19 Year-Old Instagram Star Reveals The Truth Behind Her Perfect Photos

November 3, 2015

Essena O'Neill is a 19 year-old Instagram star from Australia. At the age of 15, she began posting photos of herself on social media hoping to become "Facebook famous."

Over the course of 4 years, Essena built a social media empire with more than 766,000 followers on Instagram and more than 250,000 YouTube subscribers. To her thousands of fans, it seemed like she had it all.

But in reality, Essena was very unhappy.

She realized that her social media life was unauthentic, and now she's on a mission.

Earlier this week, Essena announced to her followers that she is quitting social media and is editing the captions on her "perfect photos" to tell the truth behind the pictures...

teen instagram star reveals truth about photos
Instagram

"I was obsessed with 'likes'. Well, really, I was obsessed with the idea of being liked by others," she wrote on her website. "I somehow managed to convince myself that when I was 'Facebook Famous' I would forever be happy. I figured, the more people that clicked 'like' on my photos, the more people actually liked me in real life. Pretty simple right? To be Facebook Famous meant everyone liked you. Girls wanted to be your friend, boys wanted to date you. Everyone talked about you, watched you, stalked you, wanted to be you. It was my dream at 15."

teen instagram star reveals truth about photos
Instagram

"Girls would upload together and have sleepovers revolving around 'watching their photos'. People would gossip about likes at school, over text, to teachers, to parents… 'She got 200 likes, she's basically a model now'."

teen instagram star reveals truth about photos
Instagram

"Craving attention validated through social media I believe shows a gap in real life connections."

teen instagram star reveals truth about photos
Instagram

teen instagram star reveals truth about photos
Instagram

teen instagram star reveals truth about photos
Instagram

teen instagram star reveals truth about photos
Instagram

teen instagram star reveals truth about photos
Instagram

teen instagram star reveals truth about photos
Instagram

teen instagram star reveals truth about photos
Instagram

"We just keep putting up staged photos in desperate hopes others will approve. I have a lot to learn… but I am enough. Right here, right now, I am enough. I don't have to be or do anything, I am already everything I want to be… it lives inside of me. Not on a screen."

teen instagram star reveals truth about photos
Instagram

(h/t) BuzzFeed

Visit Essena's new website, LetsBeGameChangers.com, where she tells her story in depth and hopes to encourage others to be present and live authentically.

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