Aga Brzostowska, 20, is a Poland-born woman who has been labeled a “Blackfish,” a term used to describe someone who pretends to be Black or mixed-race for financial and social gain.
Brzostowska sat down with BBC’s Radio 1 Newsbeat to discuss darkening her skin and why she doesn’t believe it’s a problem.
The 20-year-old, who refers to herself as Alicja online, said her skin is “not pale” but does admit to tanning for a darker appearance. “I might be Polish, but I’m not ‘White,’ White,” she said.
“With things like tanning, I don’t think I’ve done anything in a malicious way,” she told the news outlet.
“So I don’t feel like I need to stop doing something because… why would I stop doing something that’s benefitting me or that I enjoy doing?”
Brzostowska receives free clothes and products to promote to her more than 20,000 Instagram followers. She alleged that she received death threats due to her brown appearance.
The University of Birmingham student is just one of several White Instagram influencers who were accused of pretending to be Black women online in November.
Twitter user and writer Wanna Thompson created a threat asking her nearly 23,000 followers to air out the “alarming” number of women “cosplaying as Black women on Instagram.”
Can we start a thread and post all of the white girls cosplaying as black women on Instagram? Let’s air them out because this is ALARMING.
— Wanna Vision (@WannasWorld) November 7, 2018
Brzostowska was among the several women called out for manipulating their appearance with braids, fuller lips and thicker bodies, which are features that society has deemed ‘uncivilized’ on Black women.
Two photographs on Twitter show the stark contrast of the young woman at 13- and 20-years-old.
While she can admit the images don’t look good, she is adamant that she attained her more mature body through a fitness regimen and being on holiday.
“I understand why the Twitter thread was made. And it makes sense to use my pictures because without looking at anything or knowing me, it makes sense to put those two pictures together because obviously, you can see a mad difference – a crazy difference.”
In addition, Brzostowska said she never alleged that she was Black or even tried to emulate Black culture with her social media presence.
TMZ personality Van Lathan shared a clip of the 20-year-old girl sharing his thoughts on why the Blackfishing trend is problematic.
“I’m annoyed and I’ll tell you why. Being Black is beautiful, but it ain’t easy,” Lathan shared under a snippet of Brzostowska’s interview.
He continued, “A price was paid for the culture and identity we have. No one has paid the price more than OUR WOMEN. So, anyone PRETENDING to be a Black woman because it’s trendy bothers the s**t outta me. I know we live in a world where anyone can be whatever they want, and I get it. But I’m annoyed. Fellas, stay out of her DM’s. Do it for the culture.”