Woman in $10,000 debt due to her attempts to become an Instagram star
The world of social media is a strange place and it's easy to see how it can have a negative effect on our mental health. One quick scroll through Instagram and you're inundated with 'influencers' and models who appear to be living the dream and leading a lifestyle of free clothes, incredible holidays and sporting envious physiques.
Such is the power of these vloggers and bloggers, many people now aspire to be them. While the majority of us grew up wanting to be athletes or pop stars, kids nowadays want to achieve fame through social media, with the financial benefits of doing so being increasingly attractive.
One woman who knows all too well about this need for social media success is Lissette Calviero. When the 26-year-old moved to New York from Miami back in 2013, she thought that she was going to live the "Sex and the City" dream. Working as an intern, Lissette found herself having brunch with friends and buying new outfits online while documenting the entire thing on her Instagram account.
Speaking about her incessant posting, Lisette, who has over 21,000 Instagram followers, said: “I wanted to tell my story about this young millennial living in New York.
“I was shopping... for clothes to take ‘the perfect ’gram.’ ”
Despite the fact that her lifestyle looked incredibly glamorous and luxurious, the reality was that Lisette was struggling financially, with her internship only covering her transportation. Due to her struggles for cash, she landed herself a part-time retail job.
Once her internship ended in fall 2013, Lisette moved back to Miami and landed herself a job as a full-time publicist. Despite earning a decent income, she sank $10,000 into debt after trying to live an Instagram-worthy lifestyle.
“I was living a lie,” she said.
Despite the fact that she was earning a mid-range, five-figure salary, the blogger claims that "debt was looming over my head." She would treat herself to $200 shopping sprees every month and made sure that she was never seen wearing the same outfit twice. She'd also splurge out on a designer item at least once a month, whether it be a Louis Vuitton bag for $1,000 or an accessory from Kate Spade.
On top of her clothing obsession, Lisette would also travel to a new location every month - with her visiting places such as Las Vegas, the Bahamas and Los Angeles.
“Snapchat had these [geo-] filters [like digital passport stamps] and I wanted to collect at least 12,” Lissette said.
Despite travelling a fair amount for work, she admits that “If you break it down, a lot of the travel I was doing in 2016 was strictly for Instagram.”
Despite her constant spending, she had a reality check in 2016 after moving back to New York. Lisette claims that she completely changed her attitude towards money and went into a "mini-isolation from the world."
“I knew that moving to New York, I had to get my act together or I wasn’t going to survive,” she said.
After moving into an apartment and paying $700 a month in rent, Lisette began cooking and gave herself a grocery budget of $35 a week. She claims that 14 months into her new lifestyle, she managed to pay off her debt.
However, while she may have turned a corner in terms of her spending, Lisette still has a love of clothes and now shells out $130 a month for a Rent a Runway monthly membership - allowing her to have a revolving door of new clothes that she hires.
“Nobody talks about [his or her] finances on Instagram,” she said.
“It worries me how much I see girls care about image.”
The 26-year-old admits that she has her regrets about how she handled her cash.
“I had a lot of opportunities to save,” she said.
“I could’ve invested that money in something.”
Now, she added, “I find more meaning in what I’m doing. "It goes back to me being more authentic. Whenever someone says they like my coat I say, ‘Oh, can you believe I got this coat at H&M for $50?’”.
Lisette's story shows the perils of social media and how it can affect us. While it's easy to be jealous of Instagram models and influencers, it's not worth getting into financial debt to try and achieve their lifestyle.