An influencer has criticized diet and skincare brands for stealing her images to share products that promise unachievable results.
Danae Mercer, 33, who lives in Dubai, has built an Instagram following of 2 million people with her photos that show how a simple adjustment in poses, lighting and outfit can drastically change the look of an influencer on social media.
She shows how small changes can reduce the appearance of cellulite, create the illusion of muscle and make her figure look longer and slimmer.
But she says the same posts have been taken and used by brands as “before and after” photos that claim to show a happy customer who has lost weight, tightened up or eliminated cellulite.
Advertisement: Danae Mercer, 33, who lives in Dubai, claims brands are using her photos to promote products for weight loss and cellulite reduction. Pictured, one such example of a Turkish brand claiming that the photos – taken seconds apart – are ‘before’ and ‘after’. It also said ‘100 percent customer satisfaction’
Original Post: The influencer originally shared the post to illustrate how posing and lighting can create the illusion of less cellulite (above)
Danae, who also works as a model and journalist, took to Instagram to share a series of ads featuring her images she found on the internet and said she came across samples “every week”.
One brand used her image to promote a diet pill and said she had lost 22 pounds by taking the product. Another cream claimed to get rid of her cellulite, while a third even made a fake trustpilot review using her photos.
Speaking to FEMAIL, she said, “This has actually been happening to me for over six months. The most recent was this week – an Italian company used one of my images to promote their anti-cellulite wand.
“They promoted the ad on Facebook, so many of my Italian followers (they promoted it to Italy) messaged me about it.
An Italian company that claims to sell a cream that cures cellulite (above) used this photo Danae took at a swimming pool in Dubai (below) to show the difference posing in front of the camera makes
“As a woman who talks so much about self-love and confidence, it’s incredibly frustrating that this keeps happening.
“The brands that do this don’t care. They steal my image to sell products that literally go against everything I stand for.
‘I don’t know the solution. A few copyright attorneys have said I can take action, but often it’s even impossible to figure out who’s behind these companies.
“So I just want to teach people that this is happening, and to be so, so, so careful when it comes to brands like this.”
One brand used her image to promote a diet pill and said she had lost 22 pounds by taking the product (above). The original post was designed to emphasize ‘normal’ hip dips (below)
One image was first posted to Instagram, where she “deliberately tilted her body” to shade her bum, while the flattering soft lighting “hided cellulite and smoothed out most of her stretch marks.”
But in the second, Danae “squatted casually next to the mirror,” explaining, “My hips and thighs are in the sunlight. Chunks and lumps can be seen.’
This image was used to promote some sort of cellulite solution and was shared with ‘before’ and ‘after’.
Danae shared her outrage on Instagram, writing: ‘Brands STEAL images all the time to SELL DIET PRODUCTS – So please be careful.
A French company used photos of Danae, claiming they were taking their diet product “before and after” (top). They used images taken at the same time, just from different angles
“Dozens of you sent me this first picture here. It’s yet another company that steals my photo, slaps their logo on it and swears THEIR PRODUCT changed MY BODY.
‘This company is PROMOTING the post on Facebook. So if you’re Italian and googled “body image” recently, it probably popped up. And the point is, something like this happens EVERY time. DAMN. WEEK. for me and my photos.
“Whether it’s a keto fat fast pill that claims their detox made me drop 10lbs in a week, or just some dodgy ‘body company’ that uses my photos to sell their guides, the scams just keep on coming.
A company used her photos to claim they could lose weight on a 12-week plan (above) — but all three photos of Danae were taken at the same time (below)
‘I do what I can (report, block, appeal). But I really, really want to remind you of something critical: SO MUCH of what we see on the internet is FAKE. Especially when it comes to diets. weight loss. Or anything that has to do with BODY SHAME.
“If a product seems too good to be true, it probably is. If it claims you will IMMEDIATELY lose weight or POOF STRETCHMARKS, be careful.
And if a bunch of women rub their bellies and say their lotion fixed the ‘saggy skin’, challenge it. The diet and weight loss industry is worth MILLIONS. These brands are cashing in.”
Danae said this image was promoted on Facebook by an Italian company that claimed to get rid of cellulite (above) but the original post was shared with a positive message (below)