"Nothing is perfect about spending every single day making your life look perfect online," says Essena O'Neill in an emotional video

By Gabrielle Olya
November 03, 2015 06:00 PM
Courtesy Essena O'Neill

Australian Instagram star Essena O’Neill decided to overhaul her social media accounts in an attempt to show that what you see online is not real life – and the reaction she’s gotten has been overwhelming.

In an emotional video posted to her new website Let’s Be Game Changers, O’Neill, 18, breaks down crying, saying that she is shocked with how well her message has been received.

“I don’t think I’ve been happier than this moment,” she says. “Two days ago when I released this site, I was really scared. I was scared that no one wanted to hear the truth, that everyone was going to think that I’m an attention-seeker, that I’m just complaining – but this message that likes, followers, views, that we’re more than a number, it’s going global.”

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O’Neill then shows the numerous emails she’s received from major media outlets that want to bring attention to her story.

“I feel so grateful that this is being spread, that this is actually getting out there, that young people can find out the reality behind the ‘perfect Instagram life,’ and how nothing is perfect about spending every single day making your life look perfect online,” she said.

“That is not real, and that is not inspirational, and there is so much more we could be doing than editing ourselves and proving ourselves to others,” she continued. “I’m so happy that this is finally something real and people are talking about it. Eating disorders, mental health disorders – there’s so much that goes into the pressure to fit in, to be liked and it’s so not real. Focus on individuality, that’s all that matters.”

O’Neill renamed her Instagram account – which has 861,000 followers – “Social Media Is Not Real Life,” and re-captioned her photos to explain the real stories behind them. She also posted her last YouTube video, which further explains her decision to quit social media.

“I had everything I ever wanted,” she wrote. “Now I’m here and I see how contrived, fake and forced consistently proving to the world how amazing my life/body/self is.”