‘No one’s reality is as good as it looks on their Insta feed’

Insta-famous friends Steph Claire Smith and Laura Henshaw are no strangers to the downsides of social media. Now they want to help other girls rise above the pressures of living in the digital age.

Our collective obsession with social media is often blamed for increased insecurities about our image and how we measure up, both online and in the real world.

This toxic culture is particularly rife on image-based social media apps such as Instagram.

Steph Claire Smith and Laura Henshaw’s modelling careers took off in 2013, around the same time as Instagram blew up.

“Back then the app was this uncharted territory,” says Steph.

“There weren’t any guidelines, everyone was just winging it.”

A new reality

Since then, however, Instagram has lost its innocence, flooded with bought/fake followers and mean-spirited troll accounts dedicated to bullying celebrities and everyday people alike.

Friends by chance, models by trade and fitness gurus by lifestyle, Steph and Laura have become influencers through their social media presence.

With 1.5 million followers between them, they are all-too familiar with the pressures of maintaining a certain image of perfection online.

How to not get swept up in social media hype

Firstly, realise that no one – no matter what their social media feed shows – is perfect.

“Famous or not, we all project an edited version of reality on Instagram,” says Steph.

“Next time you’re guilty of comparing yourself or feel insecure or flawed, remind yourself that no one’s reality is as good as it looks on their Insta feed.”

Consider unfollowing accounts that negatively contribute to your body image and self-esteem.

“I regularly compared myself to some of the girls I followed and realised the best course of action was to unfollow them,” says Laura.

“It’s nothing personal, but if following their account is feeding your insecurities, remove the trigger altogether.”

Friends on a mission

Steph and Laura are so passionate about helping other girls and women conquer the digital world that they have joined forces to co-author a new book, A Girl’s Guide to Kicking Goals.

“A lot of our followers are young, impressionable girls who look up to us as role models,” says Laura.

“We realised it would be amazing if we could produce some kind of guide aimed at women of all ages and how they can best navigate life in the digital age, especially during those formative years.

“Kids face enough pressures in their teens as it is, without adding social media to the mix.”

A Girl’s Guide to Kicking Goals is an immersive, personal and informative insight about growing up in 2018 and beyond.

As well as tackling subjects like self-esteem and body confidence, it addresses more personal topics like Steph’s eating disorder in her teens, Laura’s once-unhealthy relationship with fitness, and the pair’s relationships with their partners.

Steph and Laura have had a successful streak since launching their lifestyle and fitness brand, Keep it Cleaner, in 2015.

From an initial e-book, their business has expanded to include an interactive app, fitness and diet program, and most recently, a line of health foods.

A Girl’s Guide to Kicking Goals (RRP $24.99) by Steph Claire Smith and Laura Henshaw is out now.

If you or someone you know is experiencing an eating disorder or body image concerns, contact the Butterfly Foundation National Helpline (1800 334 673 or email).

Written by Charlotte Brundrett.