While scrolling through Instagram, we accept the fact that many influencers modify their photos and present us with a polished, idealised version of their lives. A blemish, an unsightly plug socket, or even the cinching of a waist are all things we've come to expect. So how — and I cannot stress this enough — did smudgeless mirrors become the biggest influencer scandal in years?
It all started with a tell-all TikTok from model and influencer Kara Del Toro. Labeled as "part one" in a series of secrets bloggers "don't want you to know," Del Toro claimed that many mirror selfies we see in our feeds are actually an illusion — not because of FaceTune or some new way to pose, but because the mirror isn't real. Yes, you read that right. There is no mirror.
"So here's the secret: there's no mirror," Del Toro says on TikTok. "All you need is a second phone or spare camera." Influencers will fake the mirror selfie look, she explained, by setting up a second camera and holding up their phone as if it were pointed at a mirror.
This almost immediately caused a stir online. For some, it came as a shock. For others, their questions about how influencers always find the perfect angle with their phone covering their face and glass cleaning products finally became as clear as the smudge-free "mirrors" they were taken in. "I'm always irked by how perfectly clean their 'mirrors' are," wrote one Redditor. "Meanwhile, I'm over here finding a dozen spots and streaks that aren't visible until I attempt to take a pic in the mirror."
As the fake mirror reveal began to circulate, many began picking apart influencers' content to identify the fake mirrors. Danielle Bernstein, the person behind WeWoreWhat, was calling out a number of photos for using fake mirror selfies technique. Ella Emhoff, the step-daughter to Vice President Kamala Harris, was also called out for her squat and pose mirror-less selfies.
We should have known that celebrities and influencers don't just have a myriad of mirrors lying around their houses in perfectly lit spaces. Maybe some mirrors, but that many perfect mirrors? No smudges, no sinks, somehow the mirror is always large enough to never show any edges? And once you know this, it is kind of impossible to unsee.
But then again, the fake mirror selfie is completely symbolic of social media and the whole concept of mirror selfies. It is putting in as much work as possible to look like we're putting little to no effort into it. So, are we shocked because it's truly that shocking, or because we didn't think of it sooner?
That said, if you do want to up your "mirror selfie" game, Del Toro explains the entire setup in her video. It's all about the setup — and keeping your mirrorless room a cool secret.