Summer sleepwear pyjama sets for a cooling, comfortable sleep
Summer sleepwear pyjama sets for a cooling, comfortable sleep

Holly O'Neill

The greatest under-eye masks for dark circles and de-puffing tired eyes
The greatest under-eye masks for dark circles and de-puffing tired eyes

Holly O'Neill

Hailey Bieber’s Rixo dress gave us the shopping itch, so here are 12 others we love
Hailey Bieber’s Rixo dress gave us the shopping itch, so here are 12 others we...

Sarah Finnan

Rustic baskets, cute plant pots and a rattan lamp: our summer wishlist from Søstrene Grene’s latest collection
Rustic baskets, cute plant pots and a rattan lamp: our summer wishlist from Søstrene Grene’s...

Megan Burns

Want to book a weekend away? These 5 secluded staycation spots are just a short drive from the city
Want to book a weekend away? These 5 secluded staycation spots are just a short...

Shayna Sappington

The pros and cons of stone, concrete, steel, solid surfaces and timber kitchen countertops
The pros and cons of stone, concrete, steel, solid surfaces and timber kitchen countertops

Lauren Heskin

Take a peek inside some of the gorgeous Irish homes on the RIAI Public Choice Award shortlist
Take a peek inside some of the gorgeous Irish homes on the RIAI Public Choice...

Megan Burns

Glossier is opening 3 new permanent stores this year – one of them in London
Glossier is opening 3 new permanent stores this year – one of them in London

Sarah Finnan

What’s on June 2021: The new TV, streaming shows, books and podcasts to try
What’s on June 2021: The new TV, streaming shows, books and podcasts to try

Lauren Heskin

Locals are showing their support for Waterford’s LGBTQI+ community following homophobic incidents
Locals are showing their support for Waterford’s LGBTQI+ community following homophobic incidents

Sarah Finnan

Image / Editorial

The Outrageous Lies And Spectacular Downfall Of Superstar Blogger Belle Gibson


by Geraldine Carton
11th Jan 2018
blank

If you’ve never heard of her before, Belle Gibson is the young woman who started off as an alternative health blogger in 2009, only to transform into Australia’s most famous poster girl for the alternative wellness industry within a couple of years. Gibson’s fame was generated from a completely fabricated story of survival: that she had been diagnosed with brain cancer and  given just four months to live and  had chosen to fight the incurable disease without any traditional medicine.  Her “journey to recovery” through diet alone was the stuff of modern legend.

The problem is no single aspect to her story was true – from the symptoms and the medical professionals, to her age and upbringing. But what causes a woman to create such a dangerous lie? Well, there was the profitable business venture, the lucrative book deal (The Whole Pantry) and chart-topping app…  Not to mention the position as an immortal being who had done what nobody else could do – find the cure for cancer.

For much of her life, Belle Gibson was just a normal girl living in Australia. So how did a normal girl who performed well in school and had lots of friends, evolve into a pathological liar? Starting out with seemingly-innocent fibs, Gibson went on to create a con so big, so inconceivable, that it turned the #wellness industry on its head, and shook it to the core.

Written by award-winning investigative journalists Beau Donelly and Nick Toscano (who between them have covered clergy sex-abuse trials, and exposed Australia’s biggest ever underpayment scandal), Belle Gibson: The Woman Who Fooled The World  is an incredibly well-investigated account of one girl’s organic rise to #wellbeing stardom, only to be discovered as a fake, a phony, and a con artist.

 

Image via mamamia.com.au

This book highlights that in today’s world all that’s need to accrue a huge following of health-enthusiasts isn’t a health qualification, but a powerful story. Gibson’s story particularly appealed to vulnerable individuals who genuinely were suffering from cancer, and who were desperate for a remedy that could cure them. It’s just too bad that such a remedy didn’t exist.

This engrossing story is one that ultimately reflects badly not just on Gibson herself, but on the dark side of the industry that she was able to fool by spearheading an online community with nothing more than the conviction of her lies and her commitment to an aspirational “clean eating life”. This is a girl who was celebrated on International Women’s Day for “the goodness she offers to the world’’, and was awarded Cosmopolitan’s 2014 Fun, Fearless Female Award. As such it took an astonishing amount of time before people started to question her bona fides.

The reality was that, not only had she lied about her diagnosis, she had also raised funds for charities by galvanising her hundreds of thousands of followers – only to not donate any of the money to them. It was when this fact came to light, that things quickly began to fall apart for Gibson. This was not an easy story to uncover, people were terrified of speaking out and the authors were threatened with countless lawsuits, but nonetheless these journalists persevered, and the deeper they dug the more lies they uncovered.

The book tracks Belle Gibson’s entire journey from hero to zero, and it’s amazing to observe her actions with the added benefit of hindsight. An incredibly thrilling who-done-it, even though you know who done it (it was the psycho lying kale girl! She did it! She did it!), you can’t put the book down. Watch in amazement as a star becomes the untouchable, someone no one even wants to be associated with.

 

Main image via ABC Australia

Also Read