Australian teen Instagrammer quits site revealing 'contrived' marketing income

A leading Instagrammer with over half a million followers has purged her account of images and receptioned many with a skewering analysis of herself and those who generate revenue from the platform.

Eighteen-year-old Essena O'Neill, who has a digital following of over 612k on the site, described the smoke and mirrors involved in maintaining her online persona. This occured while she deleted more than 2,000 of her images which she claims "that served no real purpose other than self-promotion".

She stated that she could easily earn “$2000AUD a post EASY” for her selfies on the site, that this made her ever more “hungry for social media validation”.

Her remaining 96 posts were retagged with hyper-critical comments unveiling the effort and deception present in each of her seemingly candid posts.

O'Neill said: "I just want younger girls to know this isn't candid life, or cool, or inspirational. It's contrived perfection to get media attention."

"I was consumed by [it].This was the reason why I quit social media... I wasn't living in a 3D world."

There was of course another layer to the Instagram purge however as the young social media influencer instead directed her followers to a new website called, designed to ignite "QUESTIONING" among her followers.

Below are some of O'Neill's edits.

NOT REAL LIFE - paid $$$ to promote both the jeans and top. More info on how instagramer's make a lot of $$$ on A photo posted by Social Media Is Not Real Life (@essenaoneill) on

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