Essays & Confessions

Why I Just Unfollowed A Ton Of My Favorite Instagram Accounts

By | Thursday, September 17, 2015


A question that I often ask, while mindlessly scrolling through my feed, is: “Who are these people?” Yes, I’m following them, so clearly their tactics, be it hashtags or the stunning allure of a nutritious and delicious-looking life, are clearly working. But really, who are these now-famous Instagram models who are equipped with little more than a good filter and a kick-ass bod? It never fails to amaze me how these self-proclaimed celebs have become instantly famous and manage to make thousands of dollars per post. 

Instagram models show off everything from the newest bags and shoes, to luxury vacation rentals on the worlds’ most beautiful beaches. It’s impossible not to lust after their enviable lifestyle. Being draped in the latest styles like almost-famous street style aficionados, and gallivanting around the world with their super-sexy boyfriend is the ultimate #goal. But I’m realizing I spend too much time scrolling through my Instagram feed, fiending for adventure, that new pillow, a fancy meal and a new jacket – all at the same time.

This scrolling-induced thirst showed me the formidable power Instagram models wield over the everyday consumer. With each post they tell you “I live like this, and so can you.” It is for this reason that a well-filtered pic of a particularly spectacular #OOTD earning over 1 million likes can be worth up to $15,000 to advertisers.

Instagram models sell followers so much more than a bag, or a vacation rental. They sell a lifestyle. With each bag, pair of sunglasses, lipstick or vacation, Instagram models connect their followers with products that will get them closer to the luxurious, stylish way of living that they are lucky to enjoy. Some smart accounts even send links to the products featured in posts to followers’ email accounts so that they can more easily spend money.

As someone who works in communications, I respect these strategies. It is smart to capitalize on the connection that Instagram influencers share with their followers, letting strangers into the details of their everyday lives and using the daily minutiae to sell the products that make a house a home. The immediacy of Instagram models makes their lives seem achievable, if you buy all of the products featured in each post.

But this is the very reason I could never be an Instagram models. It’s not because I don’t have the world’s most squeezable butt (though I don’t), or the perfect outfit (again, probably not) or the most-even tan (dear god, no). I won’t ever be an Instagram model because I wouldn’t be able to publicize that much of my everyday life. Instagram models successfully drive consumers to fork over their paychecks by documenting every little aspect of their lives, from their first morning coffee, to their makeup routine, workout regimen, and desk accessories. No date can be kept private, no outfit can go unnoticed, and no day can be taken off. And heaven only knows what happens if your nails are chipped.

Instagram models enjoy luxury sponsorships and extravagant routines, but for the sake of my privacy and my bank account, I cannot let myself fully envy their lavish lives. They work hard to document every moment of every day. And during the moments in-between, they are hustling to collect likes and secure sponsorships. They get their followers to spend money, but give up the magic that can happen in the quiet, unplanned and private moments. There is no way for me to look cute when I get home from a long day at work, and I hate pretending to “laugh” so I look good taking a picture with my boyfriend. And I’m okay with that.

Unfollowing style addicts and globe trotters has admittedly reduced my fervor for new bags, and given me an unexpected way to save some money. It has also spared me additional jealousy, letting me reflect on how great my life, privacy and in-between time really is. My butt may not be generating 300K+ likes on the daily, but I like to think those undocumented moments are worth so much more.

Lizzie is a communications professional based in Washington, DC. When she isn’t at work, you can find her at dance rehearsal or eating – but probably eating. Follow the frolic on Instagram.

Image via Pexels

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