They say fake it till you make it, but how many celebrities will fall under social medias double-edged sword? Manuel Ntoyai and Harriet James dive into the murky world of fake celebrity lives
Almost a week after Kenyans outed former TV talk show host, Kobi Kihara, over plagarised content on her social media pages, the lass quit social media. Her unceremonious exit came days after she deleted over 700 posts on Instagram, including the now infamous salad photo lifted from howsweeteats.com, that got the ball rolling.
The self-proclaimed shoe lover, who is pursuing a course in Fashion Business and Shoe Design at Parsons School of Design in New York, stunned many with the multiple accounts of fabrication, more so the troubling post of another woman’s child who she passed off as her niece.
Last month, Kobi was picked by UK Magazine Luxuria Lifestyle Network as their Global Brand ambassador because of “her luxurious lifestyle”. Kobi’s apology has since fallen on deaf ears, a move linked to her exit from social media.
The lass joins the ever-growing chain of celebrities, both local and international, who have been exposed for faking their lifestyle on social media in order to stay relevant. Just recently, celebrated comedian, David the Student, came under the butcher’s knife after he was accused of conning Kenyans while he was in the US.
The comedian took to social media admitting fault saying that he “takes full responsibility and is ashamed of his behaviour.” David went on to add, “It is true I borrowed money, but I have never told anyone my dad has cancer!
I apologise to everyone I borrowed and those who lent me money and I’ve not refunded. I take full responsibility and I am ashamed. There’s so much pressure being on TV to live a certain life, but in real sense it’s crazy. Comedy in Kenya doesn’t pay.”
During the pre-social media era, it was easy for celebrities to live fake lifestyles as interactions were limited to connecting with fans. Social media has since changed the game. With constant updates on what they’re doing, who they’re with and where they are, becoming the new trend. And as followers grew in number, so did their egos.
Filtered pictures and almost unattainable bodies expectations and vacations in exotic places have since driven the celebrity culture into a frenzy. This has seen many stars disconnect with real life situations as they are caught up in that luminary bubble.
Take award-winning American actress and singer, Selena Gomez, who admitted that her mammoth following became sort of a fix. Gomez was early in the year announced as the most followed individual on Instagram with more than 133 million followers.
“As soon as I became the most followed person on Instagram, I sort of freaked out. It had become so consuming to me. It’s what I woke up to and went to sleep to.
I was an addict, and it felt like I was seeing things I didn’t want to see, like it was putting things in my head that I didn’t want to care about. I always end up feeling like s*** when I look at Instagram. Which is why I’m kind of under the radar, ghosting it a bit,” she intimated at an earlier interview.
Celebrated artiste, Akothee, recently gave her two cents on the matter saying, “I live a better life than the one I present on social media.” She went on to add, “I have learnt to be true to myself than please human beings. That’s why it’s easier for me to do what I want. If you live a lie, you are doing harm to yourself because you will have to explain each and every situation like my car is at the garage yet you have none!”
Just last month, the Namba Nane rapper, Octoppizo, was outed after plagiarising a photo of American rapper, Lil Wopster. Octo uploaded a photo on Instagram of himself next to a luxurious Sh10 million Maserati car. This is the second time the rapper has pulled such a stunt.
Three years ago, he was under fire after lying about featuring American singer, August Alsina on his track, This
Could Be Us — only for Alsina’s managers to deny the claim.
Researchers have found that using social media obsessively causes more than just anxiety. It is more than just the pressure of sharing things with others, it is also about how you may be comparing your life with others.
In fact, testing has found that spending too much time plugged in can cause depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), impulsive disorder, problems with mental functioning, paranoia, and loneliness. Not forgetting Selfitis. This is an obsession with posting selfies, according to a new study in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction.
Award-winning digital content creator and fashion blogger, Silvia Njoki, is of the same echoes the same sentiments.
“We all want to share our best lives, the most idyllic moments. I want to go to Instagram and get inspired by beautiful images. So ultimately, I will want to share that as well. When I don’t have anything to post, I simply don’t. I don’t allow the said pressure to dictate my actions,” she says.
Research shows about 30 per cent of social media user spend more than 15 hours per week online. This greatly reduces their ability to enjoy real life.
Comedian, Timothy Kimani aka Njugush, is currently one of the most-sought-after entertainers in showbiz. Boosting over half-a-million followers on social media, he has leveraged his funny acts on the Internet and it has been rewarding him well.
“When you decide to follow this path, it is like you have signed a contract with the public. Whatever you do is an opportunity to grow your brand and as your following grows, so do you! There is pressure to develop more and interesting content,” he says. Njugush also intimated the pressure also comes from fans.
“Life shelf of a joke on the Internet is less than two weeks and at times the content does not connect with the target audience. The backlash that comes with it can be devastating and one has to develop a thick skin. For some of us, the pressure becomes too much and they succumb to things like drugs and alcohol, which at times leads to depression,” he adds.
A new study appearing in Psychology Today shows that both narcissism and self-objectification are associated with spending more time on social networking sites. This begs the question, is the price of fame too high?