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Paige VanZant and Charlotte McKinney talk about Instagram harassment



Paige VanZant and Charlotte McKinney
Charlotte McKinney looks
on as Paige VanZant talks about social media at Web


  • People ought to think twice about harassing Paige
    VanZant online. She punches people for a living. But they do it
  • UFC fighter VanZant and model Charlotte McKinney told
    us how they deal with creepy or dangerous online fans.
  • McKinney has a time-delay tactic to avoid stalkers, who
    have harassed her family members.

Sometimes, being “Instagram famous” isn’t much fun. Sure, you
might have millions of adoring fans. And yes, brands might give
you sponsorship money for exposure on your account. But the dark
side of social media stardom is the harassment and stalking you
get from obsessive fans. Many users say
Instagram has a harassment problem that the company has failed to
deal with

On the 20,000-seat centre stage at the Web Summit tech conference
in Lisbon this year, I participated in a panel about social media
with UFC fighter Paige VanZandt and model/actress Charlotte
McKinney, who have 1.9 million and 1.4 million Instagram fans,

While most fans only want the best for the celebrities they
follow, some of them can be creepy and dangerous, McKinney told

Paige VanZant
Paige VanZant backstage at
Web Summit


“I recently had an incident with a fan who had been following me
for years and was trying to find me, and he found my parents.
They went to my parents work,” she said. “So that stood out to me
and really frightened me and makes you realise not only are you
putting yourself out there but it’s your family and friends. I
have a niece, I don’t like to share her relationship, because it
can be really scary. They can really obsess and try and find

“Thank god I wasn’t there,” she said.

McKinney has developed an interesting strategy that makes life
more difficult for her stalkers: She posts pictures on a time
delay, so people can’t rush to where she is whenever a new photo

Charlotte McKinney waits to go onstage in Lisbon.
Charlotte McKinney waits
to go on stage in Lisbon.


“It’s really important to geotag where you’re at once you
,” she said. “Sometimes whether it’s a hotel stay, or a
vacation, or an event you’re working at, you’re still giving your
location. So for me, if I need to shout-out a hotel or a place I
make sure [to do it] when I’m gone.”

“It’s hard because they’re fans, these are the people who adore
you, so you don’t want to be mean to them. But there’s definitely
a barrier,” she said.

Her tactic is wildly different to that used by Alfie Deyes, the
Brighton, UK-based YouTube star whose social media life often
occurs in real time. He told Business Insider that
he cannot go to the supermarket or Starbucks without building in
a three-hour block of time
because his fans will figure out
where he is, based on his Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram, and
show up for selfies, which he indulges.

VanZant and her husband, MMA fighter Austin Vanderford.
Paige VanZant and her
husband, MMA fighter Austin Vanderford.

Web Summit

People ought to think twice about harassing VanZant online. She
punches people for a living. Her UFC record is 7 wins, 4 losses
and zero draws. But people still make insulting comments about
her on her Instagram page. “I definitely found it hard at first
to have that thick skin and know that there will be those
negative comments. I don’t need to change myself to fit this
image to make everybody happy as long as you’re being true to
yourself and being true to your brand and your image then you’re
going to have posiitve feedback. But anytime you have a
significant following there are going to be those people.”

“When I have almost ‘stalker-type’ fans I’m usually with a bunch
of professional fighters, and I know I could beat them up so it
makes it a little bit easier,” she said. “But at the same time it
is scary. There is someone following your every move, when there
is someone showing up at the hotel to take pictures with me, you
just have to, you have to put safety first and there are those
people who will follow you everywhere.”

VanZant also has an interesting personal motto for those days
when the insults and barbs get to be too much” “They’re still
paying attention, and you still matter.”

Watch the whole video of our conversation here:


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