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Aspiring actress Christian Demeritt took professional headshots more than a decade ago after earning her theater degree, but she had no clue those same images would be used without her permission for a breast reduction campaign and for an erotic novel.

Demeritt opened up about the odd incident during a recent interview with USA TODAY. The Florida native, who now lives in California, said she booked a photographer in 2010 to take her headshots after earning her theater degree from Florida A&M University. A fellow actress recommended that she work with the unnamed photographer.

“She inboxed me his information and said he does really great work,” Demeritt told the outlet. After setting up a time for the shoot, she was asked to sign a model release form and paid the photographer $100. But Demeritt didn’t read the fine print in the contract.

Years later, Demeritt said she was “shocked” when a friend informed her that her image was being used on the front cover of a magazine on Sacramento newsstands. The image was photoshopped to make her look like Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic Mona Lisa painting.

“When I first found out, I was shocked,” Demeritt said. “I found it almost unbelievably amusing at that point…I had never even been to California.”

Things would get even more bizarre when the same image resurfaced again, this time in a breast reduction ad overseas. Her image has appeared at least 30 times on other billboards and projects, she said.

Due to legal issues, Demeritt did not name the photographer.


How did this happen? Is it legal?

After reading the fine print a bit closer, Demeritt said she had given the photographer written consent to sell her photos to stock companies for use. Those who buy the images can use them freely and legally without penalty. “Her photos have also been used with stories about tops to wear if you have big breasts,” the report adds.

Notably, Demeritt’s image will be used in a forthcoming book titled His BIG Childhood Sweetheart published by Afro Romance Books. The erotic novel is part of a series that focuses on interracial relationships, with different women on its book covers. Her image was used to portray the book’s “sexy BBW” character.

A rep from Afro Romance books said the author did not create the cover art herself. They admitted that the photo was purchased from a stock image website.

After posting about her bizarre experience on TikTok in January, the publisher said there was a small spike in sales of the book.

Sadly, Demeritt hasn’t received a dime from her headshots being used in the book or any of the aforementioned projects.

“Make sure you read the fine print and don’t act out of desperation,” she warned people.

This story is truly bizarre. Remember to always read the fine print when signing your name on the dotted line!


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