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An Australian Influencer Got Real About Disordered Eating & Living Off A Diet Of ‘Tapas & Cocaine’

Even though we all know that the glamorous life of an influencer requires a lot of smoke and mirrors to maintain that beautifully filtered, aspirational branding. But one influencer recently opened up about how ugly that pretty-for-pay industry can get. 

In a Q&A with her instagram followers, influencer, model and mommy blogger Ruby Matthews said her “life was tapas and cocaine” in an attempt to stay extremely thin — which, she acknowledges, is something plenty of her peers are also constantly trying to do. 

“I did a lot of cocaine, like a lot so basically I just smoked cigarettes, had long blacks and did coke,” Matthews said. “And in between, had the tapas. Like my life was tapas and cocaine.” 

While that line “my life was tapas and cocaine” has made the rounds online as a bit of a punchline, Matthews was really candid about how damaging the effects of influencer culture could be — and how the work of making an Instagram feed seem so effortlessly ~aesthetic~ can do a lot to hide the IRL problems a person is facing.

Especially as more and more accounts gain notoriety for posting “aspirational” content, it’s all the more important that we look critically at how our social media consumption might be warping our sense of what human bodies are supposed to look like and what we’re willing to do to reach goals that are reductive (and uninteresting, and unhealthy) as they are unattainable. Some studies even have linked use of instagram with disordered eating — particularly one from University College London (UCL) that found a link between instagram use and rises in Orthorexia Nervosa (which is a disorder where a person obsesses over so-called “clean” or healthy eating.) 

“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,” she said. “Like people don’t really realize how easy it is to hide something. Whether it’s addiction, depression, anxiety.”

As PEOPLE notes, Matthews says she’s since overhauled her health habits — crediting motherhood with helping her make the change.

In a recent instagram post, sharing a photo from four years before, she wrote: “What a difference 4 and a bit Years make. I was pretty tiny here, I actually have no desire to look like that ever again. The [modeling] industry is a tuff [sic] industry with the expectation of you having to look a certain way.”

If you or someone you love are living with an eating disorder, you are not alone. You can contact the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) helpline at (800) 931-2237

Katherine (or Katie) is the News Editor and resident witch at Her Campus. She first fell in love with journalism while attending SUNY New Paltz ('14). Since then, she has worked on the staffs at MTV News and Bustle writing about politics, intersectional social issues and more before serving as staff researcher at Lady Parts Justice League. Her work has been published in Women's Health, the Daily Dot, Public Radio International (PRI) and WNYC and she's been a regular panelist on a few podcasts (mostly screaming about repro rights.)  She is a Libra with a Taurus moon and a Scorpio ascendant, which either means nothing or everything. She loves strong diner coffee, reading tarot for strangers at the bar and watching the same three horror movie documentaries. She lives in the Hudson Valley with too many animals.     
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