Being a fulltime Instagram model seems like a dream come true. Who wouldn’t want to be famous for taking selfies and having legions of international fans tell you how hot you are every day?
But, according to one Insta-famous model, the fame and fortune come with a heavy emotional toll.
Thirty-two-year-old Amanda Lee has been gaining Instagram followers since her first post back in 2014. The sexy personal trainer now has 11.2 million followers thanks to her scantily clad fitness-focused posts.
“Fitness is sexy,” Amanda revealed when speaking to Cosmopolitan. “When I realized sexier photos got more likes, I was enticed by the attention.” She has now become obsessed with taking the perfect self-portraits and works with her mother, her main photographer, to get just the right angles, lighting, and looks.
She uses apps like Facetune to make herself appear flawless and obsesses over every detail before a new post is added to her Instagram. Her best shots can get up to 6000 likes, and her effort is paying off. Amanda claims she makes a salary in the high six figures from her Instagram presence alone.
She posts ads on her account for up to $20,000 apiece and has gained numerous fitness clients who pay $350 per hour for personal training. However, all of her devotion to her online presence has burnt Amanda out.
“Once I got all the followers, I reevaluated things — like, is this really me?” she explained. “For my mental health, I don’t want to get so wrapped up in perfection. I want to be more confident in myself without trying so hard.”
Amanda claims that she originally created her Instagram account to advertise her personal training availability, which, at the time, she charged only $35 per hour for. Then, after just six months online, Amada had gained over 100,000 followers thanks to a nod from a high profile client.
She was already getting advertisement and endorsement deals. When MateFit Tea offered a $3000 advance, that was only the beginning. Supplement and clothing companies were offering her deals left and right and the money was pouring in.
However, in all the excitement, Amanda lost herself. “I always wanted to appeal to everyone,” she explains, “but I got seduced by people’s responses and sidetracked trying to maintain this curvy physique and build a sexy brand.”
She says she spends hours in the gym to sculpt and maintain her perfect image. She uses a lot of weights and resistance bands while performing squats, deadlifts, lunges, and lifts to keep her butt looking its best, but says the best way to make yourself look great is with a camera.
“It’s funny how you can really enhance the way your butt looks with certain angles and lighting,” she reveals. “I’ll take, like, a hundred photos just to get the perfect one.”
However, to keep up with her competition, Amanda has undergone plastic surgery, getting breast implants and using botox. “People might look at me and think, ‘Your body is amazing,’ but I look at other girls’ pages and think, Oh my God, SHE is so perfect!” she reveals.
The constant pressure to look perfect is difficult and Amanda strives to be more than just a pretty face with a rockin’ body. Especially looking to maintain longevity in her career, Amanda wants to turn her Instagram away from being so sexy and more toward being fit and healthy.
“I don’t look down on Instagram modeling, but I’ve done that,” she explains. “I want to have a little bit more substance than posting sponsored posts for other brands.”
She’s been posting workout clips in recent times in hopes of taking a step in a new direction.”I want to post more with friends, wearing outfits that I like even if they don’t photograph well,” she says.
She also explains that she aspires to be more like Instagram personality Tammy Hebrow, who not only has 8.2 million followers but also has a family and a Women’s Best sponsorship.
Though for all of you who may be disappointed that Amanda wants to change her focus to a more down to earth approach, don’t fret. She assured her fans, “I’m not hanging up my bikini just yet.”