We often feel that in our regular scrolling of social media that we come to intimately know the celebrities and influencers we follow. But former Big Brother star, Tully Smyth, has given her legions of fans a glimpse behind her “highlight reel” in an emotional post about her actual reality.
Alongside two moving images of the 29-year-old and holding her mother's hand, she opened up about a part of her life she’s kept private for years, her mum's Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
“Since I gained a social media following overnight due to my appearance on Big Brother back in 2013, I’ve struggled with wanting to use my platform to raise awareness for @alzheimersaus and wanting to keep our family’s heartbreak private,” she wrote.
“I share photos of my mum from before she was sick, trying to protect her. Trying to ensure that the world remembers her as she was: beautiful and bright and bold. And not as she is today: frail and ravaged by the disease. Unable to talk. Unable to recognise us. Barely alive. Stuck in some cruel purgatory.”
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, in which brain damage results in impaired memory, thinking and behaviour. It mostly affects older people, with three in ten people over 85 having dementia, but approximately 25,938 Australians between 30 and 60 are suffering from younger onset dementia. There is currently no cure.
The influencer reveals that recently she’s felt disillusioned with social media and the glamorous facade she’s been keeping up.
“Lately however, I’ve felt lost. Social media has been ruined for me. Tarnished. The fun, the frivolity has been taken out of what I do. My bubble has burst and I’m fucking angry.
"I’m heartbroken. This – Instagram – is not real life. My feed, all the parties & stupid selfies and pretty photos of my food, is not real life. It’s a curated version of events. It’s my highlights reel. It’s not what’s important to me. Yes, I have been lucky enough to create a living out of social media. I’ve been blessed with some amazing opportunities, travelled the world and met some new inspiring, life-long friends. But it’s not my everyday reality.”
She says that her reality and her priority are her loved ones, and she asked a rare favour of her fans.
“I’ve said before that I don’t like asking for favours, I don’t like asking for help. But I’m asking you to do this for me: if you’ve ever bought something because you’ve seen it on my Instagram...if you’ve ever eaten at a venue because you saw I had & it looked delicious, if you’ve ever spent a cent, because I convinced you too...because I influenced you to...then please, head to to the link in my bio & donate even just $10 to @alzheimersaus. It would mean the world to me. It would make my heart a little less heavy today. It would make the knot in my stomach a little less tight."
If you'd like to show your support, head to Alzheimer's Australia.