herald

Tuesday 22 May 2018

Social media 'makes me feel shame for not being perfect' - Thalia

Thalia Heffernan and her boyfriend, dancer Ryan McShane
Thalia Heffernan and her boyfriend, dancer Ryan McShane

Model Thalia Heffernan fears that touched-up photos posted on line by social media 'influencers' could be damaging to mental health.

The 23-year-old Dubliner described it as a breath of fresh air to see the issue being highlighted.

"It's good that people are finally talking about it because social media has become such a superficial world," she said.

"There are so many apps and so much technology available to change and alter - the truth has gone out of the industry entirely.

"If I don't like an image, I won't try and alter it to make myself feel better. I just won't put it on my social media.

"I look at people online and sometimes feel shame for not looking as 'perfect' as they do, so the last thing I want to do is to make people feel that way about me."

Thalia's comments came as it emerged that anony-mous social media sites have been set up to call out influencers who are accused of promoting unattainable perfection among people who are unaware the technology is being used.

Phone apps are available nowadays that can falsely accentuate eyes, whiten teeth, remove blemishes and even change the shape of the face.

"In my professional work it's out of my hands, but in my own personal life I want to try my best to ensure I don't fall victim to other people's shaming when they call out images for being fake," she said.

"People message me saying that I'm not as good looking as I think. That's common on social media.

Reality

"I would rather they said that than tell me 'You don't look like that in reality'.

"Editing isn't a sin, but it should be something people take into consideration when it comes to having responsibility online because it can be really damaging to themselves and to others in the long run."

Speaking about models and bloggers who use of photo-editing apps, Thalia said: "You're only harming yourself.

"And with talk of mental illness on the rise, it's not helping anyone.

"They're not helping the person using it.

"Doing this enables mental illness to thrive and they're hurting their own self-esteem.

"When I walk out my front door in the morning and someone sees me, I want them to say, 'Oh, that's the girl from the image'. I don't want people to not recognise me.

"If doing that means I don't manipulate and edit my images, then I just won't do it."

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