Photo Credit: Heidi Yeh's Facebook
When many of us scroll through the Internet and our social media pages, it’s more than likely that a meme or two will pop up. Although they are just photos with funny text, a meme has the potential to reach millions. So what happens when you are the person in the meme, with your edited image spreading throughout the web? For Taiwanese model Heidi Yeh, a simple photo shoot turned into a large frustration that may have ended her career.
It all began when Yeh was hired in 2012 for a photo shoot for a Taiwanese plastic surgery clinic. Yeh posed in a strapless ball gown alongside a man in a suit and three young children in formal clothing, hinting at the idea they were a family posing for a picture. According to Heidi, the clinic told her that the ad would only be used in newspapers and magazines, solely for that company.
Things became complicated for Heidi when the original plastic surgery clinic sold the photos to another plastic surgery office that then used that photo on their website. Suddenly, the image spread across the Internet with a new caption that read, “Plastic surgery- you can’t hide it forever.”
Photo Credit: Heidi Yeh's Instagram
Photo Credit: WeKnowMemes.com
This caption suggests that both Heidi and the man beside her had plastic surgery, due to their elongated noses and wide eyes. The joke is then played off by the edited faces of the children who have small eyes and flat noses.
The meme quickly spread throughout the world, with people sharing it in multiple languages. The photo was even used by a Chinese tabloid that attached it to a fake story which claimed a man was suing his wife for lying about her plastic surgery.
“I realized the whole world was spreading it and in different languages,” Heidi told the BBC. “People actually thought it was real.”
Yeh claims the meme has affected both her personal and work life, and now she no longer wants to work as a model because of the image. Before the meme, Yeh worked as a commercial model for companies like KFC and the computer company VAIO.
Yeh is threatening to sue the original plastic surgery clinic, claiming that she lost a potential $4m new Taiwan dollars ($123,000). However, she claims that it isn’t about the money, and she is more interested in raising awareness for cyber-bullying and clarifying the truth.