Catfishing, Instagram boyfriends and fighting over photos are just some of the challenges of dating when you're Insta-famous
I’ve spent the last couple of years on dating apps like Tinder, Hinge and Bumble, and my DMs are usually filled with dudes not looking for a deep connection. My girlfriends and I compare notes and most of the time we’re either laughing at dudes who still think that holding a fish makes them a catch, or we’re scheming our way into a John Tucker Must Die scenario as we stumble upon our exes. There are hundreds of singles in Toronto but pretty ones worth swiping for are hard to find. That’s why when I came across the rare hottie-with-a-body, my immediate thought was catfish, the online phenomenon of assuming a fake identity by using someone else’s photos.
Regardless, I swiped and we had an instant match.
“Hey cutie wanna cuddle?” was his first message. I indulged the fantasy and replied. Don’t we all want the hot underwear model to like us? He messaged again.
As it turns out, Ivan (not his real name) wasn’t a catfish. He was a European underwear model from Los Angeles with 277,000 Instagram followers. That said, his massive following made me overlook the aggressive and predatory behaviour that soon followed. He refused to meet me in public and insisted I come over to his hotel room. When that freaked me out, he said he could send me a Snapchat selfie. (Wow, I feel so safe now, thanks.)
Insta-famous or not, he was an undeniable creep. My dick appointment didn’t happen, but it got me thinking about how Instagram affects dating life.
Daniela Pedace (@danielapedace), a 20-year-old Brazilian fitness model has amassed a following of over 96,000 in less than a year. Her profile shows off her toned body and impressive partnerships with e-commerce brands like Tiger Mist and Beauty Boutique. Despite being in a long-term relationship, there’s almost no sign of her significant other.
As it turns out, every time Pedace posts about her high school sweetheart, she tends to lose followers. Her mostly male audience likely doesn’t want to see that she’s taken.
“They find me attractive and a small part of them think they’re going to get with me, or at least try to,” Pedace says.
For now, Pedace limits how much she shares about her private life on Instagram, especially because she’s trying to use social media as a business tool.
“It’s a business platform. It’s meant for me to share content: clothing for a brand that I’m working with, fitness tips and that kind of stuff,” she says. Her boyfriend doesn’t mind. For this couple, the biggest struggle isn’t the fact that Pedace receives comments and attention from thousands of strangers online, it’s that her photos are often used by other accounts to catfish people.
Instagram model and musician Dave MacIntyre says he often has a tough time setting up dates.
When it comes to catfishing, Dave McIntyre (@davethemac), has the opposite problem. Better known as Dave the Mac, the Instagram influencer is a construction worker by day and a musician and model in his free time. His online following began to grow after his song went viral in Europe and he started sharing his modelling portfolio.
McIntyre and I matched on Hinge, and I can vouch that his perfectly manicured profile made me automatically think he was a catfish. On Hinge, your surname is visible to matches, so a quick Google search confirmed Dave the Mac was real.
McIntyre mostly uses Bumble and Hinge for dating and says that setting up a date IRL is often difficult.
“Some people think that I’m a catfish or I’m a fake person,” he says, so his dating profile is linked to his Instagram account to show that he’s real.
But things are hard for him even when he has a girlfriend. Around five months ago, McIntyre was in a relationship that became strained due to Instagram.
“Social media was the biggest reason why we would fight.” It’s understandable. His feed is a highlight reel of abs and booty pics. He says his ex-girlfriend didn’t like that. “Let’s just say I wasn’t able to post certain photos. If you go to my Instagram, you can see that I have a naked photo of me on a bed. My ex wouldn’t want that posted.”
When NOW spoke to McIntyre two weeks ago, he mentioned he was single but going on a date. At the time this story went to publish, he had updated his Instagram profile to suggest otherwise. I guess things can work out.