Comments 100

  • WOW so excited to be able to chat with Essena, and share this interview with you all. ENJOY 🙂
    0:00 – intro (ps plz check out my podcast – Previously Gifted – and vlog channel!)
    0:36 – I got a DM from Essena O'Neill ?? + background info about her
    2:30 – "behind the image" series
    3:30 – her "letsbegamechangers" website
    4:12 – she accepted donations for content creation, but then shut down the website. scam??
    5:08 – back to my DM from Essena… am I being catfished??
    5:43 – skyping with Essena!!
    6:35 – after 4 years, Essena is back! what has she been up to??
    7:46 – why quit social media altogether, instead of staying as a more positive and honest influence?
    8:51 – what is it like to go viral? how did people respond, online and IRL?
    11:28 – was this all for marketing and self-promotion? how was a website meant to be different than social media?
    14:02 – how do you respond to people who say you stole the money / scammed people?
    15:30 – what exactly did you do with the money? offering refunds?
    17:25 – what happened with the book you wanted to write?
    18:25 – do our lives improve when we quit social media? do we exist if we aren’t online?
    21:12 – did you really quit social media completely, or did you have private accounts, still?
    21:53 – were you tempted to go back to social media? & what did you miss most?
    24:38 – are you still vegan?
    25:33 – should Essena and I collab on a early-vegan-youtube-era video??
    26:04 – how has it been being back in university?
    28:39 – explain the concept behind your new site, AuthorityWithin
    29:55 – how do you feel about social media now?
    31:33 – podcast & other future plans?
    32:29 – your current fav creators?
    33:29 – final thoughts?

  • oh my god i was literally thinking about essena YESTERDAY she had such a big impact on me when i was a young teenager

  • Wow I am so happy for you on the 1 mil views on your last vid!! Love that for you

  • I'm so glad she's doing better. I've thought about her now and then and at the time I couldn't work out if we were watching a marketing campaign or a teenager break down right in front of us.

  • Great interview! Btw I always thought she looked like the girl who was in 10 Things I Hate About You

  • This should be #1 on trending

  • looooove how free she seems 🙂 she sounds like a stressed out 20something who's trying to find meaning in this mess of life, which is ALL OF US. i love this.

  • i would totally watch her if she came back to youtube with more informed/real content

  • I think Essena should have a convo with Caroline Calloway

  • About to be 26 min and just realized Essena was holding lighter that whole time

  • Never heard of this girl. Am I still gonna watch it? Yup!

  • I felt like I have waited for this for so long! I’m an Aussie and Essena inspired me to go vegan, my friends and I would religiously watch her and wanted to be just like her. When she quit social media it ignited this flame in us and opened up a conversation. She has helped me so much and I’m so happy she has done this interview.

  • Love your shirt

  • Please please please talk about Freelee!!

  • honestly don’t know who the hell she is

  • So happy for you girl can’t wait for this channel to finally bow up!!! I’ve been following for years now

  • "… I felt so alone and alienated…" Yep I got you boo. That's also one of the reasons of my endless sadness

  • your content has so much intention and labor put into it, i appreciate your work so much!!!

  • This is CRAZY! I’m so glad you’re the one covering it

  • Only OG vegans remember her!

  • 2015 me is SCREAMING

  • I’ve been watching you for a couple months now without subscribing and i just realized you were under a million, you’re channel is so great i literally assumed you had a million subscribers.


  • Love Essena ! glad she's doing okay <3

  • Tiffany I’m 22 years old and I’ve probably been watching you for 8 years at least. Keep up the good work! You deserve a million more views!

  • Omg for some reason she reminds me so much of Pam from The Office!! I watched her back in the day and it's so cool to see her again now

  • Just popping in here to say I cannot wait to watch this tomorrow morning💕 🙂 I'm going to sleep now but I have something to look forward to tomorrow

  • DAAAAMN! I love this girl (and also you haha) I'm like 😱😱 she inspired me a lot to get out of social media. Not putting the "responsibility" on her, I was already thinking about it and the videos just helped me, so thank you so much, Essena! I'm out of Instagram from three years now and it worked pretty well for me, for my life. Wish you both all the best!! 💕

  • Welcome back Essena!!!! So happy you’re back, and so happy queen Tiffany and you will be collaborating more in the future 💕

  • YES to early vegan era video!

  • holy shit, tiffany!

  • She really inspired me to kinda quit social media too. It was great for me. Btw, I've been thinking about come back to it for the past 3 months, I am finishing college and social media is important for network and be there for clients to find you. Not sure how I gonna do it, but it is in my plan for the next year 🙂

  • glad you’re finally getting the recognition you deserve tif 💗

  • She’s so lovely and candid! I really enjoyed this video, props to you both.

  • I’m gonna cry I missed her so much.

  • Thought this was super interesting! Would love to see a collab. She brings such a unique perspective of having the opportunity to capitalize on social media, but turning it all down and choosing something else instead. Most kindergarteners now say that they want to be an influencer when they grow up, and I think she’s really one of the only people I’ve seen seriously talk about why social media isn’t for everyone.

  • Tiffany I love you and this video, but I beg of you not to wear this shirt in front of those sheets again bc it looks like you’re sitting in front of a green screen and it’s tripping me out

  • I guess I am too young by a couple years because I don't remember who this is at all…yet I still watched the whole video??

  • Can we all just take a moment and appreciate how genuine and transparent she is being? Even if she didnt exactly address some of the questions, there is SO much more to take from her response which was so vulnerable and real. In the end, we really are all just figuring things out, including who we are and what we want to contribute to the world. None of us have the right to sit here and judge for her expressing her truth after multiple trial and errors… Huge inspo i loved that

  • Can you please make a video talking about instagram. Basically the pros and cons of the app. What it is doing to our society. The negative impact it has on young adults and children and inappropriate content on insta. Thank you so much if you see thid comment I really hope you make this video!

  • LOVE HER namaste 🙏

  • I missed her oh my

  • You’re just so uplifting to watch. A positive source of energy in the world, and you always bring something completely different and unique to this platform. Just adore you. 🥰

  • Woah whaaat? Essena is back? I would check now and then on Google to see what she was up to now but never found much. It's nice to hear from her again.

  • I hope she can work through this stuff, it's clearly hard for her and took an emotional toll

  • I get the vibe that Essena was a really big influence on you maybe during a time when you felt lost or were struggling, and that you definitely idolized her. I totally get your excitement over her contacting you and wanting to collab. But honestly though, I don’t feel like her ability to either a) speak coherently about the lessons she’s learned and (supposed?) emotional maturity she’s gained from what she went through, or b) her ability to speak with knowledge and intention about the kind of topics you discuss, is anywhere near the level at which you do those things on your channel. I visited her blog and it reminded me of like…when you’re in first year poli sci and start to read Karl Marx and Nietzsche for the first time and go around feeling so much more enlightened than everyone else and just like quoting random lines from ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’ and talking about how we’re all just cogs in the capitalist machine until you realize you’ve become completely insufferable. That, plus some like…pictures off tumblr. That’s her blog. I guess I’m just saying her answers didn’t feel super genuine or really even very self reflective. I love your content and think the stuff you make is better than that.

  • This is the drama follow up I wasn’t expecting but thought about occasionally eating my cereal or brushing my teeth since 2015

  • whoaaaa this is so crazy!!!! thanks for sharing this!!! <3

  • seeing people use Skype in 2019 feels like watching people play retro games

  • Its so strange. She looks like your typical Aussie girl from down the road.

  • I found Essena on youtube some time in 2015 when she was doing this little series trying to get in better shape. At the time I was unhappy with my own body so I was drawn to that kind of content, thinking that everything would be different if I could just look different. I remember being surprised but impressed when she decided to quit social media. I always knew on some level that I was following her for the wrong reasons so I appreciated it when she started recaptioning her pictures on Instagram and sharing how she really felt. It woke me up.

    There is something so mature and vulnerable about be willing to admit that you didn't know everything or didn't have a full view of an issue, to come back and risk putting yourself under fire again. When everything happened, she alienated people in the extreme way she went about things, but I think I understand. I've been that person who wants to think about the world in an overly simplified way, who just wants to stand for something, and has missed the mark in the process. I think most of us have been that person at some point, we just didn't have the misfortune of doing it so publicly.

    Yes, the money situation was a mess. It wasn't okay to donate money that had be given to her for a specific purpose and I'm glad she is honest about handling it badly. I hope people can be kind to her. Like she said in the video, this was never really about social media or no social media. Social media if just a medium. This was about where derive our self worth and what really matters in life. I don't care if she "quit," if she wants to have some kind of platform to continue having these conversations, I think that's wonderful.

  • I'm really glad she mentioned how she had something special with her audience, I remember watching the niche vegan community videos at 15 and Essena was just so positive and fun to watch in a sea of freelees

  • Damn ya'll are tearing her apart. I personally see a girl with a lot of strength and integrity, who is being scrutinized as soon as she returns to social media. Just proving her right, huh? She reminds me of a lot of intelligent YOUNG women I know, let's remember she's figuring out a lot and is in a pivoal moment in her life. A series would be super cool, especially because I want to know their thoughts on raw till 4 and that bs.

  • Ok so I don't know this girl or this drama but a few of the concerns people had just seem so…petty. They were donations and I highly doubt that she was getting huge bank from it, to call it a scam that someone was getting donations to make content and then stopped making content seems very hysterical.

    Second the "aren't you a hypocrite for having a website?" No? Social media is very different than having a personal website, they are completely different experiences and I think that everyone actually knows this, for people to try and make that a "thing" just seems like facetious pot stirring. Vultures just picking at the remains of this girl's self esteem.

    She seems like she is in a better place and I wish the best for her.

  • Reminds me that people are human and that’s cheesy but if you pick apart the actual meaning life is so much more and it’s full or absolute joys and agony that we should celebrate that people are living and fighting to find that harmony everyday like bravo girl ❤️ I hope the best

  • I am so happy your channel is getting the recognition it deserves!❤️❤️❤️

  • Ahhhh Essena looks truly so beautiful now.. I can see that she is healthy mentally and physically. So so beautiful. Glad she approached YOU!!!

  • Not many 19 year olds are as self aware as she was. She needed the social media break for sure. Wish her well 💖

  • I found your channel two days ago and binge watched so many of your analysis videos. Keep it up, its so interesting!

  • I think the interview was fine. She rambles. She starts to answer and then kind of looses the question on tangents. I tend to do that too. She just needs to learn to be more concise. I always felt her intentions were real. Of course she misses the money and having the platform. Influencers are all in it for the money. They may also enjoy the job but they are all trying to get paid. She couldn’t handle the pressure before but maybe she can now. Four years is a decently long break. I don’t know how many have sAid they are taking a break and come back in a month or less. She experienced real life. Gained some insight. If she decides it’s not for her she can always quit.

  • If anyone scrolling the comments is looking for a takeaway: people who believe in UBI would otherwise want to do as little as possible for their money including model cheap Chinese clothes and ask for undeserved donations for doing zero work. Don’t fall for neoliberal technocratic schemes.

  • You went to my high school! I love your internet analysis series. Your videos are so informative and you're so well-spoken. Glad to see you're doing well and making such a difference!!

  • I just can’t get over how pretty your eyes are 🥺💓

  • So many people are still mad about the donation thing, but literally 95% of influencers advertise so many garbage products that they don't even like or use to try to take advantage of their followers who look up to them and want to be like them. They make posts raving about products with their personal discount codes, but most of them wouldn't even post about the products if they weren't getting paid. Sometimes they can make 10 grand for just ONE post, but they don't mention this monetary advantage to their followers. That is also sketchy, but people are not as triggered by it for some reason? She literally had a link that said support me… there were no details about how often she would post or how long she would post for.

  • I'm now reading through and it's barely more coherent than this interview. Damn essena, you have some interesting viewpoints but learn how to express them in a cohesive manner. Ramble less and maybe, I dont know, smoke less weed?

  • this is SUUUUUCH a good interview!!! i fucking LOVED how she responded to the questions with such raw feeling like she had no filter even if she was “ranty” like it makes her more real and not like she already had a gameplan for this. how she admitted abt how she doubted herself when people criticized her by saying “shit am i?”. we stan.

  • What’s funny is she is brushing off the “OH I donated the money to random charities”…. we’re really believing that? But if James Charles OR someone like that said that, cancel culture would ensue.

    Highly doubt she donated to random charities , highly likely she spent that money personally.

  • Essena was such a role model to me growing up! And I’m glad she got out when she did. She’s the biggest reason I can process social media in a critical way today ❤️

  • I had no clue who Essena was coming in but I definitely have some opinions coming out. Though I would be interested in seeing some influencer/early vegan Youtube content with her perspective, I don't think she's at the point in her journey where a long series would be a smart move on your part; not because I think she's inherently untrustworthy or anything–she came across as genuinely well meaning in that interview–but because she seems like she's still building herself up as a person after being in a situation that was emotionally traumatic for her.

    That being said, she did scam people…and while she likely didn't go in with that intention and might have been trying to minimize that somewhat, she didn't deny it. She's (rightfully) uncomfortable talking about it, but she admitted that it was something that she should be making amends for. While she's been in situations she didn't have the foundation or experience to deal with, and made choices that she still regrets, it sounds like she's spent time examining both the outside factors that helped inform those decisions and building herself a stronger foundation. Coming back to social media and restructuring the way that she interacts with it is probably a necessary part of her journey in order to move forward with her life, though not necessarily a commitment to the creation of content, or at least that's how her 'grain of salt' comment came across. It's also why, though I think that she's actively working towards her second chance, you should be a bit wary; she hasn't completely renegotiated her boundaries yet and by making yourself a part of that process you're opening yourself up to potential complications.

    Alternatively, it could also be a good experience, but because she's someone you'd admired, I feel compelled to mom-friend you and remind you to be careful.

  • Only 2 minutes into the video, but I wanted to say that Essena was the first person who inspired me to go vegan.

  • She seems so Nice! Love her. And this series.

  • Omg I thought about her sometimes and was like I wonder what happened with her

  • i had never actually heard of her before now, but she seems like a really smart and cool person. lowkey would love to be her friend, she seems like an amazing person

  • Universal Basic Income and Andrew Yang?!? So amazed to see those (subtly) here in this vid. Politically Incorrect ep.?????????????? or did you do a UBI vid already….?

  • Very interesting 😁👍

  • Omg I remember her

  • Omg I remember her

  • Can you do a video about Caroline Calloway??

  • Subscribbled to the vlog channel. Prob not gonna have time to watch it but you're a great YouTuber!


  • I went vegan because of her. ❤️❤️❤️

  • "orientated"

  • Would love to see a Shane Dawson-esque series from you and Essena!

  • Omfg yeeees

  • It's shocking how it's all about timing. If you are too ahead of your time, people see you as "crazy". If she did all of that 1 year ago, people would have seen her as a hero.

  • I always wondered about Essena! I really enjoyed this interview, very insightful!

  • i watch most of your videos (especially your recent ones), but today i got into your podcast as well, i love it!!!

  • Her voice seems to have changed quite a bit

  • So glad to watch this video I have always been curious about what happened to her over the years. I used to look up to her and followed her since I was 13 on tumblr !

  • What she did is the equivalent of Patreon now and even if she was using the money for personal things like paying rent, that’s fine, that’s what a lot of you tubers do.

    She mentioned doing repayment plans for people, if you donated to her and feel scammed get in contact with her and see if you can claim your money back.

    But I don’t think she intentionally scammed people, a charity confirmed that she had donated a large sum of money to them when all of this exploded years ago. She was a young girl and YouTube was different 4 years ago, she wouldn’t have had a manager and an editor telling her how to handle things. People forget it was a different time.

  • I swear i have no idea who this girl is… and i was on youtube and tumblr back then…. wtf ahahahah

  • at the VERY end of her instagram “career,” she was following 10 people… I was one of them. at the time, I had a mere 2,500 followers and was so confused. when she left social media and deleted her instagram, random news anchors were commenting on my shit asking to interview me when I didn’t even know who she was. it was one of the weirdest things EVER. completely forgot about it until this popped up in my suggested.

  • Oh my god I love her. I am so happy she is back!!! Honestly, hearing she has been studying is awesome. I have taken such a long break from school because I have been so distracted. Education is so important to me and she is the epitome of how I feel inside. I am so excited to see her content and what she is doing. Truly motivating 🙂

  • i feel like the comments just hate australian accents. damn stop judging women on how they speak and making baseless judgements on her character bc of it :/

  • As an Australian, this has shown me how much we all swear.

  • Aw she’s so lovely

  • Tiffany your makeup looks really pretty

  • I can hear the aniexty in her voice and this is exactly what social media does, it messes with your mind and as someone who is clearly an overthinker, I am glad she left when she did x

  • This is super interesting. I went vegan thanks to her viral videos. I was already decided to be vegetarian, I had no idea why dairy and all animal products. Thanks to all that exposure I've been vegan for almost 4 years and have converted a few people in my life. Funnily enough I live in SE Queensland too which was the early day vegan YouTuber home base lol.

    Thanks for the inspiration and good to see you've done well.

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