This piece of writing was submitted to London College of Fashion upon my interview to study fashion journalism.

Her phone manically vibrates as if to shout “look at me!”, and she immediately complies, swiping it from the table in front of her. She refreshes the page, and the number at the top of the screen changes. One million followers! She stares at it for a long while, the cool and slim gold casing of her mobile device clutched between her slender, manicured fingers. A small smirk flirts with the corners of her mouth, and she allows it to break into a wide grin.

Self-consciously she peers around, afraid that she may be caught fixated on her phone. She must appear interested, not obsessed, with her online life. But boy is she obsessed! So are one million others, she smirks. They are obsessed with her looks, her body, her face. But she can’t blame them, even she feels turned on looking at her own images. She leans in to take a sip of an unusually green liquid (the menu claims “This juice supports natural detoxification!”), and carefully captures some photographs for her Instagram before doing so. She scrolls on her phone, looking back through the timeline of images she has uploaded. The girl that smiles at her through the screen is delicately posed on the edge of a bed in must appear effortless.) Her skin glows a deep golden brown as if it were from a two week get-away with the girls to Bali, and not from the bottles of St Tropez she stocks in her bathroom cupboards. The flowing silk draped off of her toned yet willowy figure teases.

Her eyes scream sex.

Look at me, she invites. Look at me for as long as you want.

You can imagine how this all looks. But she wasn’t always this narcissistic. Her online life wasn’t always so thought out - she snapped quick pics of everyday life without a second thought, and didn’t even pause to articulate witty captions or consider the appropriate emoji. She can still remember the date - the girl who forgets birthdays and relies on technology to remind her she’s having lunch with Karen next weekend still has the now-deleted image imprinted into her mind, and the 30th November plagued in her memory. Sometimes she still sees it when she closes her eyes. The flu last winter was fierce, many of us suffered for weeks, and it hit our girl hard. But appearances must be kept up for her gaggle of Instagram goons. The punishment otherwise would be severe. She shudders at the memory of her calamitous mistake - the followers she lost, the comments she received… she has not faltered since.

That was how she ended up where she is now… sitting in Cafe Sabarsky on 5th Avenue, off of the corner of Central Park, a ten minute walk from her modest one bedroom apartment on the outskirts of Yorkville. She is sporting brands she fails to pronounce. Sipping on a drink she does not enjoy, but which her latest issue of Vogue claims will prevent the premature aging of her skin.

She’s made it.

Out of the corner of her eye she spots a group of young girls watching her. No, not watching, staring. The young girls are staring directly at her, their torsos turned around almost one hundred and eighty degrees in their seats in order to get a better view. They do not even try to conceal their gaze, and instead allow their eyes to bore into the side of her skull. The attention, the fame of her lifestyle has been the wager of her success as her online following grows. Our girl feels at ease exposing vast expanses of skin in her images online and sharing her breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning routine, evening routine, television schedule, songs you need to listen to, favourite products, friends, family, boyfriends, pets with strangers online.

And yet now she feels oddly uncomfortable at the reality of this recognition. She can actually feel the weight of their stares on her body, eating through the armour of her fake tan and foundation. She whips a compact mirror from her purse and holds it up closely to inspect herself. Her make-up appears fresh and flawless, but wait, hold on, a volcanic red zit threatens to erupt on her left cheek. Her hair, which previously looked tousled and effortless, now seems tangled and matted (she frequently backcombs it to create volume). She snaps the compact shut and throws it into her bag, unimpressed and with a heightened sense of paranoia. She can hear the sound of the girls’ laughter. They’re laughing at her, she’s sure of it, and her eyes dart over to their table. Barely pubescent, their skin glows with a youthful radiance, as does the silky sheen of their long locks. Their crystal blue eyes pierce through her skin and into her soul, a place she rarely invites onlookers. The false image she exploits is the only image she wants, as if she believes that by convincing others that she lives this life, “the” life, that she can somehow convince herself. Her paranoia escalates to an astounding climax, and she begins to struggle in the tangled web of lies and fakery that she has woven; fake lighting and colouring; filters, photoshop. Fake emotions, fake gym sessions, fake parties, fake drinks! Fake friends! Fake life. And now these girls have seen through it all.

In an attempt to leave and evade their glares, she quickly stands and turns, propelling her handbag over her shoulder and - oh for God’s sake! - causing it to crash into her vegetable concoction. Lime green liquid cascades down her crisp white attire, and she looks around desperately at the onlookers of the accident. The red eye of a recording camera meets her distressed, dishevelled appearance, and her worst fear is made real. She slams a note - what would be an extremely generous tip for a particularly heinous beverage, if she were still to care by this point - onto the table and exits with her head low. She does not take a breath until she meets the pavement outside.

Her phone vibrates. Hannah_xox has tagged you in a new photo! It exclaims. A swipe of her left thumb reveals an image of a stark white dress stained in acid green, and the eyes of a surprised girl pricked with tears. In that one instant, her life had suddenly become all too real.



This piece of writing was submitted to London College of Fashion upon my interview to study fashion journalism.

Her phone manically vibrates as if to shout “look at me!”, and she immediately complies, swiping it from the table in front of her. She refreshes the page, and the number at the top of the screen changes. One million followers! She stares at it for a long while, the cool and slim gold casing of her mobile device clutched between her slender, manicured fingers. A small smirk flirts with the corners of her mouth, and she allows it to break into a wide grin.

Self-consciously she peers around, afraid that she may be caught fixated on her phone. She must appear interested, not obsessed, with her online life. But boy is she obsessed! So are one million others, she smirks. They are obsessed with her looks, her body, her face. But she can’t blame them, even she feels turned on looking at her own images. She leans in to take a sip of an unusually green liquid (the menu claims “This juice supports natural detoxification!”), and carefully captures some photographs for her Instagram before doing so. She scrolls on her phone, looking back through the timeline of images she has uploaded. The girl that smiles at her through the screen is delicately posed on the edge of a bed in must appear effortless.) Her skin glows a deep golden brown as if it were from a two week get-away with the girls to Bali, and not from the bottles of St Tropez she stocks in her bathroom cupboards. The flowing silk draped off of her toned yet willowy figure teases.

Her eyes scream sex.

Look at me, she invites. Look at me for as long as you want.

You can imagine how this all looks. But she wasn’t always this narcissistic. Her online life wasn’t always so thought out - she snapped quick pics of everyday life without a second thought, and didn’t even pause to articulate witty captions or consider the appropriate emoji. She can still remember the date - the girl who forgets birthdays and relies on technology to remind her she’s having lunch with Karen next weekend still has the now-deleted image imprinted into her mind, and the 30th November plagued in her memory. Sometimes she still sees it when she closes her eyes. The flu last winter was fierce, many of us suffered for weeks, and it hit our girl hard. But appearances must be kept up for her gaggle of Instagram goons. The punishment otherwise would be severe. She shudders at the memory of her calamitous mistake - the followers she lost, the comments she received… she has not faltered since.

That was how she ended up where she is now… sitting in Cafe Sabarsky on 5th Avenue, off of the corner of Central Park, a ten minute walk from her modest one bedroom apartment on the outskirts of Yorkville. She is sporting brands she fails to pronounce. Sipping on a drink she does not enjoy, but which her latest issue of Vogue claims will prevent the premature aging of her skin.

She’s made it.

Out of the corner of her eye she spots a group of young girls watching her. No, not watching, staring. The young girls are staring directly at her, their torsos turned around almost one hundred and eighty degrees in their seats in order to get a better view. They do not even try to conceal their gaze, and instead allow their eyes to bore into the side of her skull. The attention, the fame of her lifestyle has been the wager of her success as her online following grows. Our girl feels at ease exposing vast expanses of skin in her images online and sharing her breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning routine, evening routine, television schedule, songs you need to listen to, favourite products, friends, family, boyfriends, pets with strangers online.

And yet now she feels oddly uncomfortable at the reality of this recognition. She can actually feel the weight of their stares on her body, eating through the armour of her fake tan and foundation. She whips a compact mirror from her purse and holds it up closely to inspect herself. Her make-up appears fresh and flawless, but wait, hold on, a volcanic red zit threatens to erupt on her left cheek. Her hair, which previously looked tousled and effortless, now seems tangled and matted (she frequently backcombs it to create volume). She snaps the compact shut and throws it into her bag, unimpressed and with a heightened sense of paranoia. She can hear the sound of the girls’ laughter. They’re laughing at her, she’s sure of it, and her eyes dart over to their table. Barely pubescent, their skin glows with a youthful radiance, as does the silky sheen of their long locks. Their crystal blue eyes pierce through her skin and into her soul, a place she rarely invites onlookers. The false image she exploits is the only image she wants, as if she believes that by convincing others that she lives this life, “the” life, that she can somehow convince herself. Her paranoia escalates to an astounding climax, and she begins to struggle in the tangled web of lies and fakery that she has woven; fake lighting and colouring; filters, photoshop. Fake emotions, fake gym sessions, fake parties, fake drinks! Fake friends! Fake life. And now these girls have seen through it all.

In an attempt to leave and evade their glares, she quickly stands and turns, propelling her handbag over her shoulder and - oh for God’s sake! - causing it to crash into her vegetable concoction. Lime green liquid cascades down her crisp white attire, and she looks around desperately at the onlookers of the accident. The red eye of a recording camera meets her distressed, dishevelled appearance, and her worst fear is made real. She slams a note - what would be an extremely generous tip for a particularly heinous beverage, if she were still to care by this point - onto the table and exits with her head low. She does not take a breath until she meets the pavement outside.

Her phone vibrates. Hannah_xox has tagged you in a new photo! It exclaims. A swipe of her left thumb reveals an image of a stark white dress stained in acid green, and the eyes of a surprised girl pricked with tears. In that one instant, her life had suddenly become all too real.



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