18 year old Instagram superstar Essena O’Neill yesterday dropped a bombshell on her ‘fans’ by announcing she’s quitting social media.

What made this decision such news was that instead of going out quietly, she made the incredibly brave move to ‘come out’ and re-edit all the captions to expose her incredibly staged Instagram selfies.

Essena vulnerably confessed the truth behind her intricately staged lifestyle including feeding her addiction for social media validation and that she’s now decided to pursue real life projects – to only use social media that doesn’t revolve around gaining likes.

How will I spread my message? Organically. If it moves someone, they tell their friends about it, simple as that. – Essena O’Neill

The irony now is that now, starting from scratch, Essena has more of a tribe than when she had 835k followers.

Before, Essena’s staged selfies were essentially a form of gaming the system – doing what others want to earn a like – essentially adding to the teen yoga/vegan/fitness model noise on Instagram.

Now, she actually stands for something – authenticity, vulnerability & self worth – that through her hard earned lessons can only come uniquely from her.

Now that she’s given us a taste of the real, we can no longer see fakes the same way.

Now she has given us a real reason to follow her – to become our more authentic, honest selves.

She may never amass 835k followers again (I sincerely hope she does, and goes even further), but the tribe she gathers and leads from today will be far more passionate, tight-knit and ‘hers’ than any number of followers she was ‘leading’ the old way.

Most importantly, what she delivers from now will come from love, and not for love.

And that’s what the world desperately needs.

We celebrate and honour your bravery, Essena.

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