The 'real reason' model Essena O'Neill quit social media
TEEN model Essena O'Neill, who quit social media earlier this week, became disillusioned with her celebrity status after breaking up with her LA-based actor boyfriend, friends have claimed.
In a teary video, 19-year-old O'Neill from Queensland's Sunshine Coast announced she was quitting social media, revealing the extent to which her online persona was edited.
She discussed living in LA with other social media personalities and spoke of dating someone "way more famous that me".
A source close to O'Neill says she was referring to LA heartthrob Blake Michael, best known for his role on the Disney show Dog With A Blog.
Michael, who has over a million followers on Instagram - almost double O'Neill before she closed her account - reportedly met the model at a house party in July.
The pair dated for "a few weeks", according to the source.
During O'Neill's time in LA, she slept on the couch of friends and YouTube personalities Nina and Randa, who said their guest began to "hate LA and I guess everyone along with it" according to the Daily Mail.
"The reason she is so upset and so down is because of the break up with this guy... what she is saying is fake," they said.
O'Neill's spokeswoman told the Daily Mail via email: "Essena is not doing any more press at this stage and does not want to comment any further about her decision to quit social media.
"Instead she is focusing her time and efforts into her website, "Let's Be Game Changers" and also writing her first book."
As she noted in her first video, O'Neill said she was negotiating sponsorship deals in LA when she realised, "at the pinnacle of success" that she didn't want to continue on the path she was on.
"I was dating a guy that was way more famous than me - 'famous' - way more successful, had an amazing car, beautiful beyond words. And he was f***ing depressed!" she said
"I was like, 'what? You have everything!'."
She talked about being surrounded by wealth, fame and power, yet everyone was miserable, and that she had never been more miserable. "I'm the girl that had it all. And I want to tell you having it all on social media means absolutely nothing to your real life."
Earlier this week O'Neill sparked a flurry of interest when she recaptioned many of her Instagram images to reveal the truth about the time and effort taken to create her pictures.
She explained the reason behind her change of heart: "Without realising, I've spent the majority of my teenage life being addicted to social media, social approval, social status and my physical appearance.
"Social media, especially how I used it, isn't real."
"It's a system based on social approval, likes, validation in views, success in followers. It's perfectly orchestrated self absorbed judgement."
Despite interest from the likes of Good Morning America, she has deactivated her Instagram and YouTube accounts, concentrating on her new website, Let's Be Game Changers.
She has also made a plea for donations, explaining in one video that she could no longer afford rent.