Article by Raise Vegan
Essena O’Neill — the vegan influencer who made global headlines when she quit social media in 2015 — has returned to various online platforms.
“So coming back online… I’m terrified!,” she wrote on her first post-return Instagram post — a sentiment which may not be surprise to those who followed her teenaged internet career.
The posts O’Neill has made since have not been about herself, nor have they featured pictures of her — as her pre-departure posts so often did — but have focused on people she’s inspired by, including accomplished vegan YouTubers Kristen Leo and Tiffany Ferguson.
O’Neill has also since appeared in a YouTube video with the latter, in which the pair discuss her departure and her return to the online world.
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“Not Real Life,” Said Vegan Influencer Essena O’Neill
At the time of her highly publicized departure from social media, O’Neill had broken 600,000 Instagram followers, and was making what she said was “$2000AUD a post EASY” off of her online efforts — but, according to O’Neill, there was a sinister side to her success.
Having removed well over a thousand pictures from her feed in 2015, O’Neill made clear in both a YouTube and series of Instagram posts that she was unhappy and unfulfilled by her online success, and wanted to change her messaging.
“I just want younger girls to know this isn’t candid life, or cool or inspirational,” she wrote on one post.
“It’s contrived perfection made to get attention.”
Only time will tell whether the now twentysomething’s experience will be different this time around.
Social media — powerful tool or inevitable curse? Will Essena O’Neill stick around? Let us know your thoughts in the comment below.