White Instagram teen speaks out after being accused of 'posing' as a black woman
Thanks to filters, FaceTune, and society's reliance on platforms such as Instagram, it's become increasingly easy to hide behind a social media profile.
Case in point: 19-year-old Emma Hallberg, a self-proclaimed model and influencer from Sweden. Hallberg has just shy of 200,000 followers on Instagram, and regularly shares her makeup looks and tutorials with her fans.
From her appearance on the photo-sharing app, many have assumed that Hallberg is mixed race or black. But she is not. She's white, and alleges that she has never tried to identify as anything else.
Due to the so-called influencer's look, many black and mixed race women had followed her beauty tutorials, and now, they feel betrayed knowing that her appearance is wholly manufactured.
The revelation caused quite the uproar on Twitter, with people calling out Hallberg (and others like her) for profiting off resembling as a black woman, while actual women of colour face prejudice on account of their natural look.
"The girl was clearly posing as black, as she’s posted by many black pages etc," wrote one Instagram user, while another corroborated "Emma Hallberg really had my ass fooled, I'm sick."
Some social media users even went so far as to suggest that Hallberg had been guilty of blackface, as she had used makeup that was so much darker than her natural skin tone.
Hallberg has since spoken to Buzzfeed News, saying "I do not see myself as anything else than white," and claiming "I get a deep tan naturally from the sun."
She attempted to provide evidence for this assertion by sharing a snap of herself from two years ago, where she allegedly has no product on her skin to darken it.
"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 continued.
"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."
However, Hallberg has also been called out for falsely claiming that her dark, wavy hair is natural - as she'd previously posted a tutorial which shows that she specifically styles it to achieve that texture.
Nonetheless, many fans remain 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," one commentator wrote.
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."
Hallberg still maintains that she is being her authentic self.