A Washington college student targeted by online bullies over a photo that showed how she covered her acne with makeup is fighting back at her critics.
A striking before-and-after photo of Ashley VanPevenage, 20, was posted earlier in the year by a makeup artist friend, who helped show her how to cover up her blemishes. Months later, the photo was picked up on social media by users who re-posted the picture with new — and cruel — captions.
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“I’ll spend time with her, as long as I never see her before 10 am,” wrote one person, while another suggested she was proof why men should take women “swimming on the first date.”
VanPevenage said she learned that the photo had turned into a meme after recently finding her photo on her Instagram feed with “thousands and thousands” of mean remarks. The picture also has been retweeted on Twitter thousands of times.
“They’re very disturbing and nasty comments,” VanPevenage said, responding to the critics in a YouTube video.
“I used to be entertained by many memes,” VanPevenage said, until she became the subject of one. The experience left her feeling hurt and shattered her confidence.
“I have never been one to be uncomfortable with going out in public in my natural skin and my natural hair until this picture was posted,” she said.
She started avoiding going out unless her hair and makeup were done but said she soon realized "that isn't the person I am." She started to shake off the comments and hopes others self-conscious about their appearance will learn from her experience.
“Everyone should feel beautiful in their natural skin and it doesn’t matter what’s on the outside of your face," she said. "The only thing that matters is who you really are.”