It's hard to remember a time when influencers weren't a thing. The never-ending rise of social media has present us with an entirely new business model, with the typical Jane's and Joe's of this world turning into celebrities on their own right. Whether it's because of looks, fashion sense, inspirational mindsets, or funny as hell insights, influencers are true royalty of the 21st century.
Of course, there's always a downside to living your life online at all times. Influencers put themselves on a position to be scrutinized, and there's constant pressure to make headlines and stay relevant. Many people cave and end up quitting for good, others go to big lengths to generate controversy, and some simply make poor judgment calls.
It's a rough world out there in social media and even the mightiest fall. Some are able to quickly get back on their feet, but there's always the chance of having their public image ruined for good. With all this in mind, it's time to take a look at 5 social media influencers who completely fell from grace and 5 who managed to keep on going.
10 Fell From Grace: Essena O'Neill
Essena O'Neill nearly broke the Internet back in 2015 when she quit social media - for good. Up until that point, Essena was well on her way to becoming one of the most popular social media influencers in the whole world. Her Tumble blog and Instagram became popular due to the beautiful pictures and outfits the Australian fitness and healthy living-promoter shared with her following.
However, something seemed to snap inside O'Neill, who deleted thousands of posts from her Instagram feed and changed the caption from dozens more, illustrating to the public the illusion of social media, detailing how her happiness in the pictures was fake, and most of them were edited almost to an unrecognizable point. Essena took to Vimeo to post very heartfelt, emotional, raw videos that detailed the toxic environment surrounding the social media influencer sphere. Fellow influencers Nina and Randa openly criticized O'Neill on Youtube and called her out for scamming fans. Truth is, Essena hasn't been seen around social media for years.
9 Made A Comeback: Luka Sabbat
He's the actor with a modelesque face, and he's been called "Gen Z's It Boy". Luka Sabbat rose to prominence with his role in TV show Grown-ish, but his amazing styling choices and fashion sense quickly turned him into one of the biggest influencers of our generation. His following count reaches almost the 2 million mark, and he's been linked to none other than Kourtney Kardashian as partners.
And because nobody's perfect - including influencers, no matter how much they try to convince us otherwise - Luka had his less than shining moment. Back in October 2018, he was sued by Snap, after failing to deliver the promised number of posts wearing the Spectacles product, even though he was paid a staggering $45,000 upfront. The small scandal didn't seem to take too much of a toll on Sabbat, who still relies on social media promotion as part of his paycheck. Just scroll through his Instagram - he still looks perfect!
8 Fell From Grace: Woah Vicky
She's only 18 years old, and she's already wrapped in more controversy than celebrities who have been around for decades. Her real name is Victoria Waldrip, and she first rose to prominence in a very unusual way, to say the least. With her 2.2 million Instagram followers, it's hard to believe this influencer fell from grace, but her massive following is due to those who enjoy feasting on the ridiculousness and outrageousness that helped put her in the public eye in the first place.
Waldrip took an online test back in 2017 to allegedly prove she was African-American. The test let her and the world know she was 44% African, and Victoria took this as a cue to appropriate several elements of black culture and using racial slurs, which sparked considerable controversy. It doesn't end here, though! Woah Vicky also apologized for a racist video mocking an Asian Youtuber and was arrested last year after assaulting a police officer. Keeping it classy, apparently.
7 Made A Comeback: Claudia Oshry
The recent Kevin Hart-Academy Awards scandal was enough to teach us that whatever you do on the Internet, no matter how long ago, can always come back to haunt you. Instagram star Claudia Oshry learned this lesson the hard way. She makes a living with her page Girl With No Job, which mostly shares funny tweets and relatable memes, but last year, some information came to light in regards to Oshry that almost destroyed her career.
The public found out Girl With No Job's Claudia Oshry is actually the daughter of alt-right troll, Pamela Geller, who is known for sharing controversial and racist views online. Once this information came to light, the Internet wasted no time digging into the influencer's life, and some since-deleted racist tweets were quick to surface. She took to Instagram to issue an apology, and guarantee she didn't share her mother's views.
While this could have been the end for Oshry, the influencer won some of her following back recently, and she's now over 3 million. She's also booking comedy shows across the country, as well as a new talk show with her sister, The Morning Toast.
6 Fell From Grace: Caroline Calloway
She's been around since 2014, and Caroline Calloway didn't become an Instagram force to be reckoned with because of her style or makeup skills. Many of her fans perceived her as much needed breath of fresh air in a platform swamped with Kardashian look-alike influencers. She shared beautiful and inspiring pictures depicting her life in the UK with her fairytale boyfriend while attending Cambridge University.
In 2015, she got a $500,000 book deal to write a memoir, but by 2017, the book was yet to come, and Calloway wanted out. Fast forward to 2018, and she is living in New York, posting dozens of times a day on Snapchat, still detailing her life. At the end of the year, she announced she was preparing an event fans could pay to attend, that she dubbed "a creativity workshop." The whole thing was a major flop, with poor planning, constant complaining and disappointed fans resulting in canceling the event in two other cities.
5 Made A Comeback: PewDiePie
He is the most influential YouTuber of all time - and he isn't even American! PewDiePie was born in Sweden and currently works in the UK. He's been holding on to one of the most coveted titles on social media for years, thanks to his massive number of subscribers. However, very recently, a true battle of the subscribers has begun - more on that soon.
Of real name Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, the Youtuber harnessed so much fame with his videos on gaming, but he was the target of controversy due to promoting a Youtube channel that often uses anti-semitic and homophobic language, promoting right-wing theories, and mocking fellow Youtubers who address the issue of wage gaps between men and women. These controversies, among others, don't seem to slow down PewDiePie's popularity in the least, or the opinion the public has of him.
The current battle between him and T-series to maintain the title of the most subscribed channel has risen to higher heights, and after surpassing the channel, PewDiePie was once again surpassed by a small margin. This battle seems to keep fans more than entertained, and his popularity just seems to keep escalating.
4 Fell From Grace: Logan Paul
Logan Paul is more well-known for stirring controversy than for doing actual interesting things. Every day we seem to wake up to a new scandal involving the Youtuber, each more distasteful than the other. A very good example is a video he posted walking into Japan's Aokigahara forest and finding a body. They proceeded to laugh and behave in an overall disrespectful and contemptuous fashion.
Things kept looking sour for Paul, with a string of undesirable moments culminating in a universal backlash against the star. He joked about eating Tide Pods, posted a video tasering a rat, claimed he supported the Flat Earth movement, was expelled from Yosemite National Park, among others. Logan has been very vocal about the hate he's constantly the target of, claiming he is "the most hated person on the planet". Youtube is still to instill some sort of rules that hurt the influencer where it hurts most - his bank account. However, the opinion the public has of him has reached the point of no return.
3 Made A Comeback: Kendall Jenner
She's the highest paid model in the world, and she also just so happens to be part of the most famous sister clan in the world, the Kardashian-Jenner. This family is known for putting quite literally everything out there, and since mother herself, Kris recently spilled all the tea on how much her daughters get paid to sponsor products on Instagram, these girls will be analyzed with magnifying glasses - and criticized beyond reason.
Kendall had a few slip-ups throughout her Instagram and modeling career, two of the most prominent ones being the Pepsi commercial, that sparked worldwide controversy due to its tone-deaf supposed statement, and her much anticipated personal and emotional announcement, that ended being an ad for an anti-acne product. To say fans were disappointed is an understatement.
She ended up apologizing for the Pepsi fiasco in a very tearful video, and the backlash didn't seem to last long. Kendall obviously has the power of harnessing her family name's fame, as well as a huge platform to begin with, and her career is only going up - no slowdowns found!
2 Fell From Grace: Zoella
She was once the most beloved British makeup and fashion guru, but the most recent years haven't been the kindest to Zoella. Zoe Snugg started uploading videos to YouTube 2019 after her lifestyle blog gained popularity amongst young girls. Mostly tackling lifestyle, makeup, and fashion, Snugg managed to harness millions of subscribers.
However, once her debut novel Girl Online came out in 2014, and the publisher announced it had been ghost-written, it was all downhill from there. People started calling the influencer by Scamella due to her line of products she sold to her impressionable viewers for abysmal prices that simply didn't match the quality, most notably her Advent Calendar, that was the target of terrible reviews and prompted other YouTubers to call her out on her scam.
Zoella has since then retreated from her most visited channels. Her last video was uploaded to Youtube nine months ago, and she hasn't posted to her blog since 2017.
1 Fell From Grace: Olivia Jade
The scandal involving our very own Aunt Becky, Lori Loughlin, and Desperate Housewives alumni Felicity Huffman, among many other high-profile names is all over the news right now. Allegedly, rich parents paid absurd amounts of money in a scam to ensure their children were accepted into college.
Lori Loughlin's daughter is actually an influencer herself. The young Youtuber has been posting makeup, lifestyle, and fashion related videos for years and built a massive following around her social media persona, even launching a collaboration with makeup giant Sephora. However, ever since the college scandal broke out, Olivia has been the target of huge backlash, and people have been pulling clips from her videos of the influencer stating she didn't care about school and only wanted the party experience.
Granted, it was her parents' mistake that led to the fall of her career as an influencer, but the clips don't put Jade under a very favorable light. Since then, she hasn't posted pictures to her Instagram account or uploaded videos to her Youtube account. Sephora even called it quits on their partnership, officially removing Olivia's highlighter palette from their website.