Taiwanese model Heidi Yeh says that a plastic surgery ad she appeared in uined her life when it became an Internet meme. She is now looking to sue J Walter Thompson and Simple Beauty, the plastic surgery clinic that the U.S. advertising agency allowed to use on its website and Facebook page, for 5 million Taiwan dollars, which is approximately $153,000.
The photo was shot back in 2012, where she posed in an elegant gown in a supposed family picture with a photogenic male model and three not-so-photogenic children who had their faces intentionally photoshopped for the ad's theme.
"The only thing you'll ever have to worry about is how to explain it to the kids," reads the caption of the image.
Yeh was told that the ad would only be featured in "print media and for one company," according to an interview with the BBC. However, the advertiser apparently let another plastic surgery clinic use the image, which made it go viral.
A Chinese tabloid implies that Yeh underwent plastic surgery herself and was not merely a model on the ad. It printed a story that a husband was suing his wife after finding out that she had plastic surgery when their children looked nothing like them.
"Plastic surgery — you can't hide it forever," reads the new tagline when it became an Internet meme.
According to Yeh, people were starting to believe it was real, and then her life got worse quickly. She says that her boyfriend left her because of embarrassment, her career was ruined and her image would become forever associated with the hoax.
"People refused to believe that I had never had plastic surgery. Clients would ask me if I was the woman in the picture. After this, I only got small roles in advertisements," Yeh says.
JWT and Simple Beauty, however, are reportedly countersuing Yeh for damaging their images, saying that the Taiwanese model should hold another press conference and apologize.