35 year-old model and influencer Jeff Thomas was found dead outside of his Miami apartment complex. Police are assuming that Thomas died by suicide by jumping from his apartment’s balcony. Thomas was known for his modeling with London based agency AMCK, which was the driving force behind his 122,000 strong following on Instagram. Thomas frequently ran into celebrities at contemporary art galleries, notably including Miami’s annual Art Basel event. Among them were actress Megan Fox and musician Nicole Scherzinger.
In 2022, Thomas additionally founded contemporary art gallery One Popsicle, which offered art consulting services in Miami, Los Angeles, and New York City. In the days before his death, Thomas revealed a tattoo on his arm that read “resilience,” followed by a photo of himself captioned “from the ashes.” His last post was a photo of himself taking an ice bath, and was hashtagged with several mental health related terms. Ice baths have become a popular prescription alternative method for reducing anxiety and depression.
Thomas’ untimely death was met with shock across social media. Many were surprised that someone as successful as Thomas would commit suicide, a common assumption made that tends to ignore a deeper examination of the complexity of mental health issues. Others urge people to understand that depression does not discriminate, and that his personal success may have had nothing to do with his alleged suicide.
Prayers for the loss and heartache that the family of Jeff Thomas are feeling right now. 🙏🏼
If you or someone you know needs help TEXT 988 or CALL 800-273-TALK. pic.twitter.com/RQSLtN8ZIM
— Seth Travis (@sethtravis) March 11, 2023
Some Twitter users discussed the pressures associated with the modeling industry, and what they could have done to Thomas’ mental health. Countless models have come forward on social media regarding their negative experiences in the industry in recent years, and some people who die by suicide do not disclose their ideation until it is too late.
Lots of these guys are forced to do awful, demeaning, life scarring things to get in the industry.
— JD Sharp (@imjdsharp) March 15, 2023
Due to Thomas’ death remaining under investigation, some fear that there was some form of fowl play involved. Outside of his career success, Thomas also posted about his close relationship with his grandmother and several family members.
Because he didn't. NO WAY. He wouldn't do that to his grandmother. He had to give that very careful thought. Start the investigations and look at the building CCTV cameras.
— 🇮🇱 Bobbie Evans 🗡🛡 (@BobbieE20238239) March 15, 2023
Many are also taking the tragedy as a reminder that social media frequently presents a facade. Thomas’ large following and picturesque posts could very well have been a distraction from internal struggles that he did not feel comfortable sharing with the masses.
further proof Instagram is a facade. You can post all the perfect filtered pics & all the look at my amazing social life pics. But thats not the true picture of their lives.
— dean martini (@martinidayz) March 15, 2023
The Miami police department has not closed the investigation into Thomas’ death at this time. While suicide is currently the running hypothesis, autopsy reports and a further investigation are ongoing. If you or a loved one is struggling, dialing 988 will connect you to a a suicide and crisis lifeline. Additionally, The Trevor Project offers suicide prevention resources for LGBTQ+ youth.