NROP: Social media influencer – inspirational heroes or money-hungry scammers?

These past few days were abundant in writing material. Almost anything I read made me want to create a new post and write about it.

I have to admit that having too much to write about is not something I see as a problem. In fact, I wish that I feel this inspired all the time in the future.

But we all know that is not possible.

While I wondered what I would choose to write about, I saw a headline that I immediately knew it was going to be “it”.

The article spoke about a YouTube vegan influencer, who has recently been caught eating fish.

You can read a post I wrote about veganism and my feelings towards such diets HERE.

This girl, then in her early twenties, learned about a raw, plant-based diet about six years ago. She stopped being a party animal (i.e. drinking and smoking) and started eating only uncooked products that did not come from an animal. No meat, no eggs, no cheese, etc. Once she dived into that community, she realized that there were not many people out there that knew a lot about veganism, and shared it with the world. Back then, there was no one who did that in Spanish, so she seized the moment, and began her influencer journey for both – the Spanish- and the English-speaking audience. She now has about three million subscribers across her social media channels.

Recently, a video has emerged that shows her sitting in front of a plate of food with fish on it. When the camera turns towards her, she can be seen awkwardly trying to hide the meat on her plate. The video was taken by a friend of hers, with whom she went on vacation. I am not sure how this video “leaked”, but I assume that it was a Facebook live video because otherwise, there would be time to cut and re-do the video.

How would you react if your friend outed you like that?

I am a big proponent of a balanced diet. I find it hard to imagine my diet without red meat, fish, eggs, or cheese. Funnily enough, the “apology” video she created to explain why she ate fish focuses on exactly that – a BALANCED diet.

To save you all some time, I have watched the 30-minute video and will give you the short version of what went wrong. Surprisingly what was not right was not only what she ate in the video that showed her true colors.

 She takes the viewers on a journey of her vegan experience. Once she went completely vegan, she felt great and did all sorts of juicing, cleansing and fasting. She quickly went onto obtaining various certifications and coaching people what (not) to eat. On her website, she sells meal plans, some of which are geared towards weight loss. She also shares workout routines with her followers. Sounds great, right?

I hope that you already know to take social media influencers with a grain of salt. They do incredible work by posting valuable content consistently, but we have to remember that they are human. I have heard of Instagram models complain about their lives being so hard because it takes too much time and hard work to get the right shot. Did WE force them to do that? No, it was THEIR choice. Some people promote things that make money, not necessarily what they believe in. It is disillusioning, but that is the nature of the business.

That is why I did not get upset when I read about that girl turning out to be a scam. She found her niche early on and she put all of her into it. I give her kudos for that. Trying to hide the fish on the plate was weak. It did not help her brand. Many people are outraged. But what truly shook me was the explanation video.

She mentions her fast after which everything went downhill. After two years of twists and turns with a raw, plant-based only diet, she decided to fast for 25 days. No food whatsoever. She only drank water. That should be your red flag!

Afterward, she did not have her period for a couple of months, but other “gurus” in the community told her that was fine. FINE! What did she do in biology classes? So she went onto two years of not menstruating. She convinced herself that that was actually a good thing.

Fast forward to two years later, she realized she was not feeling all that great, so she went to see an actual doctor. After not having a period for two years, she was told that is actually NOT a good thing. Surprising?

That petrified me because even though I have some common sense and know a bit about medicine and doctors, I know there are people who believe everything their hero says. This girl is a certified dietitian teaching others how to eat HEALTHILY and she thinks that having your period stop all of a sudden is OK? That is utterly scary.

The doctor had her blood drawn, which revealed her hormones being out of whack. In order to fix that, they put her on supplements and thyroid medication. While this could have been fixed with incorporating more variety into her diet, she opted to go down the artificial road – medication. How is it better to pump your body full of pills instead of eating animal-based products like eggs? Her period returned. Somewhat. It was irregular and lasted less than it should, but it gave her the illusion of everything being alright.

Soon enough she realized that there was more going on with her. She had a tough time with a yeast infection, and then she tested positively for SIBO, which is a small intestine condition. In an attempt to get her body back on track, she started eating fish. In the video, she stresses that she still feels the anguish of eating animal products and that she wishes to go to only plant-based foods at some point in life. However, she does acknowledge that she is putting her body first and eating more than plants is necessary for her.

She mentions that she took to one of the doctors quickly because they understood their diet and did not push her towards eating meat. Is that what we want nowadays? Not someone who can heal us, but someone that will coddle us?

What is the conclusion of her video? Mainly that you have to eat a balanced diet. It makes her feel so much better. She stresses that putting her health first is the most important thing. Is that not mind-blowing? It makes you wonder why she claims that she wants to go back to raw, plant-based food. Could it be because it has been profitable for her?

What was her excuse for not telling her fans about her eating fish, and such? She was worried about what others would think of her. And that is a person who coaches others.

Thoughts?

Stay golden,

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44 thoughts on “NROP: Social media influencer – inspirational heroes or money-hungry scammers?

Add yours

  1. Yeah, she’s nuts. Be yourself 100%. It’s OK to be real and have faults and imperfections. As long as you are genuine to others as well as yourself, there’s no reason to pull a curtain across. You just set yourself up for failure trying to be something that you are not. Trying to be something made up for likes or fans should not be your focus. As for the vegan aspect of your post, nah…hard pass. I would never be able to live that lifestyle. I love food too much, and all kinds of it. But, to each, their own as long as they are not hurting anyone else or themselves, have at it. Great post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m on the same page with you. People complain how they have to wear a mask with family, or at work. When it comes to blogging, and other social media, you are able to start from scratch. With no expectations from the other side. Just you. Of course, once the sponsors come pouring in, things might change, but in that case they should only sharpen the image you have already created. We cannot complain about not being able to be ourselves, if we are not ourselves in the first place.
      I’m not a big fan of cheating your audience, but money makes the world go round.
      How’s your week so far?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Agree 100%. Be yourself, and if that’s not good enough then it’s not worth it. I grew up very modestly, a small house with two old grandparents as guardians, something I wear on my sleeve. If you don’t like the real me then, sorry. My weeks ok so far. Looking forward to bike shopping this weekend. Pretty excited. How about you?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Modesty seems to be frowned upon. You need to be dazzling. Whether in a material way, or with your personality. It’s exhausting.

          Even though people say they champion being yourself, they also do everything to change you.

          This weekend is shaping up to be slightly busy, so not sure if I’ll be able to fit my biking in, but I will try. Why are you getting a new one?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Very true, exhausting for sure. Definitely not for me. I sold my old bike mid-summer last year and regretted not getting another one right away. So, this weekend I am buying a new and better bike. So stoked to get back on the road. Make sure you make time for you!

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I know vegans and they’re perfectly healthy. But they have real jobs, not scam influencer roles. I can’t imagine taking advice from some 20 year old yapping on YouTube. Oops that sounds ageist ~ I wouldn’t take advice from a middle aged or old person on YouTube either! I use it for music vids. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know vegans who appear healthy, too. But they’re men, so I cannot ask them if the have problems with ovulating like that YouTuber did.

      That’s the thing – YT has become the holy grail for all advice. I’ve heard of people saving A LOT of money by looking up tutorials there. I take it all with a grain of salt. Very rarely do I even use that platform. If it was to cease its existence tomorrow, I would not mind.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. First, that’s not a friend who does that to someone considered a friend.
    I’m a proud carnivoure, but I also have friends who are vegan, they respect my meat consumption, i respect their greens. This woman makes vegans sound bad, and that’s not true. But, scammers and hypocrites are something else entirely – and parts of this post makes this woman sound more ignorant than a scammer.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was stunned, too. That’s why I gave her the benefit of the doubt, and said that maybe it was a spontaneous Facebook live video, or something, and she didn’t realize what she was doing. But I wonder what that did to their friendship.

      It’s true that she gives vegans a bad name. However, I think it’s a good spotlight, in a way. Many young (and not only) people blindly follow what they see on the Internet and they do get in loads of trouble. Being strictly vegetarian is not easy. You WILL have a hard time getting all the needed nutrients.

      She is definitely ignorant. I could not believe the things she didn’t care enough about to learn about. However, the fact that she didn’t do a “By the way, guys, I started eating fish and eggs”, or “i’m not strictly vegan anymore” video gives her the scammer label. Especially because she now believes her diet could be detrimental to people’s health.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hmmmmm….😕
    Human being aren’t vegetarian.
    They have canines because they’re supposed to eat meat.
    Some prefer to avoid it to be skinny or for other personal reasons. I understand that, it is their choice. But if that puts someone’s life in danger and perhaps even its fan’s life in danger too. I think it is damn wrong!
    In my opinion, her profile must be shut down/closed. Firstly because she sounds like a scam as she was eating fish though she promoted vegan food and 2nd because poor teens might do what she did and find themselves in health problems. Not all of these teens have the means to be treated by doctors.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think we are meant to eat it all, too. It angers me how people who come up with different diets (and make money on them) prey on those who want to lose weight. These people often have low self-esteem and will do anything to just get rid of the fat. Fortunately, that is possible without starving yourself. But to each their own. We make our own choices.

      But you are right – it’s wrong if you’re preaching something, but you don’t live by it. Especially if it has the potential to hurt them. Especially because it hurt YOU! Why didn’t she care enough about her audience to just mention her problems?

      Her site is still up and running. Can you imagine not eating for 25 days?

      Well said – there are so many people who could believe her without thinking twice and then find themselves in a pickle.

      Like

  5. Some people seem to crave extremism in one form or another. We want to be passionate about SOMETHING, and if we don’t have any knowledge of the eternal, we’re stuck in this present world, getting passionate about things like food, sports, getting high, being famous, or whatever seems worthy of our obsession.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Spot on.
      I’ve never understood those extremes. Does that mean that I’ve never discovered a true passion? Or maybe that I don’t try hard enough to take my dreams to the max? Maybe.
      But I think it’s healthier that way. To remain cautious. To not take it to the extreme, but walk the balancing beam.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. True, true.
          It’s a balancing act.
          I don’t always approve of parenting skills of other people. Some of them actually don’t mind help. Some of them do, though…
          And I find that adults can still be like kids.

          Like

  6. I’m not surprised. Many social media influencers don’t practise what they preach. They would go into a niche because it’s popular and say anything just to attract an audience. Some people would do anything to be popular, even if it means living a fake life.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. 🙂 Goldie, the transgressor, Yovanna Mendoza (who is known among the vegan community as Rawvana) apologized to her fans and followers for her deception.

    For the record, I consider her to be a fake vegan.

    Honestly, there are social media influencers who only care about making money; whereas, there are social media influencers that are genuine.

    We must always remember, that social media influencers are human beings (Which means, that social media is filled with genuine and disingenuous people).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think the apology was a real apology. It was more of an explanation. She is more than welcomed to do whatever she likes. However, I don’t feel like the apology was heartfelt. It was more like: “I need to do what I need to do. Please keep on spending money on me”, rather than: “I’m sorry I lied to you and put on a sharade.”

      You are absolutely right about there always being two types of humans. I hope that not all people who get “up there” (to an influencer status) lose their heads and morals.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Nice point mentioned here. I love how the post concentrated on her only and not generalizing on all vegans.

    You know the major part of the problem we have today is that when a scammer is caught, everyone in that category is made to bear the bane.

    Just as Nigerians are taken generally as scammers. It is wrong. I know several Nigerians who are genuine. I am one.

    We are hard working. When a few Persons do evil from a particular country, we should try to condemn the act without rubbing it off on those from same location.

    I love this really. Nicely written, without prejudice. I will follow your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course. I know vegans who are nothing like her.
      You make a good point regarding generalization. We need to keep that in mind.
      Nice to meet you.
      Thank you for reading, commenting and your support.

      Like

  9. Well, I think she was afraid of being judged. And her friends must be really nasty if they outed her like that.
    I don’t understand the point of veganism! Humans are meant to consume meat. Or use animal products. Just like decomposers consume dead matter. It maintains the ecological balance!
    And what you wrote about her menstruation is truly scary. And to think that she thought it was okay to skip menstrual periods for 2 months!
    It’s true that money forces us to promote and support things even if we don’t want to.
    Thought provoking post, Goldie!

    Liked by 1 person

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