• Billy Brayshaw

How Fake Is My Instagram?

Updated: Jun 28, 2019

From conversations with friends, videos from YouTube, and radio talk shows – I feel like this subject has been following me around lately so I wanted to address it.

It was a Wednesday night and I was heading home from the supermarket after buying a last minute birthday card for my sister. In the car I was skipping through radio stations and happened upon BBC Radio 4, where psychologist, Dr Sandi Mann was talking about the “photoshop” versions of ourselves that we present to others and the way we manage impressions of ourselves on social media. Mental health is a huge subject right now and rightly so. I quietly began contemplating about my output on social media. I would hate to think that I am some form of cog in the wheel that’s causing my followers insecurities or pressure to look a certain way or even live a certain lifestyle. This broadcast came at a time where I’ve been discussing this subject with friends, and watching interviews with Jameela Jamil (whom I love). After the conversations, the radio shows, and the videos, I felt the need to really check myself and question whether I’m being authentic or if maybe I’m just a faker who’s adding to the problem. So here’s my blog post of me working that question out....


A big talking point for this debate is the use of editing apps, and enhancing pictures in a way that makes people look more conventionally beautiful. It’s the idea that people look at a fake picture and think its real and therefore put pressure on themselves to achieve something that in reality is ultimately unachievable.

I will be honest and say I use many different apps to edit my pictures but hopefully not to a standard where I’m unrecognisable or even overly enhanced. For me, the reason I use these apps is more for the creativity of the shot and the aesthetic of my overall feed. I have a background in graphic design, and even before highschool I was always one for manipulating photos. It’s the creative in me that’s always been fascinated by how you can create different looks within the same image. I like my Instagram to be cohesive in colours so this is where my main edits come in. I don’t adjust my facial features, however; I do on occasion make small touch-ups such as editing my eye bags or brightening my hair. If I ask myself why I do this, is it because I feel pressure to look a certain way? Or perhaps I’m insecure and I want to hide my blemishes? It’s a hard question to answer because I’m defiantly not insecure, and I wouldn’t say I put pressure on myself to look perfect either. I think this type of editing first started from my modelling background. I can't say I've ever been been overly photoshopped before from a shoot, but small touch-ups like my eye bags etc always looked better than the reality. Thinking about the magazines and advertisements we see, it’s all very enhanced and now it’s translated onto social media too.

Does this mean that I’m now part of an airbrush culture which offers the viewer a more exotic take on the truth?

I don’t particularly worry that maybe one day an instagram follower will accost me and say “you look better on Instagram” – I already know this to be true. Just like I look conventionally better on a photoshoot or editorial, or any beauty shoots I’ve done. Unfortunately on a day to day basis I don’t have a full lighting, makeup / hair team following me around.

At the present time, I think it’s quite obvious that there needs to be more of a balance when it comes to reality vs enhancement on adverts and socials. It’s only human that you want to show people the best version of yourself but it’s important you don’t create an image that’s a million miles away from who you really are. Not only is that wrong for the impressionable people following you, but also for yourself. Trying to live up to that image could be very emotionally damaging. There’s much to be said for the coloration in the issues in mental health and the rise in social media. For anyone who sees me on Instagram and thinks I am perfect, and live the perfect life or has the perfect looks it’s not true. I see social media as my highlights. It is a big part of me, just not the whole me. Hopefully I get the balance right between what’s real and what’s fake. I feel that I edit my pictures in a way that’s similar to people wearing makeup, I’m not trying to disguise myself, or even enhance myself, I do it for me, and to express myself creatively. There’s only so much you can convey about yourself within a screen, it will never be the full picture. If you want me undiluted and 100% authentic you really need to meet me in real life.

I know this isn’t the case for everyone, and that some people use Instagram / social media in an unhealthy way but until the tides turn I think its important we look more at social media as a smaller expression of peoples individuality, rather than the unachievable reality.

Answering my initial question, I do believe my Instagram to be authentic to who I am, what I wear and even the products I use. Take away social media from my life and day to day it would be spent doing much the same thing. I might make edits and enhance my pictures slightly, but never to a degree where I become a different person. I’m just as confident in myself on and off social media, and I implore anyone reading this to be confident in themselves too.

We are all individuals, lets celebrate that. If everyone was the same, what a boring world we would live in.

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