How to rack up $10,000 of debt trying to become popular on Instagram

Sometimes the race to become social media star may leave you in financial ruin.

26-year-old Lissette Calveiro moved to New York from Miami for an internship. That’s where her IG page started being glamorous.

IG: @lissettecalv

However, despite never-ending brunches, expensive outfits and holidays, she was struggling financially. She started living off her savings and earnings from a part-time retail job.

In 2013 she was back home to Miami and landed a job as a full-time publicist. But her Instagram-worthy life continued to sink her into debt. Now, this amount is tremendous – $10,000 (£7,256).

IG: @lissettecalv

“I was shopping…for clothes to take ‘the perfect ‘gram'”, she told the New York Post.

“I was living above my means. I was living a lie, and debt was looming over my head.”

She continued earning a low-to-mid five-figure salary in 2016 but decided to treat herself monthly $200. Calveiro wasn’t seen in the same outfit twice, spending as much as $1,000 on designer handbags, and travelling to new locations every single month.

“Snapchat had these [geo] filters [like digital passport stamps], and I wanted to collect at least 12,” Calveiro said.

IG: @lissettecalv
IG: @lissettecalv

“If you break it down, a lot of the travel I was doing in 2016 was strictly for Instagram.”

Fortunately, after that, she got a PR job in Manhattan. “I knew that moving to New York, I had to get my act together or I wasn’t going to survive,” she said.

She even decided to slow down her IG activity and changed her other spending habits.

Now living in Soho, Calveiro says she regrets spending so much money trying to live an Instagram-worthy life.

IG: @lissettecalv

She is concerned about the impact the photo-sharing platform can have on young women.

“Nobody talks about [his or her] finances on Instagram,” she said.

“It worries me how much I see girls care about image. I had a lot of opportunities to save. I could’ve invested that money in something.”

IG: @lissettecalv

The Independent also gives a citation from Niamh McDade, Royal Society for Public Health policy lead on social media and mental wellbeing on this occasion:

“With the endless influx of images and videos shared on platforms such as Instagram, young people can be drawn into comparisons with their own lives with potentially negative impacts on self-esteem, body image, anxiety and depression — and in this case, huge debt.

IG: @lissettecalv

Social media has many potential positives, including expressing identity and maintaining human connections, but if we are to maximise these positives and mitigate the negatives, it is important to remember that Instagram identities do not present a full or accurate representation of reality.”

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