A popular Instagram influencer and Australian model, Ruby Tuesday Matthews, just shed light on the unhealthy behaviors she used to take part in an effort to maintain a thin body — and the conversation has definitely got people thinking. Especially because no one had a clue.
The influencer told her 198,000 followers via a livestream that she, “did a lot of cocaine, like a lot… So basically I just smoked cigarettes, had long blacks, and did coke. And in between, had the tapas. Like my life was tapas and cocaine.”
Referring to her behavior as an addiction, she went on to say, “A lot of people never really understood like how I could eat and still be so thin. But I guess it’s pretty easy to hide an addiction. Like people don’t really realize how easy it is to hide something. Whether it’s addiction, depression, anxiety.” This is especially the case on social media, where people can pick and choose what they want to show their viewers. If you’re only showing people the picture-perfect, filtered moments, and keeping everything else behind the scenes, then yes, that would make it easy to hide the less glamorous parts of life. And easy for people to believe that nothing is wrong.
Sadly, Matthews also mentioned that what she was doing — extreme dieting coupled with dangerous drug use — wasn’t far from the norm for other influencers. In fact, an estimated 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S. alone.
While one of Matthews’ latest Instagram posts mentions that she has “no desire to look like that ever again,” it’s not entirely about the way she looks. It’s about how she was treating her body.
While it may be easy for some to point fingers at influencers for their behavior, the truth is that there is a lot of pressure on people — especially women — to be beautiful and thin. The issue runs deep and is systemic, so it’s no wonder it’s affecting even the people who seem to have the most glamorous of lives.
Living up to an idea is a challenge — but for many, it’s a goal. Instagram, as you probably know, is a place where popular influencers of all backgrounds curate a narrative that usually makes them appear happy, healthy, and well-balanced. But between airport outfit snaps and fancy foodie pics, there is a truth that people rarely see: The fact that people go to great lengths, usually in not-so-glamourous ways, to get that “perfect” shot.
One Instagram influencer recently faked a trip to Disneyland (yes, you absolutely heard that correctly!) to make a point: that what goes on on Instagram is largely a deceptive illusion.
There are even stories of agencies turning normal people into Instagram stars — all in an effort to sell a lie to the masses.
Sure, some accounts are simply entertaining or even inspiring, but there are countless others that can subconsciously influence viewers, especially impressionable young women, causing them to try to attain an unattainable or unhealthy body type or size.
With this in mind, it’s great that more and more people are talking about health in an individual and authentic way.
Everyone’s body is different, and “health” means different things to each of us. In the end, we have to continue making a space for these sorts of convos while also providing people the support and love they need to feel good about themselves.
It may sound cheesy, but being kind goes a long way. That, and not assuming everything you see on Instagram is real life.
Ruby, we support your health and we thank you for your voice on this topic!
For any readers who need help, contact a trusted source or the National Eating Disorder Helpline.