Watching Girls Die Online

“When raw food influencer Zhanna Samsonova died in July at the age of 39, after reportedly eating only fruit for the past seven years, she was just the latest person to join a tragic club: anorexic influencers who have starved themselves to death in public. Other recent examples include Amy Ellisearlier this year, who had 140K followers on TikTok, and Josi Maria in 2020, who had 138K followers on Instagram. There was also Kylie Jaye, a so-called fitness guru who died a few weeks before her birthday, and Nikki Grahame, a reality TV star, who was found dead the following month in her London flat in April 2021. 

The rate of mortality in this depressing segment of the influencer business is shocking, but inevitable. Anorexia—an illness that disproportionately affects girls and women—is often dismissed as a silly problem silly girls get from looking at too many photos of fashion models, but in fact it has the highest rate of mortality of any mental illness.”