Australian Instagram model Essena O’Neill, 19, went viral last month after quitting social media, calling it “fake,” and saying it made her “miserable.”
In a new video on her website, O’Neill says she’s much happier after shutting down her social media channels, but reveals that she once felt the pressure to look mature beyond her years.
“I did one massive loop from being that 11, 12-year-old, too tall, feeling big and bulky in her body, to then sexually objectifying herself and then receiving mass amounts of praise, attention, and value from society,” O’Neill explained. “That right there is pretty damn f-cked up.”
O’Neill says that she learned how to gain a massive following: “If you wanna be successful on social media, number one, show flesh. You need to look sexually appealing to get followers, to get attention.”
O’Neill caught on quickly, and grew up quickly, too.
Story by Aly Weisman and editing by Chelsea Pineda