You’ve probably never heard of Ashley VanPevenage, but her face may be familiar. A before-and-after photo of the 20-year-old became a mean Internet meme that has been circulated on the web thousands of times. It got so bad, VanPevenage had to take her haters to task with a YouTube response video.
FOX411: Tell us about the original before and after photo. Why did you take it?
Ashley VanPevenage: So, the original photo was for my friend. I got my makeup done for an event and I knew I couldn’t cover my severe acne by myself. So she was a makeup artist so I let her do my makeup, and we didn’t have any of the same mutual friends, and so I didn’t think it would be a big deal if she posted it on her page to help her promote her makeup company. And I guess someone got it off there, so, and posted it everywhere.
FOX411: What are some of the captions on the photo that have hurt you the most?
VanPevenage: The biggest one is the "trust issues" one, saying, you know, talking about how you can’t trust a girl, and what a girl looks like until you see her without makeup. And then there’s ones about how, you know, they can’t conceal a single pimple but then look what I can do.
FOX411: Why did you decide to address the people who made the memes eight months later?
VanPevenage: Well, so in about July until now, when I posted the video, a famous DJ had posted my picture and someone, I still don’t know who, actually went ahead and tagged me in the photo, and I have never been one to look at the comments because that’s how I feel I can cope with it. I won’t go ahead and just look at the comments but someone tagged me in it so I could now. So every time someone commented on it I would get a notification. That’s why I made the video.
FOX411: Is everyone vulnerable to becoming a potential mean meme target?
VanPevenage: Well, I feel like yes, because mostly these days people don’t care about putting their profile on private. They’re more concerned about having a lot of followers and I feel like social media is so common these days, and like such a big part of people’s lives, that they want attention on there and people seek for attention on social media.
FOX411: Is there any way to prevent it from happening?
VanPevenage: I was thinking about this and even if let’s say… I used to have my profile on private, but then you can have people that you know that follow you and there’s isn’t on private, they can easily -- anyone can screenshot, you know, anyone can. And so there’s no way of going around it unless you post things that you do not want or you don’t mind people seeing, because no matter what you post people can say, “Hey, go look at this.” And the other person doesn’t have to follow you so it’s like there’s no way around it anymore even putting your profile on private. You can’t even trust people you know, you know?
FOX411: What advice do you have for people being bullied on the web?
VanPevenage: My advice, well I don’t pay attention. When people are negative about my picture, even my video, I do not read the comments. You know how you get a preview of what it says? If I see anything negative (inaudible) I think if people are being bullied, you know, they should stick up for themselves. Just don’t pay attention to the negativity because they want a rise out of you that’s why they’re [inaudible]. So, I just don’t pay attention to them. I don’t comment back. I rarely ever comment. I appreciate all of the support and the positive comments, but I rarely comment back because I don’t want the negative people to see that I can be seeing them.