Her face has been on a McDonald's advert in China, used to sell carpets in New York and advertise a dating site in France but Shubnum Khan is spitting mad about the way she’s been exploited. In this extract from her new book, the South African author explains how a photo of her went global.
I was teaching a course in media studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and sitting in my office one day when someone told me to check my Facebook wall. A small discussion had erupted after my friend Sana in Canada posted an advert she’d found in her local newspaper, The Globe and Mail.
“Is this you?” she asked with a picture of an advert encouraging immigrants to Canada. Friends who had already seen the image had started to comment saying that it certainly looked like me. I studied the unclear photo uncertainly and then located the beauty spots on my cheek and chin.