Internet Sensation Gone Wrong

Becoming an Internet sensation would be the dream of many people, it is one of the simplest and quickest way to rise to fame. But that was not the case for Taiwanese model Heidi Yeh, who has watched her life slowly begin to crumble as a result of an infamous meme.

Heidi Yeh did not see any of these events unravel when she decided to be featured in a plastic surgery ad. Yeh took action by threatening to sue the clinic and advertising agency after she became an Internet sensation. The model believes that losing control of her own image ruined her life and damaged both her personal and career life.

“I’ve broken down many times crying and I haven’t been able to sleep,” says Heidi Yeh

It all began in 2012, where she participated in an advertisement photo shoot that aimed to drive people towards plastic surgery at a Taiwanese cosmetic clinic. The ad showcased attractive parents with big eyes and long, well-defined noses with their three children, with altered appearances, that seem to have small eyes and flat noses and the following message “The only thing you’ll ever have to worry about is how to explain it to the kids.”

This all came as a shocking surprise to the model due to the fact that her agreed upon contract stated that the ad would only be used by that clinic for newspapers and magazines. The following events diverted away from the purpose of the ad when another plastic surgery clinic used the image for their website and shared it on Facebook as well. And from there, the photo was shared and sent and was going viral across the Internet as a meme with a newly attached caption: “Plastic surgery – you can’t hide it forever.” until today.

The events did not end there when a Chinese tabloid used the same photo and linked it to a fake story about a husband who was suing his wife when he found out that she went under the knife and used plastic surgery to alter her appearance before they met; since the children grew up to look nothing like her.

“Then I realised the whole world was spreading it and in different languages. People actually thought it was real. Even my then-boyfriend’s friends would ask about it.” says Heidi Yeh

The meme reached its global peak when the photo and the story became popular on Google in a number of different languages. After that, Yeh began getting less and less work, “People refused to believe that I had never had plastic surgery. Clients would ask me if I was the woman in the picture. After this, I only got small roles in advertisements.”

She was not able to maintain healthy personal relationships either because her companions were embarrassed by the rumors associated with her. This negative outbreak has cost the model almost $123,000 in potential earnings.

A lawsuit was on the table for her, however, she is not after the money, she seeks justice. Her aim is to clarify that none of these alleged stories are true in addition to having the companies own up to their roles of how the photo was used.

The story did not end there when the companies decided to fight back with threats to sue Yeh based on the damage she has caused to their reputations.

The Taiwanese model says that she is a victim of cyber-bulling, and since the Internet cannot be controlled, she only hopes that the photo would stop trending around the world wide web and end the vicious cycle she was sucked in.

“I can’t bear to look at it… The children may not use social media now, but it will hurt them when they grow up.”

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