Love Island star Molly Mae, who was already an influencer before she entered the villa for the ITV dating show, has come under fire for her comments on a YouTube channel.
Speaking on Steven Barlett’s Diary of a CEO show, Mae explained how she became creative director of clothing brand PrettyLittleThing.
The 22-year-old, who is one of the UK’s most followed people on Instagram, was quizzed on several aspects of her life, including her relationship with Tommy Fury – the contestant she left the Love Island villa with, who she’s been seeing since. She also opened up about a recent burglary which saw the theft of prized items.
But the part which ruffled many feathers included a segment on hustle culture and entrepreneurship.
Citing the popular adage that ‘Beyonce has the same 24 hours as us’ as a motivator to just get things done, Mae told Barlett: “You have one life, it’s up to you what you do with it...I’ve worked my absolute arse off to get where I am today.”
Mae explained how she has had criticisms levelled at her in the past regarding this attitude, but doubled down saying: “Technically, that is correct, we do have the same 24 hours in a day.
“We do all come back from different backgrounds and financial situations, but if you want something enough, you can achieve it.”
The comments hit a nerve, though, as many pointed out that while we do in fact have the same amount of hours in a day, our opportunities, socio-economic background and general positions in life vary to Mae, a millionaire.
Many pointed out on Twitter the myths of meritocracy that Mae seemed to be championing – showing that the playing field isn’t level for all.
I wrote an entire 10,000 word dissertation on the Class Ceiling and why working class people struggle to progress. But everyone has the same 24 hours in a day and opportunities according to Molly Mae so how can there ever be a class ceiling? 😍😌🥰 😳😳 https://t.co/Y0IOFk1Tin
— Rhianna Murray (@rhiannamurray) January 6, 2022
Molly Mae won’t be the first to mention it nor the last, but this ‘meritocratic’ society everyone tries to present is utter bullshit. Your class status at birth will determine how far you go, not your work ethic.
— Hamza (@Hamza_a96) January 6, 2022
Others questioned her role as creative director of PLT – a brand regularly criticised for its fast fashion – asking whether they could simply achieve their dreams by working as hard as her.
Molly Mae’s 24 hours of the day include ignoring that she happily took on a £500k deal at Pretty Little Thing, which pays its workers in Leicester £3.50 an hour and kept them working through the first lockdown. Garment workers in the UK have one of the highest Covid death rates.
— Hasan Patel 🌹 (@CorbynistaTeen) January 6, 2022
And many, many more simply pointed out how ridiculous the whole “we all have the same hours in the day” idea is.
The Molly Mae thing goes beyond influencers. I've listened to people who have two jobs and still can't pay the bills make similar arguments.* Most people are emotionally attached to the idea that hard work reaps rewards. How to address that is complex and not easy to answer.
— Ellie Mae O'Hagan (@elliemaeohagan) January 6, 2022
Molly Mae is a prime example of how influencers promote individualist narratives and a very right-wing world-view. Thatcherite talking-points dressed up in "inspirational" influencer speak
— Louis Staples (@LouisStaples) January 6, 2022
I’m going to be honest and say I didn’t expect more from Molly Mae. No disrespect to her, she’s great in the lane she’s in but critical analysis of class, privilege etc was not something I was banking on from her. There’s people out there who DO get it though.
— Richie Brave (@RichieBrave) January 6, 2022
As someone who’s both worked jobs in retail and offices as well as doing Instagram sponsored post bits I cannot listen to Molly Mae claim that she’s worked her arse off because one thing feels like working hard at a job and the other quite simply does not
— Harrison Brocklehurst (@harrisonjbrock) January 6, 2022
Molly Mae’s age doesn’t make her exempt from critique. Many people her age and younger understand poverty can’t be eradicated by everyone using their 24 hours of the day better🥴
— h⚡️ (@h4y44t) January 6, 2022
Sorry Molly Mae, this was not the inspirational talk we needed.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.