Four years ago Australian influencer Essena O’Neill sensationally quit Instagram after loudly proclaiming that “Social Media Is Not Real Life”. It was a wild time, I tell you what, because Essena went viral. Like not just Twitter viral but viral-viral because influencers weren’t as big as they are today, and they certainly didn’t just quit their main source of income and make headlines for it. Everybody was talking about Essena, even the goddamn New York Times interviewed her about her choice to nuke the influencer life and expose the reality behind taking the perfect IG pic. It was bizarre. And well, now she’s back.
Last week, Essena appeared on YouTuber Tiffany Ferg‘s series Internet Analysis to kind of just explain the whole shebang.
Essena told Tiffany that she’s spent the last four years studying and working “shit jobs”. She also has a new website called Authority Within which she says is purely opinion and a bit of everything, like things she loves and things that are a bit “fucked”.
She also explained that she quit IG because she felt really lost and was struggling with the fame.
“Instagram came out when I was 14 and that’s when it all kind of started,” she shared. “From 14 to 19, when I quit, that was my whole life.”
“I quit because it wasn’t making me happy, I wasn’t happy. I kept going around in these circles.”
Essena said she’s a very different person now and is “excited” to get back into it, despite all the drama.
She’s also working on a podcast and maybe in the future she’ll return to YouTube but Essena said she’s not ready for that “anytime soon”.
“I’m terrified of the internet but I think I’m a lot more sure of who I like, who I trust, and I think that makes your personality more than just other things.
“… I was very hyper-focused on who I was, my body, how I looked, they were kind of the themes of a lot of my content and my life is so much better that that’s not the focus.”
You can watch her full interview with Tiffany below.
This has been an out-of-body experience.