16 Secrets To Becoming Instagram Famous That No One Ever Talks About

Whether you like it or not, we are in the age of the Instagram celebrity. An Instagram celebrity, in case you were wondering, is someone with a large following who posts a lot of aspirational pictures of their #ootd, their makeup, their fabulous vacations, gorgeous candid photos, cute relationship photos, beautiful home decor shots, and more.

An Instagram celebrity is someone who posts a grainy photo of their dinner in a popular restaurant and gets 3K likes for seemingly no reason. An Instagram celebrity is someone who seems to have enough money and time to do everything you’ve ever wanted to do but you have no idea what they do for a living. An Instagram celebrity is someone who lands on the popular page for wearing another version of the trendy outfit you’ve seen on every other style blogger that month. An Instagram celebrity’s life seems effortlessly glam, chic, wonderful, happy, perfect, and ideal. #Goals. 

But one Instagram celebrity is finally speaking out in a very bold way. User Essena O’Neill, an 18-year-old from Australia, is sick of the false facades she and other Insta stars have been putting up. She is so sick of it that she’s speaking out, editing all of her captions to be more truthful, and deleting images. Essena, who currently has almost 600 thousand followers, has said she’s been living a fake life to look good online – and she’s been completely unhappy doing it.

So, she’s speaking up. Like I said, she has changed the captions on her photos to reflect the truth behind them. She’s shattering the “perfect” and unattainable views we all have of Instagram bloggers who have a lot of followers, and it is beyond interesting. It’s also inspiring. So, want to know how to become Instagram famous? Here are 16 secrets no one ever talked about – until now. And just to be fair, we added in the fake photos we’ve posted too, alongside Essena. This will make you think of Instagram totally differently.


1. Get brands to sponsor you.

One big secret Insta famous people with bottomless closets share? They are sponsored by brands who pay them to wear certain things. Or they get free clothes or accessories and “pay” by posting a photo that looks natural. This happens all the time. And while it’s fine to do endorsements for money (that’s basically like modeling!), it’s not okay to act like that’s just your life when it’s not. It creates a false ideal.


2. Take a ton of selfies before posting one.

You know those beautiful selfies you see online where the blogger looks incredibly gorgeous and it seems like they just took a quick shot before going on with their fabulous lives? Yeah, that’s not accurate. Everyone takes a ton of selfies before painstakingly going through them to find the one they like best. I do it too! It’s a running joke with my sister and friends that I have hundreds of selfies on my camera roll because I take tons before I post. There’s nothing wrong with posting a photo you’re happy with, but let’s not act like we didn’t try.


3. Use a bunch of different photo editing apps on one photo. 

Almost every single Insta celebrity out there uses photo editing apps outside of Instagram to create a flawless selfie or photo. I know some bloggers who use three, four, or five different apps on one image. Have you ever seen the app Perfect 360? It can literally wipe away your pores and blemishes, change the color of your eyes, apply makeup, and make you look thinner.


4. Make staged photos look candid. 

One thing Insta celebs are famous for? Their candid photos. These “candid” shots make it look like this blogger is ALWAYS having more fun than you. But check out this caption – most of the time, they’re posing. Seriously.


5. Dress up just for the picture.

It is so amazing that Essena said this. A lot of bloggers get clothes, have to photograph them, and end up getting all done up JUST for an Instagram photo. Doesn’t it look like she’s going out somewhere awesome? You, and most of her followers, were fooled.


6. Always act like you’re having the best time no matter what.

Just looking at this photo, you would imagine that Essena had the best night of her life. But in her updated caption, she comes clean on how she actually felt very lonely. I’ve done this before. I’ve picked one great photo from an outing, posted it, and made it seem like my whole day was perfect, even when it wasn’t.


7. Develop unhealthy outfits to look good for likes. 

Want people to comment on your images saying #bodygoals? Great! Just stop eating and start working out obsessively. It’s so brave of Essena to admit to this type of behavior, because it’s so common.


8. Base your self esteem on the amount of likes you get.

If you only care about what your followers think, then you’ll really commit to becoming Insta famous. Guys, it’s not worth it. Use this girl as your reason why.


9. Act like you were doing something different than what you were doing. 

Not real life. Only reason we went to the beach this morning was to shoot these bikinis because the company paid me and also I looked good to society's current standards. I was born and won the genetic lottery. Why else would I have uploaded this photo? Read between the lines, or ask yourself "why does someone post a photo… What is the outcome for them? To make a change? Look hot? Sell something? I thought I was helping young girls get fit and healthy. But I only realised at 19 that placing any amount of self worth on your physical form is so limiting! I could have been writing, exploring, playing, anything beautiful and real… Not trying to validate my worth through a bikini shot with no substance #celebrityconstruct

A photo posted by Social Media Is Not Real Life (@essenaoneill) on

Without the updated caption, this picture makes it look like Essena was having a fun day at a gorgeous beach, and someone snapped this. Nope – she literally went to the beach ONLY to take a photo. What you see isn’t always what’s happening.


10. Eat or drink something JUST for the photo.

True life: once I made a mug of tea because I thought it would look cute in my picture, and then I NEVER DRANK IT. Embarrassing but true. Ennesa inspired me.


11. Wear push-up bras and other clothing items to make yourself look “better.”

Massive push up bra can distort your whole figure. I was 15 here. Don't be fooled.

A photo posted by Social Media Is Not Real Life (@essenaoneill) on

Again, so inspiring to see these kinds of real captions. How many Insta famous people have bodies you envy? And how many of them are actually real and not the result of good angles, filters, or extra help?


12. Pretend to be someone you’re not.

Who wants to like pictures of a girl who is having a bad day when they could like pictures of a girl who looks like she has it all together? Appearances are deceiving, guys.


13. Let your food get cold while photographing it because you need the perfect image.

Saturday mornings #breakfastbowl #coffee #healthy #yums #talesfromthebackrow #relaxing #quinoabowl #reading

A photo posted by Jessica Booth (@jboothyy) on

This is my photo. One morning, I made myself a breakfast bowl and it looked so pretty that I wanted to take a picture. I took it outside and grabbed a book I had just bought. I took so many pictures of this bowl that by the time I ate it, it was cold. And I didn’t even read the book that morning. Why? For 59 likes? That was the last time I let delicious food get cold for the sake of an Instagram picture.


14. Force people to do a million different poses for you.

GoPro or selfie stick? It makes a difference!!! #wfugrad

A photo posted by Sara Hendricks (@saratopia) on

Our Editorial Assistant Sara is responsible for this. She said she forced her brother and sister to spend 10 minutes taking this photo before she deemed it perfect enough for Instagram. And come on, who hasn’t been there?


15. Sit in weird, uncomfortable poses so that you look good.

Post to be.

A photo posted by sarah (@srhwnt) on

Our social media expert Sarah is in this photo. She admitted that she jutted her hip out in a totally awkward, uncomfortable way just to look good in the photo. She also admitted that she tried to make it look candid when it was posed. Who hasn’t twisted themselves into a weird position for a picture?!


16. Act like something odd is totally natural to you.


A photo posted by Ashley Reese (@offbeatorbit) on

What? Who DOESN’T cuddle with their magazines? This is our writer Ashley, who says she spent a lot of time posing for this photo and trying to make it look totally natural.


What do you think of Essena? What did we forget to include? Tell us in the comments.

You can follow the author, Jessica Booth, on Twitter or Instagram.

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  • Sober Sista

    This is a really good article about the non glamorous side of Instagram. Still, though, there are people who want to be instagram famous. There are companies that can help, like Mohr Publicity.

  • Blank Slate

    Okay this is completely ridiculous. Instagram is an awful website first of all. A mini facebook encouraging you to fake having this amazing life and it ruins people’s self esteem faster than any school bully would think possible. Here’s a little fact: If being “Instagram Famous” is stressful, if it lowers your self-esteem, if it makes life difficult… don’t friggin do it. Do not complain over these sort of things when it isn’t necessary. You do not have to fake a glamorous life if it makes things hard for you. Instagram is a dumb website that makes you feel bad for no reason and there is literally no reason to participate. No one is telling you to lie about your life. No one is telling you to do this. Here’s one last thing. According to you about Sarah: “She said she forced her brother and sister to spend 10 minutes taking this photo before she deemed it perfect enough for Instagram”. Tell Sarah that is stupid. I don’t mean any of this in a mean way, but there is no reason to take a “perfect” photo for instagram. No need to force people to waste 10 minutes of their time to take a “perfect” photo. You don’t need to go out of your way to look good for people. Let me tell you something. Perfect doesn’t exist. Nothing is perfect. Not me. Not you. No one. Nothing. Instagram makes it seem like you have to be perfect in order to get likes. Likes do not define you. You define you. I don’t mean any of this in a harsh way, but just remember that doing this is completely unnecessary. There is no reason to complain. Don’t let Instagram, a stupid social media outlet, control your life. Who knows. It might end up like Myspace, and none of this will matter.
    Don’t complain about Instagram. Instagram is a stupid website/app that, in the grand scheme of things, in this great wide world, in your life, means nothing.
    Have a good day.

  • artist star

    this is a freaking awful post! its telling you that oyu got to make yourself look better better better and stop eating and just work out. no one should take this advice its awful. this is the kind of stuff that can make people depressed.

    • jbooth1031

      It’s satire 😉

  • Lily

    you spelled her name wrong. it’s essena, not ennesa!!

  • Lily

    ugh, you spelled her name wrong. it’s essena, not ennesa!! what a dumb f***

    • Leasia

      chillll oh my god