In April 2010, an up-and-coming lifestyle influencer posted a video to YouTube titled, “RAW FOOD WEIGHT LOSS: I eat up to 50 bananas a day!” In the video, which has garnered over 500,000 views in the eight years its been on the platform, Freelee the Banana Girl tells her audience what she had consumed that day — two liters of orange juice, three liters of water, and 30 bananas.
Since then, Freelee has amassed over 425,000 followers between her two Instagram pages and over 780,000 subscribers on YouTube. She became famous for her rabid banana consumption, her vegan lifestyle, and the drama she brews up on a regular basis.
Now, in 2018, Freelee (her real name is Leanne Ratcliffe) is still reportedly eating around 20 bananas per day and is currently living a nudist, off-the-grid lifestyle in the South American jungle — or so she says. Many of her followers have become skeptical of the lifestyle she’s portraying online. They wonder, how off the grid can she possibly be if she’s still posting photos, uploading videos, and living with the luxuries of electricity and running water?
The vegan blogger has addressed the recent skepticism on social media. “One commenter said I was lying and living in a mansion out here and have a photographer who follows me around taking all my pics,” the Banana Girl wrote in a June 26th Instagram caption. “Not quite hunny.”
She added that she bathes in “pristine stream water free of cost and city pollutants,” and eats a “frugivorous diet which is mostly grown here organically.”[fm_youtube url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UK-aX0_fAw"]
But perhaps followers are having a hard time believing Freelee because of her controversial past. Freelee has had her negative run-ins with other YouTubers and has even been accused of cyberbullying.
In 2016, an article on XOJane recounted an instance where Freelee was taken to court in 2015 after accusing Australian Instagram trainer Kayla Itsines of promoting eating disorders. The dispute was settled and Freelee agreed to take down the accusatory videos.
Freelee has also been quick to chastise other YouTubers, such as Pilates teacher Cassey Ho, Jenna Marbles, and Fleur DeForce, for ditching their vegan diets or not living a wholly vegan lifestyle.
Although Freelee’s new life seems great, we know well enough to take everything we see and read online with a grain of salt. Hopefully she’s learned from her past dramas and is attempting to turn over a new leaf — a new banana leaf, that is.