The 19-year-old Instagram model who quit social media says haters are just proving her point

When 19-year-old Instagram model Essena O’Neill quit social media, the story quickly went viral.

She received backlash almost as fast.

O’Neill, an Australian model, built up hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram before announcing that social media made her “miserable,” and vowing to expose the truth about her photos. She posted a 17-minute video message explaining her decision, which went viral. But soon commentators were calling her out for not immediately deleting her Instagram and using YouTube, of all platforms, to blast social media. Others criticised her for using her new website,, to solicit donations from fans.

The most pointed criticism came from two friends who called O’Neill’s whole story “a hoax” in a lengthy video. The friends, YouTubers Nina and Randa, said O’Neill was being a hypocrite by continuing to post online, and that she only quit Instagram to get more attention.

Amid that backlash, O’Neill is fighting back, and has since completely deleted her Instagram and YouTube accounts.

On her website, she said that her critics are only proving her point. “But this is my exact point about social media. PEOPLE SAY GOSSIP AND RUMOURS TO AVOID THE REAL PROBLEMS,” she wrote in response to Nina and Randa, adding, in a video, that “I’m kind of already over the headlines to be honest” and that “there are so many individuals that deserve headlines over me.”

Story by Tony Manfred, editing by Stephen Parkhurst

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