White Instagram teen speaks out after being accused of 'posing' as a black woman
Because it's so easy to hide behind a social media profile these days, the famous faces we see on Instagram aren't always what they seem to be.
Take Emma Hallberg, for example: a 19-year-old self-described model and influencer from Sweden. She has just shy of 200,000 followers on the picture-sharing platform, and regularly updates her followers with makeup looks and tutorials. This is a picture of her:
From her appearance, many have assumed that Hallberg is Black or mixed race. But she's not. She's white, and claims that she has never tried to identify as anything otherwise.
However, due to the way she looks, many Black and mixed race women had followed her for her beauty tips - and now they feel betrayed knowing that her entire look is manufactured and fake.
The revelation caused something of an uproar on Twitter, with hundreds of people calling out the so-called influencer (and others like her) for profiting off appearing as a Black woman while real women of colour face all sorts of problems and prejudice due to their natural look.
"The girl was clearly posing as black, as she’s posted by many black pages etc.," said one person.
"Emma Hallberg really had my ass fooled, I'm sick," added another.
Some Twitter users even went so far as to suggest that Hallberg was doing blackface by using makeup that is so much darker than her natural skin tone. And when you see her without makeup, it's not hard to see why.
Hallberg has since spoken to Buzzfeed news about the backlash, saying "I do not see myself as anything else than white," and claiming that, "I get a deep tan naturally from the sun."
She backed this up by sharing a snap of herself from two years ago, where she says she has no product on her skin to darken it in any way.
"The only difference is that I didn’t post as many pictures that summer compared to this summer, because I didn’t have as many followers then as I do now," she said.
"It made me sad that some of my natural features are hurting and upsetting people. It also made me upset and scared that I can’t look the way I look naturally, without receiving false accusations, hate, and threats," Hallberg said. "I do not have any specific intentions other than [to] show my passion for makeup and fashion."
But Hallberg has also been called out for falsely claiming that her dark, wavy hair was natural, as she'd previously posted that she styled it specifically to achieve that texture.
Still, many fans are on her side.
"Think it’s absolutely disgusting that emma hallberg has had to justify wearing dark foundation and turned her comments off cause she’s getting threatening messages. Anyone pretending they’re ‘offended’ is just puuuuure jealous cause she’s stunning," said one person.
Another added: "You all should really be ashamed for sending Emma Hallberg so much hate. That girl felt the need to explain herself when I could look at her & tell it wasn’t cultural appropriation. Maybe your approach should have been different & from a point of curiosity and not assumption."
Older photos of the teen do show her with a significantly different complexion, however.
Hallberg still maintains that she is being her authentic self.