Model Loses 3,000 Instagram Followers for Posting Unglamorous Photos

Stina Sanders Instagram

Photos via Stina Sanders on Instagram

It's a trend these days to get real on your Instagram feed. Essena O'Neill became famous for it just a couple weeks ago. She garnered tons of attention, followers and likes (and vitriol, too) for outing her social media posts as unrealistic, reworked and beautified representations of her flawed real life. Fellow Ig celebs have even accused her of orchestrating a publicity stunt to promote her new venture, because the reality check got her so much attention and new followers.

But as it turns out, one can go too far with this sort of thing, and your numbers might actually dwindle. How far is too far? Colonic irrigation, grody toenails, and upper lip hair removal, apparently. British model Stina Sanders ran an experiment, committing to total transparency on her Instagram feed—no filters, no editing, no hiding mental health issues—for one seven days. She started the week with 13,000 followers, and ended it with 10,000.

De-fuzzing Monday! ?

A photo posted by STINA SANDERS (@stinasanders) on

But the experiment may not be a failed one after all. After being featured by People magazine online for her stunt, Sanders now has 37.5k followers, and she has quickly gone from garnering less than 100 likes per post to getting thousands. The lesson to be learned here, perhaps, is the message on one of her most recent posts:


A photo posted by STINA SANDERS (@stinasanders) on

What do you think? Are you transparent on you Instagram feed?


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9 Responses

  1. The Redhead

    So basically another publicity stunt that got viral…. Pretty clever from her part, pretty not so clever that you are reproducing this.

    • Kristen Philipkoski

      We’re curious when people take risks social media (or elsewhere). Maybe it was a publicity stunt, but the exercise and the results are interesting!

  2. Tianna

    I like how these IGers are doing some clever marketing sh*t and I’m just over here like – look I had oreos today guys! lol

  3. dahi k.

    transparency, yes please! i believe her self experiment to be very sympathetic. i like it and want to follow her now.

  4. Emily Jayne Phillips

    Honestly, I think there is a balance to be had – I love seeing the realities of the lives of the people / bloggers I follow, but I also think there’s massive pressure for instagram photos to be curated and beautiful now, and I do like having it as a ‘place of pretty’ that I can go to! I’ve been posting my ‘real’ snippets from life (e.g. blogging from home wrapped in a million blankets and the oldest, thickest robe because it’s soooo cold right now!) on Snapchat and it feels like a better medium to do this to me.

  5. Melody Sours

    Wow! Her followers couldn’t hang in there for 7 whole days? Lol. That’s sad. I could understand if she abruptly changed her whole IG model but it was an experiment. At lease now she knows who her true people are. Which in my opinion, makes it all worth while.