Digital Media: Life-Changing Online

Constructing the “Instagirl,” Deconstructing the Self-Brand: Amalia Ulman’s Instagram Hoax


  • Emma Maguire James Cook University



Instagram, self-branding, new media, girlhood, gender, hoax


Amalia Ulman is an Argentinian-born Spanish artist who used Instagram as a platform for an art piece titled Excellences & Perfections in which she used images of herself to portray a fictional character whose story unfolded over several months. Her images, replicating popular tropes of digital autobiographical performance were presented and widely read as 'authentic' selfies. This essay examines how Ulman’s performance piece can be understood as an autobiographical mediation that uses networked photo-sharing practices to investigate feminine embodiment and self-representation, and how self-branding in digital media is gendered.

Author Biography

Emma Maguire, James Cook University

Emma Maguire is a Lecturer in English and Writing at James Cook University where she teaches life writing and creative writing. She researches gender and autobiography online. Her book, Girls, Autobiography, Media: Gender and Self-Mediation in Digital Economies is out now with Palgrave Macmillan. Her research has also been published in a/b: Autobiography Studies, Biography, Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature, Prose Studies, and M/C Media/Culture Journal. You can reach her at





Digital Media: Life-Changing Online