HEIDI YEH thought she was helping her career when she took a job posing for a cosmetic surgery company.
Two years after first starting out in the industry, the aspiring model was photographed for a small Taiwanese cosmetic surgery clinic.
For the shoot, the company dressed the young model in a flattering gown and positioned her next to an equally-photogenic male model. In front of the pair were three children posing as the couple’s offspring. The children were less appealing to the eye, and deliberately so.
The two young boys and one girl were photoshopped for the ‘family’ portrait. Unlike their faux parents, who had big eyes and perfect features, the children were given unflattering appearances.
“The only thing you’ll ever have to worry about is how to explain it to the kids”.
Yeh says she was told the ad would run locally in newspapers and magazines but claims the advertiser broke its word when it allowed another plastic surgery clinic to use the same creative treatment on its website and post it on Facebook.
Later, a story started circulating about a man who had divorced his wife after she had lied about having cosmetic surgery and had given him “an ugly baby daughter.” The article included a picture of the ad featuring Yeh. People began to think the story was about her.
“I thought it was just rumors, then I realized the whole world was spreading this story and in different languages. People actually believed it and thought this had happened to me. Even my relatives and fiancé’s family have asked me about it.
I keep thinking, ‘Why is this happening to me? I decided to speak out because I wanted to give myself some courage to deal with this problem.”
Because of her affiliation with the advertisement, Yeh found that she wasn’t booking as many jobs and many companies believed that she had indeed had plastic surgery.
She is now suing the Simple Beauty clinic and the modeling agency for $150,000 in damages. The clinic and the agency have fought back, threatening to sue Yeh for tarnishing their images in return.