Her social media presence told the story of a picture-perfect life.
Larissa May, who was a student at Vanderbilt University, had an enviable Instagram account. In addition to studying, May was a fashion blogger known for her site “Livinlikelarz.” She covered high-profile events such as New York Fashion Week. Her perfectly curated posts showed a glamorous lifestyle.
But the other side of her story was different. May worked 17-hour days, struggling to balance schoolwork with her blog and interning. She felt sleep deprived and suffered from severe anxiety.
She noticed a disconnect from reality and what was shown on her life online. It led her to launch “Half the Story,” a brand that lives primarily on Instagram and Facebook.
Alongside beautifully filtered photos, captions shine a light on topics not often discussed like depression, anxiety, envy and feelings of inadequacy.
“My friends and family know I’m entrepreneurial,” one caption reads. “They’ve listened to my countless business ideas and have seen me start, stop, start, stop projects throughout my adult life. The fact is, I’ve mostly been a ‘wantrapreneur.'”
The accounts, run by May and her team of five, are based on user submissions.
Although it’s common to use social media to portray an ideal version of oneself or “build one’s personal brand,” the platforms also have “an impact on the presence of our spirits.”
May said some Instagram users have reached out and shared thoughts of self-harm.