By now, we all know that the highly curated, seemingly glamorous veneer of a social media star does't always match the reality. Cyberbullying has driven many offline, and the "I'm-quitting-YouTube" video — also known as a "flounce" — has almost become a genre in itself.
But flounces with a strong message still stand out. Last week, nearly one and a half million people viewed YouTuber Anna Saccone's farewell video, "Why I Quit YouTube: Eating Disorder, Body Shaming."
In the video, Saccone — who had over a million subscribers to the lifestyle channel where she posted workouts, makeup tutorials, pregnancy updates and more — opened up about the extreme negativity she encountered online. Vicious commenters called her "obese" when she filmed herself working with a personal trainer, culminating in a "#saveobeseanna" hashtag spanning multiple social platforms.
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TODAY reached out to Saccone but didn't hear back.
Layered over a miscarriage and (unbeknownst to viewers) a preexisting eating disorder, the hate was enough to put Saccone over the edge.
“I can handle a lot,” she explained in the video. “I choose to put my life out there … and I know that not everyone is going to like me. But when things aren’t going well in your life, when something big and dramatic happens, [the criticisms and negativity] are just a hundred times worse.”
She went on to describe her struggle with bulimia from the age of 18 — a condition she has gotten under control, but whose mental effects still linger.
She confessed to her viewers that for many years she had feared how pregnancy would change her body, but was delighted to instead find that it helped her accept herself.
"I finally had something about my body that I liked ... and it wasn't me, it was this life that I was growing," she recalled.
Losing the baby shattered Saccone. "I felt empty inside," she said." I felt like I was literally going insane ... I was like, I need a break, I can't face the world right now."
Saccone explained that she was not sharing her story for sympathy — she said she has received many supportive comments since she stopped posting videos last month — but to help others dealing with similar issues and to chip away at the wall of shame that surrounds eating disorders.
"I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy," she said of bulimia. "It will ruin your life, and it will steal your life from you."