This compelling and thought-provoking novel peels back the layers of both plastic surgery and stepping over others to get to the top of influencer social media heap, as characterized by the idolized imagery that created Instagram stars.
Step aside selfies, gorgeous backdrops, and glittering moments with other social media stars, and the ugly underbelly and dangerous extremes of what goes into building a social media persona get unflinchingly revealed. Anna at age 19 gets groomed by an unscrupulously talent agent and boyfriend, Jake, to become a high-level Instagram influencer. She’ll do anything and go anywhere to become somebody, and to attract high-paying corporate sponsors. But she mostly goes under the knife of plastic surgeries and to drug-fueled remote parties where she gets both drugged and sexually abused. Anna also abandons her dying Mom and surrogate sister in the process, losing the love and loyalty of both.
Anna, now 35, alone, and reduced to selling anti-aging cosmetics as a retail saleswoman, has decided to undergo high-risk reconstruction surgery, called “Aesthetica” that promises to reverse all the plastic surgeries and return her to looking as if she’s just aged naturally. For Anna, this comes to represent both a physical and spiritual do-over, and worth the risk of death. At the same time, she’s challenged as part of the feminist #Me-Too movement to share her experiences as other women seek to take down Jake, who’s still posting about his now picture-perfect family life on Instagram.
Having run an influencer marketing agency for a decade working with the largest U.S. consumer brands, Allie dynamically and astutely captures what can go into building on a top Instagram influencer persona.
If you want a juicy look at the toxic culture that becoming a social media influencer can entail, this book will both enlighten and terrify with its ringing truths of the devolution and trauma social media ascendancy can bring.
Thank you to Soho Press and NetGalley for an advanced reader’s copy.