The Sunshine Coast 19-year-old model sensationally turned her back on her 570,000 online followers in early November, denouncing “a culture of superficial perfection”.
On her new site Let’s Be Game Changers the reformed fitspiration idol has posted new videos in which she shares the truth behind the deceit.
She admits to restricting her calorie intake by having “really, really small meals” or “skipping them entirely”, and spending endless hours tanning and in the makeup chair.
Everything she did was based around her looks, rather than how she really felt about herself on the inside.
In one video she points to a stunning portrait that garnered 20,000 likes, but underneath the layers of make-up she says she had the worse skin of her life and was feeling lousy.
“I am an inspiration for meeting society’s impossible standards for women,” she stresses.
“That is not inspirational. Being as slim and as toned as I was in the picture is not creating world change. It’s creating other people to want to be as slim and toned as I am.”
Essena says she’s speaking out in the hope of breaking the shallow cycle.
She grew up with the same way of thinking and posted pictures of fit, tanned and beautiful girls on the wall next to inspirational quotes thinking this was the ideal and totally normal.
“There’s something so inherently wrong with this,” says Essena now.
“These woman fit society’s nearly impossible standards for aesthetic beauty. These standards only exist from social expectations.”
Essena has also deleted around 2000 photos online and re-edited many of those that remain with captions revealing the “truth” behind the snapshot.
In one of her dripping wet in a bikini after an apparent morning swim she writes: “This is what I like to call a perfectly candid shot. Nothing is candid about this. While yes, going for a morning jog and ocean swim before school was fun, I felt the strong desire to pose with my thighs just apare #thighgap boobs pushed up #vsdoublepaddingtop and face away because obviously my body is my likeable asset”
In another she says, “massive push up bra can distort your whole figure. I was 15 here. Don’t be fooled.”
Despite her detractors who continue to question her motivations, Essena says she hopes to initiate a movement where an individual’s worth is not determined by their physical attributes or social media influence.