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This teen model is proving that what you see on social media isn't always what's real

 
Former social media mogul Essena O'Neill wants you to see through the smoke and mirrors of those picture perfect images she and others have posted online. Behind the scenes of every gorgeous Instagram, the reality isn't always so pretty.

Scroll through your social media feed and you can find countless images of beautiful people that seem completely flawless. It's easy to fall into an Insta-envy spiral. But once you move past the aesthetic attraction, there's a lot more going on. Essena O'Neill, a 19-year-old Australian model, has made it her goal to expose the reality behind a glossy, glamorous image. 

According to Elite Daily, Essena had 580,000 followers on Instagram, 260,000 subcribers on YouTube and 60,000 friends on Snapchat, but after deciding to take a stand against social media, she deleted over 2,000 images—and followed it up by deleting all of her social media accounts next. But before she did, she went through a bunch of notable images on her page and changed the captions to reveal what she was really thinking, feeling and experiencing at the time each picture was taken.

 

"I was miserable. Stuck. Uninspired. Angry," Essena wrote. "I didn't enjoy the act of creating art, writing or any forms of self-expression like I once did as a child." Now, she's launching her own website—Let's Be Game Changers—where's she's focusing instead on learning how to be present and focusing on sharing her life and experience without the need for outside validation.

 

"I didn't live in the real world, I lived through screens," she explains. "And I created a celebrity construct of myself, believing it would bring me happiness. That couldn't be further away from the truth.... I let numbers define me. So let this be very clear, I'm quitting social media for my 12-year-old self."

 

Though there's nothing wrong with an Instagram obsession, Essena's totally right: It can be all too easy to check out your feed and buy into the idea that eveyrone is having just as much fun as they look. Next time you're scrolling through and feeling that FOMO, remind yourself that not everything is as it appears.

What do you think of Essena's move to ditch the Instagram life? Would you go on a social media purge?

Photos credit: Essena O'Neill

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by Ilana Bernstein | 2/1/2016
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