As embarrassing as it is to admit, social media is the first thing I check in the morning. To be more specific, I check Instagram. According to Time Magazine, I am not alone. Around 26% of those between the ages of 18-24 check their phone immediately upon waking up.
Instagram has evolved immensely since 2010 when it was launched as an app to simply share photos. In the past two years, it has become a platform that allows brands to pay people to promote their clothing, beauty products, food, you name it. Something about this platform intrigues me. People are making commission off posting luxurious photos of their lives or their outfits. It’s something most people, including myself, would dream of doing. However, there is a price to pay when life is put on display for the public’s eyes to see.
Olivia Jade, daughter of actress Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, is a YouTube and Instagram celebrity who, up until recently, was living the dream almost all 19-year-olds could dream of. With almost 2 million subscribers on YouTube and 1.4 million on Instagram, she seemed to have it all. Her channel consists of vlogs, beauty tips and tricks and her infamous luxury Christmas hauls where she showed off the Chanel handbags and Balenciaga sneakers she had waiting for her under the tree.
It was revealed March 12 that Olivia Jade and her older sister Bella Giannulli had benefited from their parents cheating the college system to gain them admission into the University of Southern California. While this story was making headlines across the country, Olivia was on a yacht in the Bahamas celebrating spring break with her friends. The best part: the yacht was owned by her friend’s dad, Rick Caruso, the chairman of the USC board of trustees.
Olivia, a freshman, and her sister, a sophomore are just two students out of 47,500. USC has an 18% acceptance rate making it difficult and cutthroat to get in. Lori Loughlin and Mossimo Giannulli bribed the college with $500,000 to accept their two daughters. They lied and staged photos, making them seem fit for the crew team, a sport neither participate in. They took the place of other hard-working students and real college crew athletes that could have been accepted.
In a video made by Jade prior to attending college, she said: “I don’t know how much of school I’m going to attend. But I do want the experience of, like, game days, partying.” She later had to make an apology admitting she has an interest in getting an education and how grateful she is that she can attend college.
Looking back now, it all seems like a bunch of crap. There are girls who look up to Jade and Loughlin and Giannulli used their money, celebrity ranking and access to cheat the system. It has shown the world that they are the type of people who think money and bribery is the way to succeed in life. They lack humble characteristics.
Social media influencers give off the idea of an exquisite lifestyle but that is never really the case. Behind the posts, behind the captions, there are real human beings.
Everyone makes mistakes but mistakes are something that happen on accident.
Jade knew what she was doing.
Yes, parents have an influence over their children and can dictate what they do and say. However, parents are supposed to be the people looking out for their children; having their best interest.
Her parents let her down and let down the people who look up to her.
She is no longer a role model to girls and boys across the world.
Instagram is no longer a social media platform where people post cute pictures of their dogs or just a night out with friends.
Girls are being paid to go on trips to Turks & Caicos or Hawaii to take pictures, promote brands and share it with their followers.
While this situation doesn’t apply to all, it applies to most.
The Urban Dictionary has its own definition of what a social media influencer is. “A jobless s**thead who testifies his joblessness by means of s***ty posts and ideas to brainwash other dumbf***s into believing his futile s**t.”
Besides all of the cuss words, many people would describe it this way.
People like Chantel Jeffries with 4.3 million Instagram followers, Anastasia Karanikolaou with 3.5 million followers and Emily Ratajkowski with 22.2 million followers have become the influencers girls look up to.
Maybe it’s for their looks or their bodies, or even their sense of fashion but these women have become the real deal.
However, these people’s lives aren’t all glitz and glamour like the seem to be.
These girls were nobodies until they were somebodies.
For instance, Chantel Jeffries became a DJ and Instagram model with the help of her pal, Justin Bieber. Karanikolaou gained her fame from being longtime friends with Kendall and Kylie Jenner.
Senior sociology major Brooke Langella and follows influencers for different reasons.
“My favorite Instagram influencer is @marillewellyn because she is big into fitness but is also really into women supporting each other to be the best, healthy version of themselves,” Langella said.
Mari and other positive influencers show their audience that being strong and healthy is just as sexy as the girls posting in cheeky bikinis.
Instagram influencers might look like they have perfect lives, but in reality they are people who don’t always make the right decisions.
“I think that Instagram influencers have a big impact on society, especially on the younger generation,” Langella said.
Knowing the impact these “perfect” human have should make them more conscious of what is being posted.
Not everything on the internet is what it seems, and it’s disheartening to know that there are younger people who strive for this form of perfection.
“I find some, not all, to be quite pretentious because they let the idea of fame to get to their head,” Langella adds. “And instead of promoting positive beliefs to spread positivity throughout social media, certain individuals simply focus on themselves.”
Don’t just believe in people because of their following. The number of followers doesn’t determine what kind of a human being they are.
The influencers who promote health and support each other are the ones to look up to and follow.
Be careful when considering who is a role model—not everyone is who they seem to be on the internet.