Instagram star Essena O'Neill decided to quit social media -- at 18 years old.
The teen Internet star, who amassed a following of over 750,000 people on Instagram and over 260,000 subscribers on YouTube, seemed like she was living the "perfect" life on Instagram. She posted photos of herself on the beach and in glamorous homes, wearing bikinis and tight dresses, not a hair out of place.
But O'Neill wants the world to know all of that was fake and that she was part of a dangerous cycle. On Monday, the Australian posted a video on YouTube about why she decided to quit social media, admitting "everything I was doing was edited and contrived."
"I spent 12 to 16 wishing I was that perfect person online," she said. "Then I spent 16 to 18 proving my life on social media, perfecting myself enough to be that person. Everything I did in a day was to be that perfect person online... I did everything in my power to prove to the world that 'Hey! I'm important, I'm beautiful and I'm cool.' But is making your whole day proving to everyone else that you're amazing, is that life? Proving yourself online? Taking pictures just in hope to get likes and compliments?"
Look at how easy we have made it to constantly view, compare and judge each other? I was addicted to what other's thought of me, simply because it was so readily available. I was severely addicted. I believed how many likes and followers I had correlated to how many people liked me. I didn't even see it happening, but social media had become my sole identity. I didn't even know what I was without it. Posed pictures, edited snippets, carefully planned captions was what I identified myself as. I lived in the illusion. But please, don't get me wrong, I'm incredibly grateful for this.
On Tuesday evening, she deleted her Instagram account, including the photos with edited captions about what actually went on behind the scenes.
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This story has been updated to show O'Neill deleted her Instagram account.