S’pore-Based Influencer Claims Photographer ‘Fat-Shame’ Her During Photo Shoot

Last Updated on 2023-08-01 , 12:50 pm

Singapore-based British influencer Brie Benfell stormed out of a photoshoot in tears, and proceeded to upload a series of stories on social media saying she was fat-shamed.

The photographer, South Korean-born Australian Raiyne Kim, has since responded, and it seems to be a misunderstanding based on cultural differences.

Here’s what happened.

Little Baby Belly

Benfell, a British influencer who moved to Singapore with her husband seven years ago, gave birth to her second child three months ago.

Kim said that from the start of the photoshoot, Benfell was saying things like “Let me know where I need to tuck” and saying that her arms look fat.

Kim then tried to reassure her, saying, “Don’t worry, you look beautiful, your arm is fine. You gave birth (a few) months ago so you just have a little baby belly, that’s all.”

However, upon hearing “baby belly”, Benfell burst into tears and left the photoshoot. She then proceeded to post a series of videos on social media sharing this experience.

@briebenfell Coming from another woman who is a ‘professional’ photographer.. also disappointing. Words can be so damaging! #wordshurt #thinkbeforeyouspeak ♬ original sound – Brie Benfell

Cultural Misunderstanding

Kim explained that in her Korean culture, it is acceptable to comment on people’s weight when you haven’t seen them in a while. Kim and Benfell has worked together in the past before.

Due to this cultural misunderstanding, Kim didn’t know that “baby belly” could be seen as fat-shaming. She immediately apologised to Benfell once her comment was taken negatively, but Benfell did not acknowledge it.

Although Benfell did not mention Kim’s name in her social media rants, Kim received dozens of hate messages from Benfell’s followers.

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Accepted Apology

Benfell shared that she knows critique is part of her work as a model, but she felt like Kim’s words were a “personal attack”. This was apparently the first time she had walked out of a shoot, after modelling in Asia for more than 10 years.

As Benfell immediately walked away upon bursting into tears, she did not hear Kim’s apologies and explanation. She has since accepted Kim’s apologies in private message, and the two have decided to move on from this incident.

Additionally, Benfell also apologised for the way the situation escalated and for any negative impact her “emotional reaction” had on the brand. She also shared that the brand owner had contacted her for a reshoot, and will be using any photographer.

Be More Mindful of Words

Benfell pointed out that people should speak more sensitively, especially around new mothers. This is due to how social media have given us the unrealistic expectation that all women should have a supermodel body after giving birth.

“It is medically impossible for most humans to house a baby for nine months and look runway-ready without the help of a team of nannies, nutritionists, personal trainers,” stated Benfell.

Featured Image: TikTok (Brie Benfell)