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A sunbed-obsessed UK teen has been accused of “blackfishing” — masquerading as a black person — after tanning so much that her skin became dark bronze.
“I just like having a tan,” said Taylor Humphrey, 18, who reportedly spends up to 20 minutes every day in her personal tanning bed, Caters News Agency reported.
The Mendlesham, Suffolk, resident first fell in love with fake baking after hopping into a tanning bed when she turned 18 — the age at which people are legally allowed to use the skin-bronzing accessory across the pond.
“I fell in love with it straight away because I have olive skin and could see great results,” gushed Humphrey, who eventually convinced her parents to buy her a sunbed of her own.
The tan-loving teen, who describes herself as “over the top” and “very glamorous,” said she started “doing eight minutes at a time and built it up over a few months” until she was spending twice that long in her home salon, she told Caters. However, Humphrey said she makes sure not to exceed “the maximum recommended amount” — 20 minutes — for sunning sessions.
“If I didn’t have a tan, then I just wouldn’t leave my house,” said the mahogany-hued teen of her ultraviolet addiction. “Going on the sunbed is the thing I look forward to most every day.”
Apparently, however, not everyone was so thrilled with Humphrey’s fanatical tanning regimen. The teen told Caters that her coppery countenance sparked a backlash online, with critics accusing the teen of trying to resemble someone of a different race.
“I have received some stick for my tan,” said Humphrey, who claimed that “someone had even posted a TikTok about me and my tan saying that I was doing blackfishing.” She was referencing the unfortunate trend that first came to light in 2015 when Rachel Dolezal — the former president of the NAACP’s office in Spokane, Washington — was outed for posing as African American. Since then, numerous public figures have been outed as blackfishing, including Black Lives Matter activist Satchuel Cole and Jessica Krug, an African studies professor at George Washington University.
Humphrey even claimed that detractors demanded that she delete her social media over her appearance.
However, she insisted that her pastime had nothing to do with currying cultural favor.
“I can’t help it if my skin goes this tanned,” confessed Humphrey, who said she just tries “to ignore people when they say stuff like this about me.”
And Humphrey ain’t planning to change her tone anytime soon.
“I am feeling my best when I have a dark tan, especially when I am out, as it just puts me in a better mood,” the thick-skinned youngster told Caters. Humphrey said she prefers tanning in a sunbed rather than via the spray-on variety “because fake tan can go wrong and sometimes doesn’t look perfect or even.”
In fact, she said she was devastated when her sunbed broke during COVID-19 lockdown, because all the tanning salons were closed.
“It was a horrible time, and I just felt really bad about myself,” lamented Humprey. “I didn’t want anyone to see me without a tan and I had to wear lots of makeup if I ever needed to leave the house so I felt better about myself.”
“I couldn’t imagine my life without a sunbed,” she added.
Whether or not Humphrey is indeed guilty of blackfishing, she also may be suffering from an unhealthy UV ray obsession. The American Academy of Dermatology Association reported that tanning is dangerously habit-forming, with about 20% of 18- to 30-year-old white women who use indoor tanning showing signs of addiction. Symptoms include an inability to stop tanning and feeling fidgety and depressed when they don’t get a steady dose of UV rays.
That is particularly problematic as tanning beds have been linked to everything from burns, loss of consciousness and skin cancer. In fact, the AADA reports that just one sunbed session can increase the risk of developing certain carcinoma strains by almost 70%.
Nonetheless, Humphrey likely won’t be scaling back on the UV rays anytime soon.
“I know there are risks that come with going on sunbeds, but it is like that with everything,” she said. “There is a risk that smoking and drinking can cause cancer too and people still do that.”
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