We can’t stop fooling pals with ‘catfish selfies’ – dates have walked out on us and friends fear we’ll get a ‘complex’ – The Sun

WE'RE all guilty of picking the most flattering picture for our Facebook page or dating profile – but some take it far, far more seriously than others. 

A recent poll revealed nearly a third of Brits edit their pictures to try and look as good as possible, with some spending 20 MINUTES taking selfies before finding one they actually like.

A third admit experimenting with angles or lighting, while some even organise their photoshoot for the ‘golden hours’ of dusk and dawn – when light is supposed to be the most flattering.

We speak to three Sun readers who have gone to such extremes in their quest for the perfect selfie that they confess they are 'catfishing' their friends and followers with near-unrecognisable snaps online.

'One bloke walked out of a restaurant when I turned up'

Cleaning company owner Becky Vine, 33, has a daughter and lives in South West London.


I work part time as a model to top up my income as a single mum. How I look on social media is crucial to getting work.

I don’t use immature filters such as those on Snapchat and Facebook messenger. Those exaggerated tweaks make women look like clowns.

I have paid for photographers to take my selfies. I’m a professional so why not pay someone who knows what they are doing?

I use apps to make me look as natural as possible. There are some amazing ones that offer tweakments to smooth away my blemishes, uneven skin colour and wrinkles.

However, there can be a lot of faff involved in getting the lighting and angle right. Sometimes it is easier giving my phone to someone else and get them to catch the right moment.

I have paid for photographers to take my selfies. I’m a professional so why not pay someone who knows what they are doing?

They also give great advice on how to Photoshop my profile to make my skin glow and give me a dewy complexion.

I take a selfie every day. It’s important to have good shots to refresh my online content and keep people interested.

It is why I have got lots of online followers. Guys don’t want to see what you really look like first thing in the morning. They want to be sold the fresh-faced girl-next-door fantasy.

Ones where I have ‘naturally’ enhanced my image with an app always get loads of likes.

I’ve had loads of private messages. Some too rude to mention. I just block them.

I take a selfie every day. It’s important to have good shots to refresh my online content and keep people interested

My images have been taken and used on dating sites across the internet by people pretending to be me. At first I was shocked, but then saw it as a compliment. I did eventually get the sites to take them down.

I have been on a few dates with guys who have contacted me online. One bloke walked out of a restaurant when I turned up.

I don’t know who he thought he was meeting but everyone manipulates their images to some extent.

I’d just cut my hair short, I had a cold so I had a woolly jumper on. Who was he expecting? Helen Christensen? He was no looker himself.

When my daughter is in bed I can spend hours online looking at the different face apps. I’m forever getting told I'm very beautiful and photogenic.

That is why I will continue to experiment and adjust so that I look the very best natural version of myself.

Where did the term Catfish come from?

The term was first used in the 2010 documentary 'Catfish' – in which Nev Schulman discovered the gorgeous woman he fell in love with online was a middle-aged, married mum.

Schulman fell in love with "Megan" – but also spoke to her mum Angela, half-sister Abby and stepdad Vince online.

At the end of the documentary Schulman discovers "Megan" was a fake account run by Angela using a family friend's photos.

After becoming suspicious Schulman drives to "Megan's" address – and finds Angela, who admits she was behind the account all along.

At the end he tells a story about how live cod were shipped along with catfish to keep the cod active and ensure the quality of the fish.

He uses the metaphor to describe Angela, saying there are always "catfishes" in our lives who keep us alert, active and on our toes.

Schulman later turned the documentary into the 'Catfish' TV show, where he helps others solve their online relationship mysteries.

'I turn up to events and people don't recognise me'

Nanny Ella Collins-Godden, 19, lives with her partner in Shoreham-by-Sea.


As a kid I was involved in the beauty pageant world. Before then I had no confidence and hated having my picture taken.

Nowadays I spend a few hours a week taking pictures and then another few hours editing them.

I’ll adjust the contrast, colour even after I have used a filter.

I am nice to look at and am confident too. People mistake this for arrogance. I get told all the time that I am vain.

People try and warn me I’ll get a complex when I’m older and lose my looks. I don’t listen to them

Others try and warn me I’ll get a complex when I’m older and lose my looks. I don’t listen to them.

Taking selfies is so easy and the filters on apps like Snapchat are dead practical too. I can even see what I look like with certain type of make up on.

I must have over 1,000 pictures on my phone and most of them are selfies.

They are pictures I’ve taken and then edited using filters. My current favourite is the teddy bear hugging me.

I get lots of private messages on Instagram. They are from blokes in places such as Dubai or apparently the US army. Nowadays I don’t open them. In the past I have and discovered “d*ck pics” and I used to get loads of requests for a picture of my boobs.

I do look very different in real life. In the past I’ve turned up to events and people have said, “you don’t look like you!” No one says anything negative to my face though.

Thanks to my beauty pageant experience I’ve got young girls who follow me on social media. So I try not to edit the pictures so that I’m totally unrecognisable.

When I’ve been out I’ll take lots of pictures to remember the evening. The next day I’ll spend hours editing them. When I’m old I want to look back and see how pretty I was.

It’s a fun way to pass the time. Like most things on social media it isn’t real. If people think they’re being catfished, too bad!

'Playground mums are in for a shock'

Stay-at-home mum Gemma Andrews, 35, lives with her partner and her five children in Chesterfield.

I have zero confidence putting on make-up and doing my hair. Selfie filters gives me the chance to look my best.

I love all social media filters: whether it’s cat ears, black and white or just smoothing out my imperfections.

Throughout my teens and 20s I avoided the camera. As for ‘normal’ selfies, I hated them.

People don’t believe I’m 35 with a 16-year-old. It’s lovely!

My teen daughter introduced me to selfies with filters on Snapchat. I took some and started to feel better about myself.

Earlier this year I had brain surgery to fit a stent to help with an underlying medical condition (ED: idiopathic intercranial hypertension). I was in hospital for seven weeks and loved sending them to my family and friends.

I had to shave my hair off for surgery. The filters were brilliant then and made me feel so much better about myself. I used one to see how I'd look with red hair. I reckoned it suited me so I dyed it the same colour in real life. Everyone says it suits me.

I’ve also tried a filter with a nose piercing. I love it so much that when it’s safe to go out again I’m going to get one.

That’s why I go on Snapchat every day to check out their filters. I take at least 20 selfies until I find one I love.

I usually stand at the top of my stairs with the bathroom light on behind me so I can get the most flattering shot.

I go on Snapchat every day to check out their filters. I take at least 20 selfies until I find one I love.

I wouldn’t say I’m addicted but I do like taking them. I use my catfish selfies as Facebook profile images.

I used to have my Instagram account open. It is now set to private because I did get one bloke message me for a "connection".

As a result of using the filters on my social media profiles everyone tells me I look loads younger. People don’t believe I’m 35 with a 16-year-old. It’s lovely!

I’m friends with mums online in the various Facebook school groups. I get lots of compliments about how young I look in my profile pictures.

It’s usually my other half who picks up the kids. So if the mums do get a bit of a shock in real life on the odd occasion I’m out they haven’t said anything so far!

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