Is Freelee the Banana Girl actually living in a South American jungle? Who knows!
What’s an influencer? Effectively, it’s a person who’s convinced that they aren’t just an individual, but an actual lifestyle brand. Many of them are paid handsomely by potential brands and content partners to post meticulously curated photos of themselves captioned with long, vague diatribes filled with nonsensical aphorisms. They generally make a point to harp on how an ideal life is attainable if you have the right mindset and maybe access to a trust fund.
Perhaps the logical endpoint of influencer culture is “Freelee the Banana Girl." Across her two Instagram accounts she has roughly 431,000 followers, who check in to see what the frugivorous vegan has to say about the energy you give off to the universe or whatever.
As you might’ve guessed, Freelee’s been known to eat more bananas than you do. Her unique dietary approach is based around the concept of “mono meals,” essentially eating one fruit at a time, and lots of it. These feasts are “made up of a single fruit, such as two entire pineapples in a sitting or five mangoes, two quarts of orange juice or as many as 20 bananas at a time.” Her personal record for bananas eaten in a single stands at an absurd 51.
That insane amount of natural sugar gives Freelee (real name Leanne Ratcliffe) the energy she needs to write long posts about how hard it is to live “off the grid,” a claim that’s been met with some skepticism. Though Ratcliffe says she’s living about as close to the state of nature as you can get down in a South American jungle, some followers maintain that she lives in a mansion and is followed around by a professional photographer.
“One commenter said I was lying and living in a mansion out here and have a photographer who follows me around taking all my pics. Not quite hunny,” she said in a post. “In reality I’ve been living in a tent under a shed for many months, through monsoonal rains and gale force winds.”
If what Freelee says is true, it sounds like she’s been traipsing around the jungle in the nude, getting fruits from the trees, but using a satellite connection and a laptop to post content and type passive-aggressive captions to clap back at the haters.
One has to wonder if the banana-heavy diet is leaving her either hangry or overstimulated, because it seems she has something of a history when it comes to picking fights with other free spirits. She was accused of bullying a Youtuber/pilates instructor back in 2016, and she was sued for defamation after she made disparaging comments about Australian fitness expert Kayla Itsines’ The Bikini Body Guide, presumably because it advocates wearing clothing.
How does this all end? With the destruction of influencer culture as we know it? If only we were so lucky. For now, just know that if someone on the internet tells you that you need to take off your clothes and eat 50 bananas a day to experience health, wellness, and freedom, they’re probably full of it.