Angie Varona, the most googled teen, spoke about how online photos ruined her life
Angie Varona has spoken at ABC News about the horror of inadvertently becoming an internet sex symbol after her online photo account was hacked.
Angie Varona, 18, changed schools twice because of constant bullying after lingerie and bikini photos of her spread online in 2007 – when she was just 14-years-old.
The teenager had uploaded provocative photos of herself to image-sharing website Photobucket with the intention of sending them only to her then-boyfriend, ABC News reports.
It was a decision that Angie Varona said “has ruined her life”.
“When you’re 14 you don’t realize that the things you do really do matter at that point,” Angie Varona said in an interview on ABC News’ Nightline.
“No one ever thinks that, <<yeah, I’m going to take these pictures and it’s going to end up all over the Internet>>. You just do it for yourself.”
Angie Varona was repeatedly called names and a “porn star” at her high school after the photos spread online, from appearing in porn sites to popping up in advertisements.
She thought the unwanted attention would eventually come to an end, but the problem has only worsened.
A recent Google Image search of “Angie Varona” drew almost 65,000 images.
There are also numerous unauthorized Facebook profiles, Twitter accounts and YouTube channels, all claiming to be Angie Varona – one Facebook fan page has more than 41,000 likes.
“[People were] telling me that I deserve everything that’s going to come for me, that they’re going to rape me when they see me because I want it and because I ask for it,” Angie Varona said.
“Someone found out my address and everything … threatening me, saying that they know where I live.”
The threats Angie Varona said became so severe that her family had to contact the FBI.
Unable to escape the humiliation and to stop the photos from spreading, Angie Varona said she became depressed and turned to drugs, ran away from home and even thought about suicide.
She said: “I would run away so my parents had to come find me, I just wanted some love because all I was getting was criticism all the time.”
The family also called the police and hired a lawyer, but they continued to hit dead ends as photos of Angie’s provocative poses rapidly multiplied on the Internet.
“There’s not really a lot you can do with that because it’s not child pornography I guess, it’s more child erotica, that’s what they classified it as,” Angie Varona said.
“So they couldn’t really take it down off any website, which I thought was wrong. …Basically they told me, <<yeah, you have to sit and watch it all happen>>.”
Angie Varona said she now regrets ever putting the photos online and now will not use a Facebook account for fear it could be hacked.
Many of the photos online, Angie Varona said, are not her originals, but are remakes to make her appear topless or women pretending to be her.
“They photoshopped one of my bikini pictures,” she said.
“They photoshopped the top off.”
Her father, Juan Varona, said that while he was “disappointed” in Angie, he was angry at the people who were spreading the photos.
“At first you look at it and it’s on a porn site and it’s horrible,” Juan Varona said.
“Then you look at it and say, <<It’s a bathing suit picture>>.
“I would rather have her not put it up, but it’s a bathing suit picture. None of her pictures are any worse than you would see in Victoria Secret.”
Angie Varona’s parents said the whole episode had been a nightmare for the family.
“It’s a wound that doesn’t heal,” said Juan Varona.
“Every time it’s healing, something comes up on the internet, so it’s an open wound, constantly.”
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