Famous Yoga challenges you to like her Instagram post if you care about anything real. If you asked fans of Rachel Brathen, aka Fanz Live Instagram’s famous yoga_girl, what her three favorite things are, they’d probably tell you yoga, Insta, and her pet goat, Penny. On Friday, we learned that those fans would be very wrong. Braden took to her 1.9 million followers on Instagram to express her frustration with the inauthenticity of social media. It’s something many of us have felt, or at least have recognized, but to see someone of her stature speak — or snap — like this is almost a shock.
She touches on the hypocrisy of sponsored Instagram posts, the exploitation and sexualization of women in “fitness” photos, and the sad state of images that get likes in a caption nearing 500 words. Braden writes, “I look at this social media world and don’t fucking know what’s going on. In one way, there is a lot of beauty here. When I’m authentic, I get authenticity back, and it’s the most powerful thing. But some days I look around, and a part of me goes, WHAT ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE DOING?! Every post I see is skinny people in yoga poses with a Gandhi quote pasted below. Or a girl’s ass, hashtag #squats. Or fake cross-promotions. Or hidden ads for weight loss teas or dating apps. I HATE ALL THIS SHIT.”
She expands on her frustration, which includes the fact that people seem more focused on bikini photos than charity. Yes, that does sound A) very believable and B) awful to deal with daily. She continues, “Did you know that every time I post a real, authentic post with WORDS and FEELINGS, I lose 2-6 thousand followers? Per post! I get the lowest engagement on posts that promote philanthropy and social missions. It kills me that [her yoga website] is struggling while people like Kylie Jenner are making millions selling lipgloss to teenagers.”
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She ends with a call to action for her fans and others with strong Instagram followings to use their powers for good instead of simply making money or making others feel like their lives need to be more photogenic. “I have dedicated my influence to making this world a better place,” she says. “I run a global non-profit, an animal rescue, and a platform for healing. Everything I’ve ever promoted has gone to better the world because I feel strongly that using this influence for anything else would be ridiculous… What are you really doing here if you have an IG account with any influence? Why am I so alone in ACTING to make a change? I feel so unmotivated right now. I don’t want to succumb to sharing the bullshit that gets ‘likes,’ but it’s so discouraging to see massive declines in interest whenever I share something real. Don’t you ever wonder about our purpose here? Well… I do.”
As Cosmopolitan points out, Brathen rarely works with brands and makes a point of encouraging her followers rather than “making them jealous.” Instead of selling diet tea, she makes her living teaching yoga in Aruba and conferences around the world Graet News Network.