Teenager who uses sunbed for 20 minutes a day accused of ‘blackfishing’ online
A teenager addicted to sunbeds has a tan so dark she has been accused of “blackfishing”, or pretending to be black, in her online profiles.
Taylor Humphrey, 18, from Mendlesham in Suffolk, “fell in love” with sunbeds as soon as she was old enough to use them and even asked her parents to buy her a bed of her own.
She now spends 20 minutes on a sunbed every day and says she will not leave the house without a tan.
But Ms Humphrey has received criticism online from those who accuse her of pretending to be black – also known as “blackfishing”.
She rejects this and says she just loves having a dark tan.
“I first went on a sunbed as soon as I was legally allowed to when I was 18,” said Ms Humphrey.
“I fell in love with it straight away because I have olive skin and could see great results, so I asked my parents if they would buy one for me and they agreed.
“I was so happy. When I first got it I started off doing eight minutes at a time and built it up over a few months.”
Ms Humphrey says she now spends 20 minutes on the sunbed every day, which is the maximum recommended amount of time.
She added: “If I don’t have a tan or go on my sunbed for one day I just don’t feel myself at all.
“If I didn’t have a tan then I just wouldn’t leave my house.
“Going on the sunbed is the thing I look forward to most every day.”
Not everyone is as thrilled about her tanning regime.
Ms Humphrey said: “I have received some stick for my tan but it’s not like I am using fake tan. I can’t help it if my skin goes this tanned.
“Someone had even posted a TikTok about me and my tan saying that I was doing blackfishing.
“But I just took it as a compliment that they took the time to do that amount me.
“Some people even wanted me to delete my social media.”
She added: “I just try to ignore people when they say stuff like this about me and don’t retaliate.
“I just like having a tan. It is one of the most important things to me and makes me feel the most confidence.”
Ms Humphrey said her sunbed broke during lockdown for a couple of months and this left her depressed and not wanting to see anyone.
“It was a horrible time, and I just felt really bad about myself,” she said.
“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.”
Experts have said just one sunbed session can increase a person’s risk of developing skin cancer by up to 67%.
Ms Humphrey is aware of the dangers of using sunbeds, but says there are risks with everything.
“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.”
She is not going to let the trolls online stop her getting her regular tans.
“I couldn’t imagine my life without a sunbed”, she said.