White Influencer Denies She Pretended to Be Black to Get Followers: 'Let Me Explain'
A Swedish model has found herself in hot water on social media after being accused of pretending to be black to get followers.
Emma Hallberg, 19, grew popular on Instagram for her impressive makeup looks and trendy outfits. She was also thought to be either black or mixed race due to her deep complexion and curly hair.
However, a few weeks ago, a photo of Hallberg surfaced on the internet, showing her with much lighter skin and completely straight hair.
“I honestly thought Emma hallberg was half black,” one user tweeted after seeing the photo.
“I thought she was mixed my girl is fully SWEDISH,” another fan wrote.
Another fan alleged that Hallberg was “blackfishing.”
“This Swedish White girl is guilty of ‘blackfishing,’ a term used to describe someone who masquerades as a Blk person to deceive others. By extreme tanning, dark makeup & braids, this fraud is exposed!”
Seemingly backing the fan’s claim, another user chimed in writing, “The girl was clearly posing as black, as she’s posted by many black pages etc.”
As the old photo of Hallberg went viral, the influencer had no choice but to address her race.
Hallberg addressed her race directly when messaged by a fan. “Yes I’m white and I’ve never claimed to be anything else. And by no way, there are no “before” pictures, the pictures that has been spread are just two diefferent [sic] pictures taken on two different seasons of the year.”
Hallberg did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
The young model went on to share a series of messages on her Instagram Stories saying, “Let me explain.”
“You’ve probably seen these two pictures besides [sic] each other all over Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, where they are called the ‘before & after,’” Hallberg wrote, explaining the viral photo.
“The left picture was taken 2 years ago right before summer with barely any makeup and my hair straightened.”
“The right picture was taken in July right after I came home from a vacation, with makeup,” Hallberg continued.
“I’ve been accused of doing frequent spray tans, taking melatonin, getting hair perms and lip injections and many more. When I haven’t done anything of the above.”
Hallberg then shared a series of recent photos of herself and credited her skin tone to spending a lot of time in the sun.
“This is how the sun tans my skin naturally during the summer,” Hallberg explained.
To further back her claim, the influencer also shared a photo of her brother and father, which shows them with deep skin tones as well.
“As you can see they also tan very easily,” Hallberg wrote.
As for her hair texture, Hallberg says that also runs in her family.
She shared a clip of her mother, who also has naturally dark curly hair. Hallberg also shared photos of herself as a child with curly hair.
Hallberg later explained that she uses darker makeup for her face to match the rest of her body.
“In my YouTube video I use a darker foundation than my face only to match it to the rest of my body. Why my face is less tanned than my body is because I have some acne and scar issues so I use a lot of face scrubs, toners and peeling products.”
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Hallberg concluded her stories writing, “I do not get my sponsorships, work opportunities and collaborations because of the color of my skin. I get it because of the way I style my clothes and create makeup looks.”
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