAN ALIMENTICIO: 100% CrudiVegano, Lista de compras, Preparación de comida para la semana & Recetas ricas, fáciles y económicas! 2. ???? PLAN FITNESS de Yoga: Videos de rutinas efectivas y fáciles de seguir, que puedes hacer desde tu casa! 3. ???? MOTIVACIÓN: Videos & tips de apoyo durante el Reto en mis redes. Comunidad de apoyo en línea usando el hashtag #Retoawvana2019 Únete para lograr un cambio de mente, cuerpo y espíritu! Todo el material del reto (Lista de compras, Recetas, Videos) está en el programa. ???? LINK EN MI PERFIL & HISTORIAS????. • ❤ #RetoRawvana2019

A post shared by YOVANA MENDOZA AYRES (@rawvana) on

She also preaches the importance of “revealing your authentic self”. The words sit on the ‘About‘ section of her website.

“Let your authentic side come out!” she tweeted in late 2017.

But on that day, which Mendoza describes as the worst of her life, it was ‘authenticity’ that was the problem.

Vegan Rawvana did not look so vegan as she sat beside a vlogger friend at a table and smiled at the camera, with a plate of fish sitting in front of her.

She shifted her arms as she realised her meal was in frame, subtly trying to cover what was on her plate.

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It was too late, though. Five seconds was all it took.

The video wasn’t uploaded immediately.

On March 13, during the Facebook and Instagram outage Mendoza waited, eager to post a video of herself making a Mexican baked potato.

Once she was finally able to upload it, she realised the tone of the comments was different. People weren’t ‘liking’ the video. They were calling her a liar.

“I went to YouTube and found the video, and I knew exactly what they were talking about,” Mendoza told Daily Dot.

“I felt like someone had died,” she said at the time.

Mendoza then posted a 33-minute video explaining what had happened.

“I’m really, really sorry about the way the news was communicated to you, how you had to find out,” she told followers. “I know that so many of you, you trust me, you listen to me, and you probably feel deceived and lied to and you’re in your whole right to feel that. And for that I ask forgiveness, I’m human.”

Mendoza explained she’d only been eating fish for two months, upon the recommendation of her doctor. After six years of veganism, she had developed some health complications.

She said she’d been diagnosed with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and it was advised she add animal proteins into her diet.

“I could either keep eating the plant-based diet that was no longer working for me in that moment, and continue feeling sick, or change my diet and possibly feel better. So that’s what I did. That was the breaking point,” she said in the video.

Once she began eating eggs and fish, she said she could think more clearly and had an upsurge in energy.

Her apology, however, wasn’t received well.

Only a week prior, Mendoza had uploaded a photograph of herself, and when a fan commented “proof that a vegan diet can work wonders,” Mendoza replied with a series of heart and kiss emojis.

Her YouTube channel as well as her Instagram page was inundated with people posting fish emojis.

She took a break from social media, referring to the period as a “forced vacation” in an interview with Daily Dot.

In retrospect, Mendoza told the publication she’s excited about being part of a conversation about “putting your health first,” and she believes “a lot of good is going to come out of this.”

“I haven’t really taken anything personal,” she added.

For two weeks, Mendoza didn’t post anything on Instagram, an eternity in the life of an influencer.

But five days ago she returned with a picture of herself smiling and the caption: “We came to this world to grow, transform, contribute, and add value. I choose to stay humble to learning and I trust in this process.️ I CHOOSE LOVE.”

Interestingly, the scandal didn’t appear to shift the dial on her follower count at all. She still sits at 1.3 million.

And Mendoza still insists you live a vegan lifestyle, according to her website.

Don’t mind her. She’s just busy ordering the fish.

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