Swedish model accused of ‘blacking up’ after posting make-up tutorial

Swedish model is accused of ‘blacking up’ after posting a make-up tutorial video in which she applies foundation several shades darker than her natural colour

  • Emma Hallberg went viral after revealing she used eye shadow as highlighter
  • Swedish model, who has 170K Instagram followers, launched YouTube channel
  • Make-up tutorial shows her applying foundation that matches neck but not face
  • Twitter users compared her to former NAACP president Rachel Dolezal 
  • Dolezal was famously forced to admit she has no black or African ancestry 
  • Emma denied ‘pretence’ claims and said she tans naturally during the summer 

A Swedish model has been accused of ‘blacking up’ after posting a make-up video tutorial in which she’s seen applying foundation several shades darker than the colour of her face.  

Emma Hallberg, 19, rose to online prominence in May this year, after revealing how she created a radiant glow on her skin by using a gold loose eye shadow rather than a traditional highlighter.

The self-described influencer now has more than 170,000 followers on Instagram and launched a YouTube channel last week to build on her success.

But her tutorial offering demonstrating how to emulate the look she shows off on Instagram attracted criticism from followers, some of whom suggested she was deliberately pretending to be black or mixed race.   

Several users compared her to Rachel Dolezal, the infamous activist who pretended to be black and even became president of her local NAACP in Spokane, Washington, until she was exposed as having no black or African ancestry.

The model has deactivated comments on her video tutorial, but in a screenshot that appears to show her addressing the row in an Instagram message she wrote: ‘Yes I’m white and I never claimed to be anything else.’ 

Swedish model Emma Hallberg, pictured, has been accused of ‘blacking up’ after she posted a make-up tutorial in which she wears foundation several shades darker than her face’s natural colour

Emma, pictured in 2016, went viral in May this year after revealing her signature glow came from a gold loose eye shadow instead of a traditional highlighter

The self-described influencer, 19, has stopped comments being posted on the YouTube make-up tutorial (pictured) which shows her applying a foundation which matches her neck but not her face

In the clip, Emma holds up shade 332 of Maybelline’s Fit Me foundation, which she matches to the colour of her neck.

She then applies it to her face which is several shades lighter than her neck.  

Dee, who uses the handle @yeahboutella, tweeted about the make-up row on Tuesday after being told she was white in an Instagram direct message.

Her tweet, in which she posted a picture of the message alongside a screenshot of Emma’s Instagram feed, has racked up more than 23,000 likes and 10,000 retweets.


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The model has since deactivated the comments on her YouTube make-up tutorial, but one Twitter user shared a screenshot that appears to show her addressing the criticism in a message on Instagram two days ago.

Emma wrote: ‘Yes I’m white and I never claimed to be anything else. And by the way, there are no “before” pictures, the pictures that has been spread are just two diefferent [sic] pictures taken on two different seasons of the year, on [sic] before summer and one after summer and of course there’s a difference in my skin tone because I get very tanned NATURALLY when I’ve been in the sun!!

‘I’m NOT “posing” as a colored person as you claim, I’ve never tried to be or look black, I was born with naturally curly hair and my skin gets very easily tanned in the sun!!

‘(There’s a picture (several) of last year and the year before that where you can see that my tan looks exactly the same after each summer!)’  

Emma has more than 170,000 followers on Instagram, and launched her YouTube channel last week

Twitter user Dee shared a photo of a message on Instagram telling her Emma was white alongside a screenshot of the model’s Instagram feed. It has racked up nearly 24,000 likes

Twitter users have expressed their shock after discovering Emma was far paler than she appears in her Instagram pictures 

Most users expressed their shock that Emma was actually white after seeing pictures from her Instagram.

Kayleh Makaveli shared a few pictures from Emma’s Instagram with the caption: ‘I’m shook…’

Another wrote: ‘Rachel dolzal but make it sexy.’

One individual added: ‘i’m mad. i would’ve guessed she was at least mixed with black. that’s crazy.’

Some users noted that Emma has never claimed to be black and thought there should be no issue, but others said it was problematic for a white model to appear to mimic people of colour for profit. 

Emma denied pretending to be a person of colour in an Instagram message, saying that she tans naturally

Some users noted that Emma has never claimed to be black and thought there should be no issue, but others said it was problematic for a white model to mimic people of colour for profit 

Anna Kisindi said: ‘The problem is that she consciously or unconsciously mimicked black people and black features.’

Shay noted: ‘That only makes it more upsetting when you realize how she is getting sponsorships and brand deals a black women may never and she knows that.’

Ciera added: ‘Black women are always talked about because of stuff we can’t change and yet when stuff like this happens it’s swept under the rug. They hate us and yet they wanna be us.’

Emma Hallberg has been contacted by FEMAIL for comment. 

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