An Angelina Jolie lookalike, who gained a massive social media following on the back of her edited photos, has been sentenced to prison in Iran.
An Iranian teenager named Sahar Tabar has been sentenced to 10 years in jail. The 19-year-old, whose real name is Fatemeh Khishvand, rose to fame after posting heavily distorted photos of herself to Instagram which made her look like a “zombie” version of Angelina Jolie. She boasted 486,000 followers on the platform, before her account was deactivated, and now faces a decade behind bars as a result of her social media activities. Here’s 5 things to know about her.
1. She was charged with corruption of young people. Sahar was detained on the orders of Tehran’s guidance court, which deals with matters related to cultural crimes and social and moral corruption. The charges against her included blasphemy, inciting violence, gaining income through inappropriate means and encouraging youths to corruption. In October 2019, an Iranian state TV broadcaster described her as “a victim with an abnormal personality and mental state” who sought “vulgarity” on social media.
2. She battled COVID-19 while in prison. Sahar is believed to have contracted coronavirus in April 2020, and her lawyers argued for her release after she was placed on a ventilator. Iran released roughly 85,000 prisoners in March in an effort to curb the rapid spread of the virus however she was refused bail, The Sun reported.
3. Sahar pleaded with Angelina Jolie for help. The young social media influencer appealed to the Hollywood A-lister, saying, “The Islamic Republic has a history of tormenting women. We need to be united against this gender apartheid.”
4. Her mental health record became part of the case. Sahar’s medical records were released, suggesting she was seeking treatment for a mental health issue following multiple visits to psychiatric hospitals.
5. It remains unclear whether Sahar had plastic surgery to look like Angelina. She had gained such a high profile online, that the AFP reported she was arrested after “numerous requests from the public”. At the time, she denied reports she had plastic surgery. “This is photoshop and makeup. Every time I publish a photo, I paint my face in an increasingly funny way,” she said, adding, “It is a way of expressing yourself, a kind of art. My fans know that this is not my real face.” Her fans have pointed to warped backgrounds as evidence of her photos being photoshopped. Nevertheless, she has reportedly admitted to having “a nose job, enlarged mouth and liposuction.”