Calling bullshit on the YouTuber who says she’s living ‘completely off-grid’ in a South American jungle

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Calling bullshit on the YouTuber who says she’s living ‘completely off-grid’ in a South American jungle

She is SCAMMING you

A sinister YouTube star is almost definitely lying to you about moving to the South American jungle to live an Instagram-friendly off-grid lifestyle. Freelee (formerly Freelee the Banana Girl, real name Leanne Ratcliffe) is an Australian YouTuber with a huge following of fans eager to watch her videos about going vegan. And now I swear she's peddling a new lie about living off-grid deep in the Ecuadorian jungle.

"I chose the off-grid lifestyle because it just feels right," says Freelee in a video called Why I moved from the City to the Off Grid Jungle. "I love being surrounded by nature, rather than cars, people and shops." She's even been praised by the Daily Mail as a "public activist" who enjoys a wholesome jungle existence.

Which sounds lovely! If only it were true!

Lately I go days without looking in the mirror even once, and I find it incredibly freeing. This was definitely not always the case. As a young woman I became obsessed with my reflection. I would spend hours a day analysing and comparing. Was it because I was vain? Because I thought I was too perfect for this world? On the contrary, I saw a face filled with 'imperfections'. I believed the story I was told by advertisements, that I was born inadequate and in desperate need of enhancement. I saw normal human charateristics as defects to be erased or covered; to be ashamed of. I hated my skin, especially my freckles. My smile was too narrow and my teeth too crooked. My top lip too skinny. Eyes not big enough. My hair too fine. The reality is, I didn't see the real me in the mirror. I didn't see the cheeky girl who loved to explore nature for hours and play in the dirt and creeks, instead I saw the ugly lies the beauty industry fed me. I've now been many months without makeup, fake lashes, creams, treatments etc and it feels so damn liberating. Remember, you were not born flawed, you were born into a flawed system. You were designed to be wild and free, to get dirty, to love and laugh, to explore and experience this beautiful planet – not to stress over your humanness. Don't buy the lie$ #gofreeyourself

A post shared by #gofreeyourself (@freelee_official) on

The first thing that made me smell a rat was when she railed against "cars and shops." Yet she clearly 1) owns a car and 2) goes to shops! Here's a screenshot of her driving through the streets of Quito in an earlier video called What is it like to live in Ecuador? A Day in the life.

Image may contain: Convertible, Vehicle, Transportation, Car, Automobile

And here she is filming her partner buying food in a shop.

Image may contain: Market, Produce, Food, Person, People, Human

Next is where she actually lives. She would have you believe from looking at her Instagram that she literally lives nude in the jungle, sleeping on trees and bathing in rivers.

Image may contain: Hair, Vegetation, Tree, Plant, Outdoors, Nature, Land, Jungle, Forest, Flora, Poster, Collage, Person, People, Human

In my eyes you are successful in life when you have the courage to embrace who you really are, however strange or peculiar that may be. Regardless of whether it fits with societies expectations or cultural norms. Growing up I often said the wrong things, didn't have the right clothing, or the right look, and was laughed at or excluded for being "a bit weird". I never felt fully accepted. Over time I learned to keep my "uncool" thoughts to myself and adapt my appearance so others would feel comfortable being around me. This only left me feeling internally suppressed and frustrated, (certainly not free) until one day when I reached my threshold and thought – ahh fuuuck it, this is boring! And this isn't me! – From then on I decided to just let the TRUE me flow, to be my rawself, to act impulsively, to own that embarrassed look from others and to be the awkward freak I'm born to be. 😅The result? Goodbye fake friendships, hello soul mates ☀️#gofreeyourself

A post shared by #gofreeyourself (@freelee_official) on

I'm not an expert but aren't there like, ants and mosquitos and gigantic hairy spiders waiting to bite your ass in the jungle? She can't actually be sleeping in the trees, can she?

So maybe she lives here, as this thumbnail from her video suggests:

Image may contain: Housing, House, Cottage, Building, Person, People, Human

Or wait – maybe it's here, as this photo in the Daily Mail article suggests:

Image may contain: Water, Pond, Outdoors

Or is it actually this shack that looks like something straight out of a luxury hotel, complete with kitchen and lacquered floorboards? The home where she keeps her enormous computer to edit HD videos and upload them to her viral YouTube channel? Off-grid my ass!

Image may contain: Stained Wood, Flooring, Wood, Hardwood, Bowl, Person, People, Human, Vase, Pottery, Potted Plant, Plant, Jar, FloraImage may contain: Hydrant, Glass, Yard, Outdoors, Backyard, Vase, Pottery, Potted Plant, Plant, Jar, Flora, Person, People, HumanImage may contain: Clock

"So generally for dinner we will just sit down and talk about our day and enjoy each other's company," she says in her video describing her extremely off-grid life. "Or else we might actually watch an educational documentary or something like that."

She goes on: "I gave away most of my possessions and embraced a minimalist lifestyle." What a wonderful minimalist lifestyle it must be to shed excess possessions, unplug from society, and only keep the bare essentials that matter – essentials like an expensive computer screen, a high-speed internet connection fast enough to maintain a YouTube channel, yoga mats, a car…

Also – check out these screenshots from her videos. Can you please tell me if the first one is actually some sort of five-star hotel tiki torch and the second is just an electricity pylon?

Image may contain: Vase, Pottery, Potted Plant, Plant, Jar, Flora, Person, People, HumanImage may contain: Rainforest, Vegetation, Tree, Plant, Outdoors, Nature, Land, Jungle, Forest, Flora, Person, People, Human

If you have any info about Freelee's off-grid lifestyle actually being a scam, or any other fake YouTubers, please email [email protected] with receipts.

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