Pop star Emily Vaughn has a love/hate relationship with social media.
The 24-year-old Florida native was recently in Hawaii trying to unplug from a busy life in Los Angeles when she looked at her phone and instantly regretted it.
Checking social media, she came across a post that brought all her anxieties to the surface. Another up-and-coming pop star had released a single with the same title as one of Vaughn’s songs. Its cachet was lost.
“I do struggle with depression and anxiety, and being on social media can make it even more difficult,” the singer admits. “There’s always something to compare yourself to. My generation are the guinea pigs of how this tool will affect our mental health.”
Like most in Gen Z would, Vaughn took to Instagram to write about her feelings. She tapped out a long message about anxiety, depression, and mental health. She posted it, closed her phone, and felt relief.
“It’s ironic I’m bitching about social media,” Vaughn says, “because I owe my whole career to the internet.”
She grew up on Merritt Island, near Cape Canaveral, with a musical mother who also taught visual art. Vaughn and her sister played piano and guitar, and sang, often performing in school musicals and choir.
“Coming from a town of 30,000 people, I never imagined I could actually be a pop singer,” Vaughn says. “No one in my town was doing things like that.”