We asked 15 people why they’re unfollowing influencers, and Dubai isn’t the only reason

‘My timeline looks good now and that’s all that matters’


During the pandemic we’ve all spent a lot more time on Instagram. And rather than this extra time make us love influencers even more, the general feeling is we’re all sick and tired of them.

Last week everyone kicked off at influencers on holiday in Dubai claiming to be working hard, even Phil and Holly on This Morning got involved. People on Twitter said they were going to unfollow loads of them and it turns out they actually stuck to their word.

A large number of influencers including Too Hot To Handle’s Chloe Veitch, Love Island’s Anton Danyluk and Amber Gill all lost over 15k followers whilst on their “very important” work trips in Dubai.

And it’s not just ex-Islanders people are unfollowing. Since the pandemic began people have been using this time to really reflect on their Instagram feeds and what they’re seeing on their daily scrolls. We spoke to 15 students and recent graduates to ask them who they had unfollowed recently and more importantly, why.

From unfollowing due to a lack of original content, promoting fast fashion and displaying micro aggressions of racism, these are just some of the reasons people have been unfollowing influencers:

They push out such an unattainable, fake lifestyle

I barely follow any of the Love Islanders or MIC lot any more, nor do I follow the Kardashians. They push out such an unattainable, fake lifestyle and their whole image is so disingenuous. They often post about being natural but then you look at before and after pics and they’ve had so much work.

via Instagram @bellahadid

I’ve got too many friends whose self esteem has diminished simply because they’re constantly comparing themselves to Bella Hadid or Kendall Jenner. There’s plenty of better, more inspirational people out there (and ones with an actual personality) to follow – I don’t miss seeing their content at all.

Lucy

They just acted like they had a really hard job

I unfollowed Molly-Mae because of her ridiculous fast fashion habits. In every vlog she’d be like “I have no space in my wardrobe but here is a haul of five coats because I need more” when she obviously doesn’t.

I unfollowed Maura, and people like that when they went to Dubai for two months during like Tier 3&4 restrictions and they were always posting them partying and going out.

I unfollowed Sophia and Cinzia because they just acted like they had a really hard job when all they realistically do is go to each others houses, order Deliveroo to film a YouTube video and try on new clothes.

Sanj

I’ve unfollowed people like Grace Beverly who preach about productivity all the time

I unfollowed a load of influencers during the first lockdown last year, they were honestly just making me feel like shit every time they came up on my feed and I was just like, you’re not adding anything to my life and making me feel worse.

via Instagram @gracebeverley

I kept a few of them who I felt like I actually cared about their lives, but more I’ve recently unfollowed loads of Love Islanders like Amber Gill who’ve gone to Dubai because they were annoying me.

And I’ve unfollowed people like Grace Beverly who preach about productivity all the time because I was honestly just sick of seeing it during lockdown. Now I pretty much only follow Megan Barton Hanson and Dr Alex.

Izzy

I’ve swapped them out for influencers who promote things like body positivity

I’ve unfollowed a lot of influencers over the last few lockdowns who were making me feel bad about myself because they deffo were not honest about work they’d had done, angles of photos, etc.

I’ve swapped them out for influencers who promote things like body positivity or who are transparent or who just post wholesome content because honestly social media is so toxic and I just couldn’t be arsed with comparing myself to people whose lives are literally them getting paid to obtain an unrealistic beauty standard.

Ellie

I just feel so uninspired by influencers

I’ve unfollowed influencers such as Amber Gill and Zara McDermott for pushing productivity and fitness in a way that I felt made me feel guilty for not doing the same thing.

I just feel so uninspired by influencers who keep pushing their less and less relatable lifestyles and who don’t show the rest of their days when they’re not working out, drinking protein shakes and being active and “productive”.  I also unfollowed any influencers who share “to do lists” in a way that feels like a  constant reminder that they’re doing more than you.

via Instagram @zara_mcdermott

I’m lying in bed, having just eaten a family bar of chocolate watching them do all this and I feel like the way I’ve chosen to treat myself and make myself happy during lockdown is now the thing I feel most guilty for. Sometimes I do just want to watch TV and not go out, other days I’m really motivated to go on a run and a walk.

Olivia Bowen posted yesterday that she’d spent the whole day eating and doing nothing, whereas last week she was in the gym every day, that’s the shit I wanna see.

Hayley

I felt his content had lost its originality

Having followed Julius Dein, a magician and influencer, on Instagram  for a long time, I decided to unfollow him as a result of the way he was approaching brand endorsements.

I felt his content had lost its originality and the videos he was producing to promote the energy drink brand Bang Energy were completely over the top.

Will*

Every time I scroll my mood went down

I unfollowed so many because they were just making me dislike myself and caused me to feel bad about what I’m doing at the moment. Completely subconsciously as it took my boyfriend pointing out to me that every time I scroll my mood went down for me to realise!

I thought I enjoyed seeing what others are doing and looked like but it was clearly creating the wrong effects.

Ali

I don’t really think she adds anything to the table in terms of influencing

I recently just unfollowed Lucie Donlan from Love Island, I thought it was so petty her bringing up out of nowhere the whole Yewande bullying her thing?! And she was clearly doing a micro aggression against Yewande which is so out of order considering she didn’t do anything to Lucie really. Also she said she isn’t a girls girl, but I kind of feel like she was putting in on.

via Instagram @lucierosedonlan

I don’t really think she adds anything to the table in terms of influencing (I mean who of them do really apart from Dr Alex?)

Georgia

It just put more pressure on me to look at myself

I unfollowed some at the start of the pandemic because everyone was on the workout hype and it just put more pressure on me to look at myself and what I was doing with all the new time on my hands.

I’ve unfollowed more recently because of the whole Dubai situation and how wrong it was.

Scott

It’s just a shame, because I really used to look up to her

I’ve recently unfollowed UnJaded Jade who I really used to look up to when I was younger. This is mostly due to unnecessary travelling and I feel as though I can’t relate to and shouldn’t be inspired by her anymore. She has recently gone on holiday abroad over Christmas with no explanation as to why they broke travel restrictions. In addition she’s recently lied about reasons to travel, by saying its essential for university, however the university themselves have declared that it is possible to study from home.

It’s just a shame because I really used to look up to her in sixth form, especially since she’s just a year older than me. The course is completely online so there’s not really a reason to travel, so it doesn’t really make sense what she’s been doing recently.

 influencers unfollowed

via Instagram @unjadedjade

I think especially when UK students aren’t getting much of a university experience now either, it’s just unfair seeing her travelling then not acknowledging it, especially since she’s been called out a lot over the last few weeks.

Gemma*

I now cut out any accounts that don’t bring me genuine happiness

Following the first lockdown, I realised I had a pretty toxic relationship with Instagram. I’ve never previously found myself massively comparing or looking at influencers and wishing I looked like them or had their life, I always saw them as very separate to my life and the “real world”.

However, after months indoors and most of this time on my phone, I started to notice I’d come off an Instagram scroll and feel deep anxiety. I think for myself and a lot of my mates, it’s not as obvious as seeing a pic of an influencer and thinking “great I feel shit now”. It’s not that obvious – instead you gradually find yourself stalking certain people, picking yourself apart and increasingly feeling anxious.

As a rule to myself, I now cut out any accounts that don’t bring me genuine happiness when I see their posts – whether that’s influencers, old friends or whoever. If you don’t want to unfollow then mute, and if it feels right don’t be afraid to block! Instagram can be so toxic and detrimental to your mental health and sense of self, and influencers are at the centre of that – just cut it all out!

Bean

She remains me of the epitome of white fragility

I followed Lucie after she got with Luke and yeah they were quite good looking so why not! Didn’t think much about it but then after the whole Yewande and Lucie situation, I just can’t look at her pictures anymore.

 influencers unfollowed maura

via Instagram @maurahiggins

It just gives me *Bad Vibes* energy and can’t stand it. She remains me of the epitome of white fragility, a white girl that can get away with saying harmful things to a black woman and that’s not okay.

I unfollowed Maura too because I saw a tweet saying she gave flowers to Lucie after what happened. And I’m like “Okay she’s your friend, but you do get why what she said is wrong?”. My timeline looks good now and that’s all that matters.

Vivian

I feel it’s become so disingenuous

I unfollowed a bunch of influencers who include “feminism” as part of their brands. I just feel it’s all become about making money and a cute pink print of some inspiring quote does nothing to help or advance feminism.

And after the whole Slumflower and Florence Given problem, I feel it’s become so disingenuous. I’m now seeking out influencers who are more educational.

Rachel*

I was so disheartened

Besides unfollowing many for the whole Dubai scandals, I unfollowed Molly-Mae. I saw her story where she described a coat as “chavvy” and I’ve just grown out of words like that.

 influencers unfollowed molly mae

via Instagram @mollymaehague

At the end of the day “chav” is a derogatory term describing people living in poverty or struggling to get by. I was so disheartened as I felt as though she was so lovely and I’m sure she is, it was just surprising to see.

Sarah-May

These people don’t realise how anxious they are making the incoming generation of women feel

I stopped following influencers – I’m mainly talking about TV celebs like the Love Islanders when I say this – about a year ago. Aside from the fact that none of them say or post anything remotely funny or insightful (no I don’t need another PLT outfit posed on a Notting Hill doorstep but thank you), it’s the photo editing that made me hit the unfollow button.

Whenever I see another pic of an influencer looking more doll than human, I think of my little sister and the world she’s grown up in compared to mine when I was a teenager. These people don’t realise how anxious they are making the incoming generation of women feel, who will forever be comparing themselves to a body image that isn’t even close to real.

Grace

*Some names have been changed 

Featured image credits via Instagram @gracebeverley,@amberrosegil, @mollymaehague

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