Woman Lands Herself in $10,000 of Debt Trying to Become 'Instagram Famous'

Woman Lands Herself in $10,000 of Debt Trying to Become 'Instagram Famous'

One woman has revealed details of how her quest of acquiring a large Instagram following left her in $10,000 of debt.

26-year-old Lissette Calveiro became hooked on posting to the social media site. Her profile, consisting predominantly of pictures of herself, lists her as a “content creator.”

After moving from Miami to New York for an internship in 2013, Calveiro says she got carried away in trying to pursuing the “Sex and the City dream.” Whilst her pictures indicated a wealthy lifestyle, the reality was that she was struggling to afford the constant brunches, clothes, and travel that she was paying for in order to have Instagram-worthy images to post.

When you realize “vacation” is over.

A post shared by Lissette Calveiro (@lissettecalv) on

Away from social media, Calveiro was on a slippery slope financially – not helped by her internship only paying for her transport expenses. “I was living above my means. I was living a lie and debt was looming over my head,” she told the New York Post.

Even after moving back to Miami and earning a “low-to-mid five-figure salary” by 2016, the debt continued. A desire to not be photographed in the same outfit more than once led to monthly $200 spending sprees, with a further $1000 spent on hand bags and traveling to new locations.

home 📍

A post shared by Lissette Calveiro (@lissettecalv) on

By the end of 2016, she decided a lifestyle change was in order and cut back on her spending. It took around 14 months for her to pay off the Instagram-acquired debts.

She told the New York Post:

Nobody talks about [his or her] finances on Instagram. It worries me how much I see girls care about image. I had a lot of opportunities to save. I could’ve invested that money in something.

Lead photo credit: Roberto Nickson (@g) on Unsplash.

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31 Comments

Leigh Miller's picture

Seriously...you guys have to decide if your going to be an information or news organization. This is ooooollllllldddd nneeeeeewwwwsss!

Pawel Paoro Witkowski's picture

Old or not, haven't heard about it. Glad It's posted here, as I don't read usual news sites, where this content is relevant to me.

Niels Veeneman's picture

That's the problem with a lot of people these day being more worried about the people that follow you on social media think of you then actually enjoying life itself and spend time with real friend instead they come over and play with there phone the whole evening and take a million selfies to keep the followers happy without any decent conversation and at the end of the evening they say "we had a nice evening let's do it again soon"
I normally keep my phone within arms length but yesterday evening i turned of my 4G and took only important calls and i must say i really enjoyed my evening without constantly looking at my phone gonna do this more often from now on

Niels Veeneman's picture

That sounds nice i grew up in he digital age my grandma bought me my first phone when i was 13 or 14 so i could keep in touch but sometimes i get sick of that thing

William Howell's picture

True dat. My grandkids, who were born after 2000, have known nothing but digital.
Just imagine, in fifty years my grandkids will be telling their grandkids; back in my day our communication devices were made of solid material, none of this virtual stuff for us, I tells ya!

Simon Patterson's picture

Yeah, I avoided getting a cellphone for as long as I possibly could. Since then, I have always tried to have the approach that I can only talk to one person at a time, so if someone is calling when I'm in the middle of something, they can go through to message bank.

Is the cover photo even a picture of her?

eric krouse's picture

Cited as sourced from Unsplash. And... discuss.

William Howell's picture

Thats funnier than hell!
I didn’t even notice!

You can't cure stupid. Either this dumb broad or the idiots who put this up as an article on photography.

Robert Nurse's picture

There have been other articles on Fstoppers advising photographers not to get so caught up in social media (SM): create for the sake of creating. Likes be damned. This article further outlines SM pitfalls with a concrete example.

Mike Schrengohst's picture

This person is not and never was a photographer. She was a poser who thought the way to riches and fame was to showcase herself as a world traveler and all things current. The fact she failed is more of a reflection on the culture we live in.

William Howell's picture

I wished I was only ten grand in debt!

Mike Schrengohst's picture

10 grand? She is an amateur....when you get to 100K call me!

Michael Holst's picture

and being young she has time to get rid of that dept before retirement age.

Mike Schrengohst's picture

Heh, and I thought Instagram was created to share interesting photography? Silly me - I forgot to stand in front of my camera every time I took a photo!

All jokes and head-shaking aside, I think this can actually be an important lesson not on the shallow trappings of a "look at me" lifestyle, but on the idea that money alone usually can't buy success. There are plenty of people who have started successful businesses through social media, whether as photographers / content creators / media personalities, and I'm sure not all of them had to blow through $10k to do so. Seriously, people drop $10k on camera equipment and call themselves "professionals" all the time, despite having no real experience to speak of. I think the lesson here is that spending money without putting meticulous thought into where it's going and how it's going to get you somewhere is going to land you in debt, regardless of whether or not the pursuit is on social media. Not that I think being "Insta-Famous" is a great goal to have, but like any goal, if that's what you want you've gotta find a way to do it. You can't just spend the money, you've gotta put in the work too.

Stas Aleksandersson's picture

What is everyone complaining about? If $10K brought her at least 100 extra followers I say the money well spent! Keep those selfies coming, b-otch.

Przemek Lodej's picture

Well...long story short...if you are stupid you will pay for it. End of story. There are thousands of people like here out there.

Ben Perrin's picture

Rule number 1 of finance. Spend less than you earn!!!!

Michael Holst's picture

....you sure about that? I heard you gotta spend money to make money so I'm pretty sure spending all of it guarantee's you'll have a ton of it.

And the posting of this stupidity is important because...?

C'mon guys... please put out intelligent content. No one cares about what this woman did. Repeatedly posting pictures of one self shows you have issues. Get a life or seek help.

Simon Patterson's picture

I don't think this woman is as stupid as others do, and nor do I think the story is irrelevant to some photographers.

This is a story about someone who tried unsuccessfully (so far) to garner a social media following large enough to help fund her brand.

Many photographers here are aiming at the same thing, except with different branding. She's tried to brand herself (and is still trying, hence articles such as the one we are commenting on). This is something that many "social media influencers" have been successful at

Photographers who are attempting to use social media to attract income for their businesses could probably learm from both her successes and her failings, rather than simply moaning about how stupid and irrelevant this all is.

Martin Van Londen's picture

People go into debt to gain clout in the music industry all the time. That’s basically what a record deal is. For her sake, I hope it pays off in the long run. I mean she can always point to this artical and say “look at the earned media I gained from this venture”.

Jack Alexander's picture

Very valid point. And her following is naturally going up on the back of this

Alexis Cuarezma's picture

the true story of this article.. F-Stoppers is now using "Unsplashed" for images. Really? Come on guys? The leading images also has NOTHING to do w/ the story. Just a photo of a pretty girl for click bait.

dale clark's picture

Before doing photography full time, I was a plant manager for many years. Social Media would have been my best friend when sorting out resumes. The old saying still stands true today "people tell you who they are.........believe them"

Jonathan McMorran's picture

Given the amazing travel and life experiences she probably had, $10k doesn't seem all that bad!
Plus, that kind of social media presence is important in some fields, so hopefully it was a good investment.
Its a heckuva a lot better than paying off a car loan.

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