Hayley Madigan, known to her 480,000 followers as @hayleymadiganfitness, is exposing the ugly side of Instagram, where influencers and fitness gurus “doctor” photos and videos to make their bodies look “perfect.” The exposé, which came in the form of an Instagram video, revealed the truth: that filters can make any body look like a supermodel’s.

“Editing our bodies can happen with just a click of a button,” Hayley wrote in the caption next to a video of her snapping her fingers and transforming her body into a “fitter” and “more attractive” version. She reminded her followers “that anything you see could be fake!”

She continued, saying that “video editing has become increasingly popular and Kim K’s recent Skims Advert is proof of this!” The influencer is referencing an advertisement done by Kim Kardashian for the Skims brand, which likely used filters and editing to make Kim’s body look perfect, making it seem like the Skims brand is a way to such “perfection.” 

Hayley Madigan, AKA @hayleymadiganfitn, reveals truth behind Instagram beauty hacks. Filters and editing make bodies look perfect.
Hayley Madigan, AKA @hayleymadiganfitn, reveals truth behind Instagram beauty hacks. Filters and editing make bodies look perfect. Photo Credit: Instagram

 “Editing videos are just as easy as editing images, whether it’s pinching in someone’s waist, smoothing their skin, or making their muscles look bigger (yep it happens!),” Hayley pointed out. “These alterations are happening daily on people’s bodies for us all to view believing they are real and then once again judging ourselves based on these edited versions.”

In the video exposé, Hayley Madigan shows off her “normal” body wrapped in a light blue bikini before she snaps her fingers and the filter slims down her waist and plumps her bottom. She doesn’t stop there, though. Hayley also shows off how a similar filter makes her husband look more muscular. The doctoring of photos and videos may seem harmless, but in a world where youth can scroll aimlessly through social media, editing the world inside the screen may be causing serious harm.

Experts claim that faking the world in front of the lens can be harmful to young, malleable minds. The CDC released a 2017 study that found that social media posts that depict “perfect” lives could be increasing the likelihood of teen mental health issues.   

Falsifying photos and videos give the impression that perfection is easy, making viewers feel inadequate for falling short. Though this trend is mostly talked about in women, men suffer from this phenomenon, too, as fitness buffs pose shirtless with ripped physiques. Hayley Madigan reminded her followers that “it doesn’t just happen to women’s bodies, it’s everyone’s! And we probably don’t speak enough about how much this can affect men too!”

“Men’s fitness magazine’s for example,” she continued, “are covered in highly edited imagery displaying ‘leaner and bigger muscles’ making a lot of men feel inadequate if they don’t look similar – Just like how women feel!”

Instagram Influencer shows dark truth behind Instagram's beauty standards and tricks influencers use to doctor photos and videos.
Instagram Influencer shows dark truth behind Instagram’s beauty standards and tricks influencers use to doctor photos and videos. Photo Credit: Instagram

Hayley Madigan has not only revealed these filters and editing tricks but has shown how they make her own body as beautiful as possible. In a set of pictures posted last week, Hayley showed the “same butt” in two “different perspectives.” The first has wrinkles, stretch marks, and cellulite, while the other looks as plump, round, and perfect as possible. How? The use of lights, angles, and filters change everything.

Hayley set out to expose the truth about filters and editing. She also wanted to expose Instagram’s fascination with “perfection” and “beauty.” In another post, Hayley showed how her body changes week after week, depending on factors such as sleep, nutrition, and her menstrual cycle.

In the first picture, Hayley looks as thin as a supermodel, but in the second, her stomach and face are bloated. “Bodies change, daily, weekly, monthly,” she captioned the post. “EVERY SINGLE PERSON’S BODY CHANGES.”

The fitness trainer’s account is devoted to making her followers feel better about themselves. Many critics believe Instagram’s beauty standards and tricks used to sell merchandise are misleading and damaging to women’s self-esteem. Viewers may want to look like Instagram stars. But Hayley Madigan is proving that it’s really in the eye of the filter. Not the beholder.