She’s clicking her fingers — and exposing Instagram’s ugly side.
It’s no secret that many Instagram users doctor their photos for internet clout. However, one fitness model has set out to expose just how “inauthentic” the site can be — by sharing shocking photos of herself before and after digital manipulation.
“In a world where editing our bodies can happen with just a click of a button, just remember that anything you see could be fake!” certified UK fitness trainer Hayley Madigan admitted to her more than 480,000 Instagram followers. The 31-year-old Portsmouth native regularly posts pictures of herself in swimwear to demonstrate how an average (or even above-average) body can be made to look supermodel-esque via good lighting, certain angles and slight editing.
“I wanted to show women and men how easy it is for people’s bodies to be manipulated, even in videos,” Madigan told Jam Press of the “inauthentic” trend, which is becoming increasingly problematic in today’s social media-saturated society.
In a recent video exposé on the ‘Gram, the bikini-clad influencer can be seen snapping her fingers, whereupon her waist shrinks and her bum enlarges like a plastic surgery informercial. Later on in the clip, she uses her boyfriend Bernie Saupe, 40, to show how the same digital trickery can make men appear more swoll.
“Using an app it took me 30 seconds to edit mine and my boyfriend’s bodies,” Madigan said of her ‘Gram-ouflage showcase. “Our younger generation are growing up with such a big emphasis around social media and these teenagers deserve to know the reality behind people’s content.”
Some experts agree that online obfuscations are particularly harmful to youth: A 2017 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study suggested that social media posts depicting “perfect” lives may be taking a sizable toll on teens’ mental health, according to research published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science.
Apparently all social-media users need to look like a cover girl is a little virtual voodoo. Madigan’s other alarming “before and after” shots illustrate how simply posing a certain way can hide cellulite wrinkles and dimples a la Melisandre in “Game of Thrones.”
Some ‘Gram gawkers were awestruck by Madigan’s shape-shifting abilities.
“Omg! Never seen this in a video before I didn’t know that was a thing now too that is wild,” wrote one flabbergasted fan of Madigan’s public service announcement.
“Omg I didn’t even know this was possible,” said another.
One disillusioned commenter exclaimed, “Wooow!! They editing videos now what the actual f – – k. This is getting ridiculous!! so sad.”
However, Madigan said she wasn’t posting the videos just to instill shock and awe. The bombshell wanted to expose the inauthenticity of celebrity endorsements, which often employ doctored photos to hawk their products.
“Big companies and celebrities should have to tell the audience with a disclaimer when editing has been done to videos or images,” suggested the exercise guru, adding that people need real “role models to be authentic.” Not to mention that online “catfish” scammers often employ heavily altered images to hoodwink unsuspecting victims.
“I initially feel quite sad for the people who think they need to edit their bodies to feel confident or for approval,” lamented Madigan.
The Insta-star ultimately hopes that her posts will encourage people to “feel comfortable and confident in their own skin without editing,” she said.
This is not the first time a fit-fluencer has exposed the shady practice of digital deep-fakery. In 2018, personal trainer Sia Cooper showed how an app called Facetune allows even novice editors to embellish their body like they’re creating a character in a video game.