Social media “influencers” have a hard life. Mostly it seems to consist of taking pictures of themselves. Or things. Of course, sometimes even taking pictures of things proves too difficult, and in those desperate hours, there’s only one logical solution — steal someone else’s.
Which brings us to the tale of Sadelle Yeung, described by Apple Daily as a KOL — that’s “key opinion leader” for the non-acronym savvy — who this week hurriedly removed 95 images from her account. Among the deleted photos were pictures of avocado toast, brick walls, blues skies and sunflowers. Naturally, many were accompanied by faux inspirational captions. Y’know, influencer stuff.
The model — who has 91,000 followers on Instagram — regularly posts about travel, and last year even appeared in a travel show about Singapore called A Seek in Singapore.
But things began to unravel and unravel hard for Ms. Yeung last month when she posted on Instagram that she was headed for a holiday in Italy and later posted a series of snaps — hashtag #travelwithsadelle, ya’ll! — that she claimed to have taken herself.
Only, of course, she didn’t. Which was quickly picked up on by savvy Instagram users, who began calling her out.
“Crazy, every single photo here is stolen,” said one post. “This entire Instagram account is fake,” said another. And of course, who could forget the classic “wow, she stole so many photos.”
According to the outlet, one of the photos that tripped Yeung up was this one posted of Italy’s Amalfi Coast posted on June 4.
While Yeung claimed she’d taken the photo — and a cursory glance at her Instagram stories indicates that she was in Italy quite recently — a quick Google search found that the photo she posted was actually taken from the website of an Australian travel company. Oops!
The gaffe spawned a small parody account called @copywithsadelle that began reposting the now-deleted entries side by side with the originals. That’s when people realized it wasn’t just travel photos she’d been stealing. Nope, she also swiped food photos, like this one of avocado on toast with poached eggs, said she whipped up the dishes herself, then posted them with the hashtag #sadellecancook.
Well, maybe she can, but these kind of shenanigans definitely aren’t building much of a case.
After realizing she had been outed, Yeung promptly deleted all of the offending posts (too late!), but not before replying to a comment from a former follower who was disappointed to discover that that she probably didn’t perfectly poach that egg.
“Everyone makes mistakes, and it’s not fair to conflate one mistake into a big one,” she told the ex-fan in a post thankfully screen-grabbed by Apple Daily. “I accept everyone’s feedback good and bad.” Gee whiz. How generous.
We’ve reached out to Ms. Yeung to see if she’d like to explain her side of the story. We’ll get back to you on this if she does.
Meanwhile, if you’d like to go further down the rabbit hole of Instagram douchebaggery, check out this story from our sister site Coconuts Singapore, which covered the public apology and fallout when “influencer” Daryl Aiden Yow was caught doing the exact same thing.