While she watched a rabid media pack waiting for her deportation from Indonesia over the weekend, convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby started an Instagram account.
And in just 72 hours she gained more than 143,000 followers. This is almost double what prime minister Malcolm Turnbull (75,867) has, and almost 10 times the following of opposition leader Bill Shorten (15,500).
Instagram didn’t even exist until five years into her sentence, but Corby seems at ease with her newfound status as an “influencer”. Her first post was on Friday, about the dogs that she was leaving behind in Bali:
She has also since posted shots of her parole papers, friends and family and the intense media scrum surrounding her carefully staged exit from Indonesia.
The majority of responses to her Instagram posts appear to be supportive with comments such as “Happy you are home”, “enjoy your life back in oz” and “Welcome back to Australia and the Gold Coast.. Stay strong and positive as you pick up the pieces of your life again… You deserve every happiness”.
But some responses are critical of Corby’s conviction and the attention she is receiving (“dont know why so much fuss about her coming back to ausrealia [sic] gives people the wrong impression to smuggling drugs that is what she did”).
Corby was convicted in 2005 for attempting to smuggle 4.2kg of marijuana in a bodyboard bag through Denpasar airport. She was jailed for 20 years but had the sentence reduced multiple times over the years, eventually resulting in a release on parole in 2014.